Justin Blumetti, Beerhead Franchisee
What does a mechanical engineer do? Own a craft beer bar and eatery, of course.
Well, it’s what this mechanical engineer does. Justin Blumetti found the perfect career: one that leverages his methodical mind and his enduring love of craft beer. As a Beerhead franchisee, Justin puts his own unique spin on the brand’s proven processes and practices.
The Science of Success
Justin is no stranger to the beverage business. In fact, his father was formerly the owner/president of a major beer and wine distribution company. They recognized the potential of the craft beer boom. At the same time, as an engineer, Justin understands the importance of maximum efficiency. This is exactly what Beerhead offers.
Founders Greg Goodrich and Pat Donofrio have created a business model that is methodical, meticulously planned to the last detail. As Justin says, they have everything from training and operating policies to vendor set-up and POS “down to a science.”
But that’s not all: “Beerhead has a beat on the market, and because they’re so creative, it sets you above the competition.” Add this in-depth understanding of their clientele’s needs to corporate support that doesn’t quit, and you have the recipe for a successful — sustainable – franchise.
Turns out science and beer go hand-in-hand. Justin and a small group of friends and family opened their first location in Cleveland Flats in 2015. It’s exceeded expectations, so they’re opening a second. Look out for Beerhead Elmhurst soon.
A Craft Beer State of Mind
As Justin says, “Craft beer isn’t just a beverage. It’s a state of mind.” The emphasis on fresh, local, small, and community is creating a whole new culture — an energetic culture that appeals to a wide demographic. (Craft beer isn’t just for Millennials, ya’ll).
Beerhead’s model helps franchisees build a thriving business that is as fun, inventive, and approachable as the craft beers they serve. “This is the kind of environment I want to be in – and not just because I own it!”
While having the leverage, and support, of a major brand, Justin also has the freedom to make his location unique. This is why his bar and eatery features fun events and live music from the area’s best. It’s also why Justin focuses on forging relationships with local brewers. It’s important “to show a little love to the new guy on the block” and give budding brewers a prime spot to shine.
Everything in Moderation — Even Success
Is the craft beer business all fun and games? No. It’s hard work and long hours. It can also involve a bit of trial and error. When Justin opened his first location, Cleveland Flats was undergoing a multi-million dollar revitalization. Beerhead Bar was one of the first establishments to move into the up-and-coming neighborhood.
Visitors poured in. And they were hungry. Justin explains that he assumed craft beer would be the big draw, while the food would be incidental. Nope. “The demand for food was beyond expectation. For the first few months, we ran out. Wait times were insane.”
Justin and his co-owners worked feverishly to revamp management, boost the staff, and add capacity to the kitchen. Challenge overcome, the bar and eatery was able to offer guests the experience they deserved — the Beerhead Cleveland Flats experience.
All franchises face challenges: with corporate support and his own drive to succeed, Justin turned this obstacle into an opportunity. (See, the founders don’t forget about you! Greg’s even been known to run for ice when one of his franchisees — not naming any names… Justin — was out.)
Owner to Owner
What advice does Justin have for prospective Beerhead franchisees? Make sure it’s the right fit for you. Sure, it’s exciting. It’s dynamic. And when you put all your assets to work for you, it’s lucrative. But running a franchise also involves long hours and hard work, especially at first. Know what you’re getting into.
The next piece of the puzzle is finding the right employees and management and training them properly. Doing so enabled Justin to turn around the initial challenges he faced keeping up with volume while keeping guests happy. Now, with management and staff he can trust, the business is at the point where it’s self-sustainable and Justin can step back — and start on the next venture.
What’s on Tap for Justin?
Justin loves trying new, trendy beers. “It’s such a moving target. Last year, it was IPAs. This year, it’s stout. It’s evolving — and it’s as creative as music. Brewers have become musicians.”
Justin proves that, just like hops are the critical ingredient in a great India pale ale, passion is the key to success as a Beerhead franchise owner.