An Interview with Rob of Duckworth’s Kitchen and Taphouse

Duckworth's Kitchen & Taphouse
Duckworth's Kitchen & Taphouse

Recently, we sat down with Rob Duckworth to discuss the newest development in his Duckworth restaurant chain. Rob detailed how the Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse location on Park Road brings new ideas and menu items to his Duckworth restaurants, and his inspiration behind the brand.

How did you get your start in the restaurant business?
Before getting started in the restaurant business, I ran a convenience store in Mooresville, NC. I owned about three acres of land where my convenience store was and I was trying to lease the land out. Since the land was located on such a good corner and in a growing market, many restaurant owners were interested in purchasing the land, not leasing. I decided to open up my own restaurant on the property and that’s when Duckworth’s started.

What made you choose to open this new restaurant concept in the Park Road Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse location?
It is the smallest footprint we have. That made Park Road a good fit for us to pare down the menu and constantly test new items.

Why did you want to open Duckworth’s Kitchen & Taphouse? How is this separate from Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse in terms of food and mood?
Duckworth’s Kitchen & Taphouse is where anything new to Duckworth’s goes first. The mood at Duckworth’s Kitchen & Taphouse is still very similar to our Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse brand. With regards to the food, our mission is to evolve select items on the Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse menu while still focusing on the American classics and local crowd-favorites.

Duckworth's Kitchen & Taphouse
Duckworth’s Kitchen & Taphouse

In contrast, how are you going to keep your signature constant from Duckworth’s Grill restaurants to the new one?
Since this is an extension to the Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse brand, who we are naturally carries over to Duckworth’s Kitchen & Taphouse.

How do you measure your success?
Guest satisfaction and brand reputation. Sales and profit targets are a great measuring stick for success; but if you’re taking care of your guests and protecting the brand image, then sales normally follow naturally.

What have you learned from your previous businesses that has helped you?
The restaurant business compared to the convenience store business is very different in some ways but also similar, too. They’re both people businesses. It is important to have great people working with you for the brand and to take care of the customer. My takeaways from the convenience store industry on systems, processes and real estate selection have been beneficial as well.

Is there anything else that you’d like to comment on that we haven’t talked about?
We always keep our ears to the ground and really focus on what our guests are searching for. Now days, you can get great beer everywhere, but finding a menu that fits everyone’s tastes is hard to come by. That’s something we’ve always strived for at Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse.