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Just a year after launching his Rocky Mount, North Carolina Shuckin’ Shack franchise, Glen Yasser, a long-time entrepreneur and pillar of the community, has turned his restaurant into a go-to for local diners, performers and charitable organizations. Through Shuckin’ Shack, the emerging oyster bar franchise, Yasser has leaned into his passion for community and service, already hosting multiple charitable events and bringing new employment opportunities to the area. However, Yasser’s path to Shuckin’ Shack was less than traditional; he first got to know the brand as a guest. After personally experiencing the welcoming, laid-back dining experience Shuckin’ Shack offers, he became very interested in the concept and began to explore it as an investment opportunity.

“What really sold me was meeting the leadership team and other franchisees,” said Yasser. “They’re all very relaxed, and it was a fantastic atmosphere. People love the food and service, and I was excited to bring that relaxed, good-mood atmosphere to my community.” 

The Path to the Shack

After a long and storied career with experience in real estate investing, garment manufacturing, dry cleaning and entrepreneurship in the childcare space, Yasser admits he was not aggressively pursuing more work. Rather, he was casually looking for his next adventure. 

Shuckin’ Shack caught his eye, and he thought it would be the perfect vessel to enhance his own community while having a bit of fun for himself. Once he met with the leadership team and got to know other franchisees in the system, he was confident in the model and chose to invest. And because he still owns other profitable businesses, he has been able to focus his first year of operations on building a strong foundation and great culture in his Shack with the knowledge that it will pay off long-term.

“My philosophy is that if you do a good job and provide good customer service, you’ll get rewarded,” said Yasser. “The money will come. I’m 71 already, but I’m having fun with this, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Yasser’s approach, prioritizing fun, doing a great job and ensuring each guest gets a great experience every single time aligns perfectly with Shuckin’ Shack’s core values.

“In the hospitality business, people seek places where they feel welcomed and served. They seek an experience that makes them feel like they belong there. We believe that a big part of that belonging is our desire to get involved with the communities where we have restaurants,” said Jonathan Weathington, CEO of Shuckin’ Shack. “For us, that community extends beyond city limits and restaurant walls.”

Yasser Jumped Right In, Taking Advantage of Community Connection and Spreading Love Beyond the Shack in the Early Days

Shortly after opening, Yasser became involved beyond his four walls, ensuring that the guests who came into his restaurant felt connection and support even after they left. As he began building an incredibly loyal customer base, with guests who come in three to four times each week, he also started to reach out to local organizations that supported causes close to his heart.

“We’ve worked with the YMCA and My Sister’s House, which supports survivors of domestic abuse, and we did the Fresh & Raw tour,” said Yasser. “For the YMCA and My Sister’s House, I just reached out to the presidents and told them what I wanted to do. I had some vendors donate some stuff, and I gave the organizations a percentage of my sales. Those types of events bring new guests in, which is always good, but I also enjoy working with the community. Everyone has been very supportive of these initiatives.”

Through the Fresh & Raw tour, the entire Shuckin’ Shack network raised $80,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, supporting research and treatment for individuals impacted by these illnesses. In addition to Barrett Baber and Taylor Goyette, two country music artists who toured with the Shuckin’ Shack crew, performing at each location, local Franchise Owners welcomed musicians from their own communities to join in on the fun. The local performer in Rocky Mount even won Shuckin’ Shack’s Battle of the Openers and will be accompanied by Yasser to perform live in Nashville, Tennessee alongside Goyette and Baber.

The Fresh & Raw event at Rocky Mount served as yet another traffic driver for Yasser, securing even more repeat guests at the Rocky Mount location and spiking the interest of other local musicians who want to perform at the Shack.

A Great Year and More Grand Plans

After an incredibly eventful first year full of live concerts, benefit nights, local radio appearances, mentorship moments with restaurant-level team members and endless support from the Shuckin’ Shack leadership team and network, Yasser said the launch of his business exceeded his expectations.

“The best part of this first year is that I’m still in business!” Yasser joked. 

Restaurants are notoriously demanding during the first few years of operations, and his ability to lay a strong foundation and begin community outreach so soon in his journey is a testament to both the strength of the Shuckin’ Shack model and his passion for hospitality and community support. 

Not only has Yasser established a loyal customer base but he has taken the leap to get involved in his own community early on — an admirable feat, especially in the early stages of a new business venture — and become a mentor to his own employees, guiding young people to develop the same skills he has leveraged throughout his own professional life.

“I’m so happy with where we are, and I appreciate all of the support the community has given me,” said Yasser. “There is nothing else like us in Rocky Mount, and people are clearly excited. Like I said, I have guests who come in and see us three or four times a week. I might look into opening another location, but right now, I’m having fun and doing what I can to provide great customer service and connect with the community.

Learn more about franchise opportunities here: https://shuckinshackfranchise.com/.  

By Morgan Wood

1851 Franchise Contributor | PR Partner of Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar