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Shane’s Rib Shack, a three-year-old, tin-roofed rib shack operating in a rural town 45 minutes outside Atlanta, goes through about 40 gallons of its private label Shane’s Sauce each day, a family recipe from his grandfather, Big Dad, that remains secret to everyone but them. For Martin Sprock, chief of Raving Brands, and his partner, Chris Morocco, who manages Planet Smoothie and PJ’s Coffee brands, finding Shane’s is a great example of what they do best—see a category segment that’s underserved and void of a quality concept and roll it out Raving style … fast.
Shane’s Rib Shack, Raving Brands’ sixth concept, hits the ground running with four additional locations scheduled to open by summer. Shane Thompson currently has two opened in McDonough, Georgia, his original, and a new one that opened recently to take some of the pressure off of his original 1,200 square foot, no heat or AC shack that does more business in its six days of weekly operation than most 2,000 square foot fast casual concepts do in a full week.
“By opening the second concept, we thought we could spread the heavy volume of our original, but the reality is we haven’t broken stride on our original and the new store is ‘killing it’ too,” explains Shane Thompson, founder of Shane’s. Shane’s is famous in Georgia for its sauce and everything it touches—baby back ribs, its trademark heaping pork sandwich, chopped barbecue chicken platters, and made from scratch sides. Wings come with their own sauce, although Shane’s customers have figured a way to satisfy their craving for Shane’s Sauce—a combination of wing sauce and Shane’s Sauce mixed together called “Q.”
“We had heard of Shane’s legend, his legendary barbecue, and after one trip to McDonough, we knew this was a brand that had national potential,” explains Morocco, a Raving Brands partner. “We particularly like Shane’s commitment to best quality meats and his understanding of the marketplace. His knowledge and experience will enable us to make this a very successful franchise model.” Unlike most rib joints and barbecue concepts, Shane’s only serves Baby Back Ribs verses the lesser quality Spare Rib and St. Louis Rib cuts. Additionally, as a means of maintaining the finest quality products, Shane’s intentionally avoids beef products because of their unpredictable nature and difficulty keeping moist. All pork is smoked for 10 hours and then hand-chopped to order. You will never find a mechanical cutter either.
“Shane’s is the type of concept that is difficult to find across any restaurant category. Shane has the food, the image, the experience and a scalable concept,” explains Sprock. “Essentially, the only thing we need to do is make sure the new “shacks” come with heating and air. We don’t believe there’s a category leader or any significant national players within fast casual rib shack/barbecue. We are a rib shack brand serving ‘true’ barbecue, ribs, chicken and wings along with some great sides.” Sprock’s influence will find its way to Shane’s menu however in the form of Shane/Sprock sauce that’s vinegar based, called a Carolina sauce that reflects Sprock’s Carolina upbringing.
Raving Brands is launching its first store in partnership with Shane in early April with as many as 10 other stores scheduled to open before the end of 2005. In the spirit of Raving Brands, Shane’s will launch initially with stores in the region, but already has franchise interest throughout the country.