September NSME Monthly Meeting - Dinner

The Tangier 06.00 pm

Workshop Information

Branding: an often-overlooked aspect of business by Brian Bailey, President & CEO of Ichor Restaurant Group

Hear the stories of Old Carolina Barbecue Company, Baja West Coast Kitchen and Smoke the Burger Joint told by one of its founders, Brian Bailey. From his epiphany in a St. Louis barbecue restaurant in 1999 through today when the young company is about to add its 20th Ichor location. Hard work and dedication to excellence has driven this entrepreneur from a shoe string start-up to a $25 mil organization in a short period of time. Brian is happy to share the important lessons he has learned along the way.

The branding, marketing and community involvement philosophies of Ichor Restaurant Group will be presented as ideas for others to apply to their own jobs, careers or small businesses. Brian will discuss how creating a brand is an often-overlooked aspect of opening a business. He will share the difference between a mission statement and a brand promise. As the company continues to grow, decisions are made every day while balancing the importance of guest satisfaction, employee morale, and brand integrity. Some of the decisions are based on the numbers and others are gut feelings. Brian will discuss how he decides which to trust more.

Learn all you ever wanted to know about the business side of a restaurant operation through the successes, and even a few mistakes, of a local entrepreneur.


Brian Bailey is President & CEO of Ichor Restaurant Group, the parent company of the popular fast casual restaurant brands Old Carolina Barbecue Company, Baja West Coast Kitchen and Smoke the Burger Joint. Brian got his start in the food business when he founded Old Carolina as a competition barbecue team in 2003. In 2014, the 10-unit NE Ohio-based chain was listed in USA Today® as one of the Top Ten Barbecue Chains in America.

Sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship are traits that have long contributed to Brian’s success. His mother likes to say he was always a salesman, with a knack for pointing out the positive side of any mischief he made. Brian’s entrepreneurial spirit has roots in his fifth-grade classroom, where he sold candy earned working as scoreboard operator at a youth baseball field. Later in life, he would start businesses as diverse as website development and bounce house rentals. Outside of a two-week stint as a busboy in high school, Brian never worked in a restaurant until he owned one.

Brian graduated college from Cleveland State University with a degree in Information Systems. His outgoing personality helped him transition into technology sales with a software development firm. After being “down-sized”, Brian used his love for barbecue to continue that dream of successful entrepreneurship. He continued technology sales by day while planning and eventually opening his first restaurant in 2006.

With appreciation to the sponsor of our September workshop and dinner meeting:

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