Originally founded in the 1990s by Edward P. “Ned” Grace III, Bugaboo Creek Steak House is recognized for its rustic mountain-lodge atmosphere. However, in March 2011, Capitol BC Restaurants, LLC purchased the chain, taking over 12 Bugaboo Creek locations after CB Holding, its previous parent company, closed 18 other locations when it filed for bankruptcy. Under Capital BC Restaurant, Christopher Campbell, was appointed president in April 2011 but he prefers Head Trail Guide.
The new Bugaboo Creek Steak House ownership immediately set about freshening the décor of the lodges and improving the animatronics within each lodge, a focal point of the brand. Campbell and his team have resurrected the chain and are now ready to let consumers know that the chain’s 12 locations are not only open for business, but for better business.
Campbell’s passion and energy for the restaurant business isn’t surprising given his upbringing and experience and one of the new initiatives that his team has put forth is their very own beer, Bugabrew.
VIBE had a chance to sit down with Campbell to find out how projects like Bugabrew are helping to reposition the brand for success.
VIBE: Where did the idea begin to brew your own beer?
The main goal of launching this beer, Campbell says, “was to build the brand and to add value. We needed to add credibility to the fact that we’re not bankrupt and we’re not closing.” Campbell also described how offering their own beer, that you can’t get anywhere else, goes hand and hand with the culture of the brand. “We are all about locally grown and sourced products.” Therefore, they wanted to work with a local brewery that shared in their values.
VIBE: Why did you decided to work with Harpoon Brewery and not another Eastern Corridor Brewery?
“There are many great breweries in the Eastern Corridor like Sam Adams;” however “we are not a big national chain,” states Campbell, “therefore we wanted to work with a smaller brewery that was also focused on their community.” There were some states where clearance was needed as Harpoon does not distribute in every state Bugaboo is located. However, Harpoon is a great company to work with and Campbell is thrilled that they were able to “craft our beer.”
VIBE: Why did you choose the American Pale Ale?
The American Pale Ale is a “sweeter beer that is better for the palate,” explains Campbell. Brugabrew has a golden amber color with a clean white head. It has a strong smell of hops and citrus that is typical of an American Pale Ale. It has a clean crisp taste to it that is very refreshing. “We are a family establishment and wanted to offer a very drinkable beer,” adds Campbell.
VIBE: What does Bugaboo gain by selling its own beer?
By selling our own beer it “enhances our overall beer program.” With one domestic and one other lighter beer, Bugabrew is the perfect balance for the current beer list. All of the other beers that Bugaboo sells are premium beers. As mentioned before, “Bugabrew enhances the brand as well, letting people know that we are here to stay,” states Campbell.
VIBE: How does your overall beer program differ from what is available at other small chains in the area?
One of the things that sets Bugaboo away from its competitors in terms of its beverage program is “the bar managers” says Campbell. Bugaboo works with their managers to choose the beer that they serve. “We also have an internal newsletter where bartenders can submit recipes to be featured on our seasonal menus.” Campbell believes that this is a practice that all restauarants should follow as your bartenders are the ones that are communicating with your guests on a daily basis and know what they look for.
VIBE: Price! It is only $1.99 for a 20oz glass of Bugabrew. That is a great deal.
“Yes, we want to give our customers the opportunity to get a great product at a great deal” Campbell say. Offering a great beer at a great price also addes to our “credibility and demonstrates we are here for the long haul.”
VIBE: What other changes can we anticipate from Bugaboo in terms of menu and beverage development?
“Bugaboo will be turning 20 this year. Therefore, we will be rolling out our Bugaboo 2.0 menu,” states Campbell. “We will be developing new seasonal beer lists, new wine service and a new drink menu design.”
VIBE: There has been significant turnaround in the chain since you took over. How do you continue this positive trend into the future?
“What it all comes down to at the end of the day, is whether your guest feels the amount of the check matched the experience and food,” Campbell said. “We try to exceed that guest’s perception each and every day and night.”