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We Shucked Around & Had Some Fun This Year

Shuckin' Shack Franchise Select Photo

2022 was another excellent year for the Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar franchise brand. We expanded into locales like Naperville, Illinois, North Tampa, Florida, and Mansfield, Texas. We also raised over $50,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society thanks to our Fresh and Raw Tour. Not to mention we racked up some hardware for the trophy case: the 2022 Pelican Award from the NC Coastal Federation, and our Wilmington, North Carolina, location was named “Best Raw Bar in Wilmington” via Wilmington Magazine.

While all the above is fine and dandy, the most important thing we did this year was welcome some fine people into the Shuckin’ family—and we’d love to introduce them to you.

Howdy, Yaegers!

They say that everything is bigger in Texas. That may or may not be true! But there is one thing for sure: Texas will make the Shuckin’ Shack family even bigger! We are delighted to inform our patrons that Shuckin’ Shack is opening its doors in Mansfield, Texas, in Tarrant County, through our newest Franchise Owners, April and KJ Yaeger. For people looking for a whole unique seafood experience down South, this new Shuckin’ Shack bar and grill will be just the place to go.

Eating seafood is an experience here at the Shuckin’ Shack oyster bar franchise. Every time we serve our oysters, other seafood, and a wide variety of delicious food, we give you the most for your money. We serve you sustainably-sourced domestic seafood without spending every cent of your paycheck. Shuckin’ Shack is here to give you a seafood-eating restaurant experience that’s a happy medium between fancy, jacket-and-tie establishments and greasy fast-seafood joints. We go against the grain to bring quality seafood to a fun, casual, and unbeatable dining experience.

April and KJ Yaeger have management backgrounds and decided to go further toward the entrepreneurial route. Here, we’ll look at who they are and what made them choose to invest in a Shuckin’ Shack oyster bar franchise.

From the Boardroom to the Kitchen

The Yaegers were ready to make a career switch that could give them fulfillment and more control over their professional lives. So what did they do? One day, they decided to look into entrepreneurship, using their love of seafood as an inspiration. They started searching for seafood franchises with the help of “good ole Google.” And that’s how they found Shuckin’ Shack. April recalls, “I searched for seafood franchises, and thanks to the great work of Shuckin’ Shack and [our franchise marketing partner group] Raintree, I found them.” 

April and KJ - Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar and Grill Franchise Owners

Betting on Themselves & Coming Out On Top

It takes more than guts to start a business or engage in franchising. Sometimes, that “more than” includes your bloodline. For April, her grandfather was a heavy influence and inspired her to become an entrepreneur. “After 20-plus years in the Air Force, my grandpa did several things, like owning and operating a rental car company (Compact Car Rental), an automated car wash, a boat repair shop at Lake Lewisville, and a boat hauling company. He helped me see that success is what you make of it. I have a strong work ethic and know I would be a great entrepreneur.”

Why Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar and Grill Franchise?

In entrepreneurship, you have to find the business that’s perfect for you. For April and KJ, their intuition told them that a crab franchise with Shuckin’ Shack would fit their goals very well. In their words, “Shuckin’ Shack has created a smooth platform that will help us be successful.”

The exact moment April and KJ decided to go all in with Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar was when they visited three North Carolina seafood franchise locations: Surf City, Wilmington, and Carolina Beach. Just a few moments interacting with staff and customers, and meeting our corporate support crew, helped them understand the ins and outs of the business, and they realized they could do this.

The Yaegers feel that Shuckin’ Shack’s message of providing the ultimate experience sets the restaurant apart from other franchises. They said, “At Shuckin’ Shack, their message is loud and clear: they offer customers an experience. It is an experience beyond the drinks, food, and casual dining. It is an experience when you leave; you are thinking, ‘I cannot wait to go back there.'”

When asked what advice they would love to give potential business or franchise owners, they said, “If you believe in yourself and like people, you can make this happen too.”

Kyle and Angie - Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar and Grill Franchise Owners

Kyle & Angie Howard from Chicago, Illinois

Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar Franchise is finally coming to the Windy City, and we can’t wait! It’s such a great place, and we can’t imagine a better seafood restaurant location for a fantastic establishment with a great vibe like Shuckin’ Shack.

We’re proud to introduce our brand new Franchise Owners in Chicago, Kyle and Angie Howard. Coming from a corporate background, they’ve taken the leap to open their own business and do something that reflects their shared passions for food, friends, and fun!

But what made Kyle and Angie invest in a seafood and oyster bar franchise like Shuckin’ Shack? What are some of the things that made them feel like they wanted to be part of our team? Let’s take a look.

About the Howards

Kyle Howard started working for a Chicago-based business specializing in commercial trucks and diesel engines in 2001. In addition to meeting his wife Angie on the job, he worked his way up through the ranks to Vice President of Sales, Domestic and Export, which was his role up to his 2018 departure. After leaving the company, Kyle started working for himself and found that he had the makings of a successful entrepreneur and liked being his own boss!

Angie is still employed at her current company and plans to continue working there until, as she says, “Kyle makes this a $1,000,000 business.” Seeing how our Seafood Franchise Owners averaged gross sales of close to a million dollars* last year despite a restaurant-devastating pandemic, that million-dollar dream might happen sooner rather than later!

Kyle and Angie always talked about having their own business, and a couple of years ago, after Kyle left his last position, they seriously started looking for something that would suit them. That’s when they came across the Shuckin’ Shack oyster bar and grill franchise opportunity on the online business marketplace BizBuySell.

The initial attraction to Shuckin’ was simple; they both LOVE seafood. “We both love oysters and seek out oyster bars wherever we go. So, we started to look at it and thought this really kind of feels like something that we would enjoy.”

Newly-Minted Entrepreneurs

One of the main reasons Kyle and Angie wanted to own their own business was to get away from the corporate environment. He lamented how hard it can be to implement new ideas and strategies when you’re not calling the shots. Owning your own business gives you the ability to work for yourself, and you have the power to work for other people as you choose.

So, as Kyle says, there’s an intimate involvement in what you’re doing, not only for yourself but for other people too. Angie adds, “[In the corporate world] you are really one piece of a big machine versus [owning your own business] you get to see the entire machine, and we get to contribute to every part of that machine, which is very attractive to me.”

Why a Seafood Restaurant?

“We’ve always had an interest in food, how food gets from where it’s grown or raised to the table. So, we always wanted to be somewhere in the food industry, and we looked at their story. We looked at their sustainability message—the food we loved. The atmosphere looked like something that you know was right up our alley. So, we just started to check into it. And the more we found out, the more we liked. So, that’s kind of what brought us here.”

Plus, Angie grew up in Korea, where there’s no shortage of fresh seafood establishments. It’s incorporated into many of their dishes, and she was no stranger to it. So, with their combined love of seafood and their desire to run their own business, they just decided to do it.

Our delicious food and great, fun-filled atmosphere are the first things that set us apart from many other seafood joints. When people think about seafood franchise restaurants, they often think of only two types. The one is the white-tablecloth, jacket-and-tie type of establishments that cost an entire paycheck for a meal. The other is the greasy fast-food joints that serve deep-fried mystery fish.

That’s where the Shuckin’ Shack seafood and oyster bar franchise comes in. We offer fine dining-quality food in a fun, laid-back casual dining atmosphere. You can bet that the quality of our seafood will beat even the fanciest places in town, and we will have a lot more fun! So, we honestly aren’t too surprised that our high-quality, sustainably sourced seafood initially attracted Kyle and Angie, served in a one-of-a-kind restaurant environment.

Kyle also mentioned the significance and importance of our commitment to sustainability and how it helped influence their decision to financially invest in a seafood franchise with us. At Shuckin’ Shack, we know that oysters and other sea life need our help to stay well-stocked and plentiful for future generations of seafood lovers. We are committed to serving only sustainably sourced, domestic seafood caught responsibly.

Through our partnership with the James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch program, our work with the Oyster Shell Recycling Program, and our Ocean Friendly Establishments certification, we’re dedicated to upholding the quality and sustainability of the seafood we serve.

A Discovery Day for the Ages

When asked if there was anything in particular that stood out at Discovery Day that made them want to join the oyster bar and grill franchise team, Angie and Kyle agreed that the leadership team is something special.

“One word I could think of is energy. I love the energy from Jonathan. From Matt,” Angie says, referring to our Founder Matt Piccinin and our CEO.

Despite Matt’s recognition as Entrepreneur of the Year and Jonathan’s recent features on the cover of FSR Magazine and in Business North Carolina, Nation’s Restaurant News, and Franchise Times, they don’t take themselves too seriously. As Kyle can attest, Jonathan will even make you take your tie off when you go for a job interview with him.

Matt and Jonathan’s energy and passion for what they do has resulted in a well-thought-out operational and franchise support structure that has been implemented with a lot of flexibility. You can think about it as having fun and a passion for something, but with that bit of seriousness thrown in the mix.

Building Front - Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar & Grill Franchise

See You in the Windy City!

Driven by a love for seafood and a desire to have their own business, Kyle and Angie Howard have taken the leap and will open their own Chicago-area Shuckin’ Shack seafood franchise soon. We wish them all the luck in the world, and they can be sure that we will be with them every step of the way.

If you want to find out more about Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar and Grill Franchise and how you could own a seafood franchise in your hometown, visit our franchise website for more details.

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