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

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 ๐Ÿ‘‰ Making effective ‘probability-weighted’ decisions as the playing field changes around him. ๐Ÿง 

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

๐Ÿค” What skills have you learned at the poker table that you’ve applied to your business?

๐Ÿค” What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome that’s made the most impact on your restaurants?

๐Ÿค” How has the ‘hedgehog concept’ helped Big Wheel Burger grow?

๐Ÿค” To franchise or not to franchise — Is there a clear route to take?


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

Weekly takeaways, straight to your inbox.

๐Ÿ™‚ Actionable tips to get more guests…

ย ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Ideas to increase per-head spend…

๐Ÿ˜ Value-packed quotes from the podcast…

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

restaurant marketing roi