On Franchising, Poker, and the Hedgehog Concept: Calen McNeil of Big Wheel Burger

Even though he got his nickname rolling down a soccer field, Calen 'Big Wheel' McNeil has a lot to teach about how to run with a restaurant concept. In this episode, we explore how he's been able to thrive with multiple concepts and locations -- when many struggle with just one.

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On Franchising, Poker, and the Hedgehog Concept: Calen McNeil of Big Wheel Burger
On Franchising, Poker, and the Hedgehog Concept: Calen McNeil of Big Wheel Burger
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Not many folks can say they’ve successfully opened both a single-location concept AND a franchise burger joint.

But Calen ‘BIG WHEEL’ McNeil? He can.

In 1999, Calen helped open one of Victoria’s best-loved Italian restaurants, Zambri‘s.

ZAMBRI'S - 58 Photos & 63 Reviews - Italian - 820 Yates Street, Victoria,  BC - Restaurant Reviews - Phone Number

And in 2011, he opened the first Big Wheel Burger.

Big Wheel Burger | Quality burgers, shakes, sodas and fries | Locations

Today, Zambri’s is still cranking out my favourite Spaghetti Aglio E Olio, and Big Wheel Burger has a total of 5 locations.

(He’s also won over $500,000.00 playing POKER.)

Calen’s Zone of Genius 👉 Making effective ‘probability-weighted’ decisions as the playing field changes around him. 🧠

In this episode, you’ll find answers to the following questions:

🤔 What skills have you learned at the poker table that you’ve applied to your business?

🤔 What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome that’s made the most impact on your restaurants?

🤔 How has the ‘hedgehog concept’ helped Big Wheel Burger grow?

🤔 To franchise or not to franchise — Is there a clear route to take?

And MORE.


If you’d like to hear from Calen more often, check out the Bread & Butter Collective.

Weekly takeaways, straight to your inbox.

🙂 Actionable tips to get more guests…

 😃 Ideas to increase per-head spend…

😍 Value-packed quotes from the podcast…

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SEO, Google My Business, Google Maps, blogging, content strategy — “Search Marketing” can be a dizzying topic. In this episode, Reese and I dive into how your restaurant can out-rank your competitors.

Before You Go!

Discover how to turn a small ad spend into new guests and revenue—that you can *actually* measure. Like this:

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