Al, now a retired veteran, dreamed of owning his own restaurant his entire life. The menu would consist of southern, home-style dishes, made from scratch and cooked in-house. Start-up costs to manifest his dream would require partnering with his daughter and son-in-law, who helped raise funds and composed a business plan. They found a location off of North Academy in the Citadel Crossing Plaza, which was a perfect fit. In May of 2018, Al’s Chicken and Waffles opened its doors
Does the family have a background in cooking?
This is the first restaurant I’ve worked in. However, I have a lot of experience in business. I worked at a hospital when I lived in Nebraska which taught me a lot about the inner workings of a business. The score office also help me with the business plan..
What have you learned about owning and managing a restaurant?
Opening a restaurant is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. After the first six months, my understanding of what it takes to run a restaurant increased. I have learned how to budget correctly, I also learned how to order the right amount of food and supplies. I have learnred through my successes and failures. I have learned that you must have faith and believe that everything is going to turn around. I have learned that to trust the process.
I have also learned that excellent customer service is essential. My husband and I worked in call centers which taught me a lot about customer service and retention. We apply that experience to our business to ensure our customers feel at home when they come here. We treat them with respect and allow them to be themselves.
How do you plan to expand your business over the next five years?
We hope to open a second location near the Fort Carson army base. We grew up down there, and that is where my grandfather was stationed. Next, we plan to expand further North of the city and eventually make our restaurant a staple throughout the state of Colorado.
What are your menu favorites?
People love our boneless chicken breast. It’s pan-fried with added breadcrumbs. Our bone-in chicken is popular too, macaroni and cheese, fried okra, and collard greens. As for our desserts, people enjoy our sweet potatoes and pecan pies. Our shrimp and grits dish is our current special. We’ve received a lot of compliments about it, so we’re thinking of adding it as a main menu item.
CLOSED (NO LONGER In BUSINESS)
Al's Chicken & Waffles
721 N Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80909