Name: Brad Fuller
Business: The Broad Street Giant Grinder Shop
What he said then: In January 2008, Brad and Sherri Fuller opened a sandwich shop on Broad Street in San Luis Obispo.
Lured to the Central Coast by their daughter, now Jamie Hutchcraft, the couple had opened 10 eateries since 1970. Most were sold, but they retained ownership in two, both in Southern California.
“We wanted to keep the shop small and family run,” Fuller said of The Broad Street Giant Grinder Shop. “We created an image of a residential neighborhood corner market.”
What he says now: Nearing the end of its fourth year, the Italian-style grinder shop is growing at a much slower pace than Fuller’s previous eateries.
But he’s optimistic that opening it was the right move for his family operation.
“Growth is very slow,” he said. “The good news is, there is growth. Every year is better.”
At 565 square feet, the San Luis Obispo shop is smaller than its counterparts in Carson and Signal Hill, south of Los Angeles.
So it limits menu to sandwiches and salads. Fuller’s Southern California restaurants also serve rustic-style pizzas and pastas.
“The larger your menu, the more people you’re going to appeal to,” he said. “If I had a full kitchen, I would do more.”
To save money, the Fullers scaled back evening hours. The shop wasn’t drawing dinner business, so why stay open until 7?
The restaurant is now open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, it opens 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to family, it employs up to five parttimers.
Most of their business comes from nearby residents and workers, Fuller said. But he sees repeat customers from North and South County, plus a few travelers looking for a quick bite.
“I’m here most of the time,” he said. “I like to talk to people and find out how they found out about us. Most of the time, it’s word of mouth.”
That includes review websites such as Yelp.com . Still, the Fullers have spent more on advertising for the San Luis store than previous ones. Coupons seem most effective.
With opportunities to expand both geographically and in menu, Fuller doesn’t expect to make a move until this location’s growth rate is closer to what his restaurants have achieved before.
“If I could go up 30 percent here, I’d be in really good shape,” he said. “I truly believe we’re going to do that. With lower overhead, I can slide through this economic time. We’ll keep our nose to the grindstone.”