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The Lyles family converted their roadside barbeque into a multi-location restaurant serving up fresh, homemade dishes to the greater Lexington, Kentucky area. While they may look like the average family business from the outside, Marcus Lemonis quickly discovered that the Lyles family is anything but ordinary. Greg and Jennifer Lyles own the majority share of Lyles BBQ (90%), while their son, Chandler, owns 10% of the company. Although they share a last name, that is where the similarities end for how each of these shareholders view their company’s path forward.
Lyles BBQ catches Marcus’ attention because this is the first time that a business has reached out to Marcus to help their company, while someone from that company is simultaneously applying for an open position at one of Marcus’ companies. Marcus decided to go to Kentucky to see why Chandler Lyles has applied to work for him and conduct an on-the-job interview. There is just one catch. Chandler and his parents did not know that Marcus was testing him to see how he would handle various situations. Let’s take a step back and understand just how Chandler came to apply for a job with Marcus Lemonis.
— Lyles BBQ Co. (@LylesBBQCo) February 13, 2019
Greg Lyles and his son, Chandler, are both airforce veterans who saved some money from their time with the military to open up Lyles BBQ four years ago. They began as a tent on the side of the road and have now grown to one sit down restaurant and food-court quick service restaurant at the local shopping mall. All of Lyles BBQ is handmade and each recipe is crafted by Jennifer Lyles. Her primary role in the company is the creation of recipes and high-quality food items. Chandler handles the day-to-day business of the company while his father, Greg, works fulltime outside of the business.
Chandler’s vision for the company is that they would rapidly grow and expand to many more densely populated locations. Jennifer is greatly concerned that the more they grow, the less control she will have over the food. She has a passion and commitment to each of her customers that they should get homemade food and nothing processed. She is concerned that the more they scale, the less this will be possible. She also is concerned that more locations create training hardships and if chefs are not properly trained they could sour the company’s reputation for quality.
Aside from not agreeing on the company’s path forward, Lyles BBQ has another issue. Greg Lyles can sometimes go rogue and make big business decisions without Chandler and Jennifer’s input. One example of this was his decision to expand to a local food court. They only had 2 weeks to throw together that branch of the company and there were several sacrifices made to the aesthetics of the storefront and the quality of the food. …read more
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