Chris Hadermann believes that giving back is the most important thing in business and in life.
An Interview with the Founder of Southern Proper Hospitality
Clearpath is excited to feature our friend, Chris Hadermann. We are thrilled for the success of all his brands.
What or who inspired you to start your brand or concept and why?
Southern Proper Hospitality was started so that we could fill true voids in our market. We look to see what categories are missing from a restaurant standpoint and then create concepts to satisfy consumer needs. For example, John Piemonte and I are both from Clearwater, Florida and didn’t see a beachy, laid back environment in Buckhead so The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill was born.
We are also always looking to create concepts that offer guests an experience — from the interior design to the music playlist. We hope dining at our restaurants provides guests a short term escape because to us, that is the true purpose of great hospitality.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far and why?
Having the courage to just do it! I know this might be cliché, but when you have a great idea the hardest part is taking that first step to really make it happen. Fortunately, we have an incredible team of dedicated professionals that are like family to us, who have allowed our ideas to become reality.
What’s been the greatest reward and why?
Being able to give back to the communities we serve. It’s part of our business model to embrace and invest in the local communities of our restaurants. We give back through in-kind donations and fundraising events. Over the years we have partnered with numerous charities including Bert’s Big Adventures, Atlanta Humane Society, Children of Conservation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Giving Kitchen and local schools.
We see a huge value to giving back to our communities — whether that is partnering with a charity connected to our industry such as The Giving Kitchen and No Kid Hungry or with our neighborhood’s schools and local foundations.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another entrepreneur just starting out and why?
I like to tell people who are hoping to become entrepreneurs that the hardest part is finding that one thing or idea that they’re passionate about and then finding the courage to take that next step and make it happen. The advice I’d offer once they’ve done this is put your head down and work as hard as you possibly can, and hopefully it does not feel like work!
What are your plans for expansion?
There are two sides to our business. The first is to introduce new concepts to Buckhead and the second is to take those concepts and grow them into multiple locations. In 2015, we opened our second location of The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill on Canton Street in Roswell, and look to continue to expand it in other markets where we feel a niche exists.
Tin Lizzy’s Cantina has paved the way for us to expand our concepts. Now with 13 corporately owned locations, we are starting to franchise as well. Through this experience we have created a template to grow our other concepts into multiple locations with franchising being a viable growth option.
We plan to continue to expand, executing existing concepts around metro-Atlanta and beyond, while also opening new restaurants to fill outstanding voids and demonstrate proof of concept. We frequently get approached by mixed-use developers and look forward to continuing our rapid growth in this market.
What is one brand or concept that you respect or admire and why?
Hillstone Restaurant Group is the brand that I always refer to as the “Gold Standard” in our business, simply because they always exceed expectations and are consistent in everything they execute.
What’s one word that best describes you and why?
Sensibility. I value my ability to deeply connect with people and establish close, meaningful relationships. This has benefited me the most in life. Any success I’ve had is a direct result of all of the positive influences I’ve had from all of the inspiring people I’ve encountered.
At Clearpath, we value relationships over everything because we know that great people are the secret sauce to success. We serve as ambassadors for emerging brands — connecting them with the leaders they need to build their businesses and change the world. Our collaborative, tenacious, and modern approach to talent acquisition empowers us to surface the right candidates — faster.