Smith started out by working at Harley Davidson because he could not get a job as a teacher. He previously owned Kelly O' Brien's pub which he sold in 2006 and is now the Red Fox Tavern. His next business venture was Surfside Burger Shack. He started to go into business for himself because “everything else is secondary when it comes to my wife and kids. I wanted to provide financial security for them. My riches are my gorgeous wife and beautiful children.”
Smith does not advertise. All of his business comes from word of mouth and support from the schools and community. He donates to schools and community organizations. “We never talk badly about another business. We just let our product speak for itself.”
All food served at the Surfside Burger Shack is freshly prepared. “Our food is not microwaved,” said Smith. “Everything from grass-fed beef to the organic salad mix to the fries is freshly prepared.” Smith is also proud that they are a zero waste facility. “Our oil is recycled by Footprint recycling. All trash is a part of the Waste to Watts program. Patrons can bus their own items to recyclables.”
Even though they serve burgers and fries. Smith says the food is nutritional because of the fresh, good quality ingredients like the protein from grass-fed beef. He does not put up pictures of food because he believes in a realistic perspective and wants his customers to base their opinion on how the food tastes and looks.
When he wanted to open Surfside, Smith knew he wanted no corporate involvement. He wanted to focus on the product and decorate the eatery with things he enjoys and provide a family atmosphere and a local business. “I wanted to go after the largest demographic. With burgers and pizza, people will spend $10 for a meal instead of trying something new.”
Another secret to his success is that he believes “you can't grow your business behind a grill. I pay my staff well and I treat them like I trust them. Everyone is required to take two days off in a row and take the day off for their birthday.”
”I pay them $10 an hour plus tips,” said Smith. “I would pay them more if I could but I am doing my best in this economy and keeping them employed.”
Smith said when he wanted to open Surfside Burger Shack, he could not get a business loan. “Even with a co-signer and life insurance policy, I could not get a loan.”
So he self-financed. “I maxed out my credit cards and got my business running by effectively using my business and community connections,” Smith said.
For more information on Surfside Burger Shack , call 268-1295.