Whiskey Creek® headquartered in Kearney, Nebraska, and about to enter its 19th year in business is pleased to announce a new concept initiative. Q-Topia™ BBQ Paradise™ is being launched this week at the company’s newest location in Brookings, South Dakota. Q-Topia™ is the culmination of 18 months of concept ideation, product development, and implementation procedures for this Regional Brand of 11 units positioned mostly in the Midwest and Florida.
“We will begin rolling this concept out in all of the company-owned Whiskey Creek® locations throughout 2014 with the thought of opening Q-Topia™ BBQ Paradise™ fast casual units in the near future,” said James Gardner, Owner and CEO of both Brands. Existing Franchisees will be able to utilize the concept under a separate License Agreement when it is fully implemented. “It is our view that high quality, unique BBQ options that combine wine and spirits in the upscale, fast casual space is a vastly underserved market” according to Gardner.
By introducing this concept in our existing Whiskey Creek® locations, we can offer high quality BBQ at a price point lower than many of our current steak options,” he said, adding “we can also fine tune the offerings and gain even more guest feedback before we launch stand alone fast casual outlets”.
The company chose Brookings because of several factors. It is a University market with little to no BBQ competition, and a robust local economy. “Because the market is not heavy into the BBQ nation, we believe we can try new things and get unvarnished opinions from our guests without the constant comparisons to this or that place down the street. We’ll have plenty of time to compete as we grow the concept, but right now we want to get honest guest comments about our flavor profiles without any biases,” said Gardner.
Working with vendor partners like Cookshack, Farmland, Unilever and others, the company has been busy developing a line of competition tested recipes, rubs, sauces and seasonings. They are also working with suppliers on special craft beers, wines and spirits that will complement the new Q-Topia™ menu items. The initial test results will be presented at the company’s annual meeting in San Diego this coming February.
“It was an exciting time when the Whiskey Creek® Wood Fire Grill concept was developed and we are energized and excited as we develop this new Q-Topia™ Brand going forward” said Gardner. Whiskey Creek® was started in 1995 by restaurateur Larry Terrell in Florida. The Company moved to the heart of beef country a year later serving high quality American beef raised by Nebraska ranchers. Whiskey Creek® plans to open additional units in 2014.