In our new series, “A Start-Up Story”, Industry West talks to Saskatchewan’s start-ups and their journey to entrepreneurship. Meet Paul Rogers and his venture: Beak’s Chicken.
Beak’s Chicken began as a dream, and then a food truck. Regina’s Paul Rogers attended culinary school over a decade ago, and then struck out to build a career in the restaurant game. After working in kitchens in Regina, Vancouver and Copenhagen, Rogers was ready to make his way on his own. The food truck trend was arriving in
Saskatchewan, and it seemed like a great way to enter the industry without a major financial commitment. “I decided a food truck was the way to start my business as it’s the way to ‘get your feet wet’,” says Rogers. He launched Beak’s Chicken three years ago, serving fried chicken and waffles from his bright orange truck. Beak’s quickly became a fixture in downtown Regina. A fanbase soon developed, and Rogers knew he had a winner with his menu. However, food trucks do have their issues.
“Saskatchewan’s food truck season is relatively short. Our long winters and temperamental weather can mean days without doing much at all,” says Rogers. Rogers decided to try his hand with a brick-and-mortar year-round location. After much searching, he found a great place close near enough to where he used to park his food truck. Rogers sold the truck, and along with two investors, began renovating a space for a permanent home for Beak’s Chicken.
“If I have learned anything through this process, it’s make sure you’re getting the right location and physical space for your business,” says Rogers. “We selected a place that had never been a restaurant, and that added layers of work I wasn’t expecting.” Rogers made his way through the renovations and permits required for his space and came out the other side with a restaurant location perfect for his business. “While it would have been much easier and cheaper to start with a restaurant space, this one is now tailor-made for Beak’s Chicken,” says Rogers. “The large windows and curb appeal make it great.”
Beak’s Chicken opened its doors in February, and things are going well. The popular menu is still a hit with Beak’s devoted customers who are making their way to the new location. “We’re still serving our fried chicken like we did from the truck,” says Rogers. “Now we offer sit-down service, takeout and catering, and we never have to worry about the weather.”
Besides learning all about how to create a space from scratch, Rogers has been schooled in all facets of entrepreneurship. “It’s amazing what you learn about business when it’s your business,” says Rogers. “Owning your own restaurant means managing every part of it from staffing right down to waste management. The biggest thing for me though was learning how to delegate. You simply can’t do it all. You have to let go of certain things and trust that the people you hired can do the job for you.”
So, what’s next for Beak’s Chicken? For now, it’s just enjoying the ride. “I have dreams to open a second location here in the city or elsewhere, but at the moment I am going to keep what we have started firing on all cylinders. It’s been a lot of work over the last three years, and now I get to see it pay off.”