Weber-branded restaurants whet consumer appetite
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, March 9, 2012
As the weber brand began to enjoy increasing popularity in the 1980s, the company opened its first weber grill restaurant in 1989 in wheeling, ill., in an effort to demonstrate that its grills could be used for more than just cooking hamburgers or hot dogs.
Today, there are four Weber Grill Restaurant locations, which include Lombard, Ill., Schaumburg, Ill., Chicago and Indianapolis. But beyond the restaurants' mission to spotlight Weber products by serving up palate-pleasing barbecue cuisine, the restaurants strategically complement Weber's consumer-driven approach.
"The restaurants are a logical extension for us - for grilling great food and focusing on the consumer," said Jim Stephen, president and CEO, Weber-Stephen Products. "If you look at the restaurant business, it's the classic consumer business because you're dealing directly with the end consumer every day."
|George Stephen, inventor of the Weber kettle, is memorialized inside the Weber Grill Restaurant.|
|The downtown Chicago location of the Weber Grill Restaurant is two blocks from
Michigan Avenue’s Magnifi cent Mile at State and Grand and within reach of the
best of everything the downtown area has to offer.|
Uniquely, the restaurants feature open-kitchen environments, allowing diners to watch the chefs prepare meals over the open flames of Weber kettles (which are very similar to the Weber Ranch kettle, but modified slightly for restaurant use). The chefs control multiple kettles at a time, each set to a different temperature - one for searing, one for indirect and one for vegetables. All told, the chefs heat up about 2,000 pounds of charcoal per day using a genuine Weber Chimney Starter like folks at home do.
"It's all about great food, great service and having lots of fun," Stephen said. "[Our restaurant business] supports the barbecue business very well, and it's a great venue to showcase our products. And it's also a great venue to really give Weber aficionados a chance to experience Weber another way besides the barbecue in their backyard."