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Border Foods: Solid Prep, Training for Restaurant Ownership

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Kurt Henricks says he’s always had an inner drive fueling the desire to own his own business.

Today, he’s made it a reality as owner of The Dugout Bar & Grill in Bethel, MN, a business he purchased in 2012 after a year of research and exploration.

Kurt is a former Border Foods District Manager (and Restaurant General Manager), who was once responsible for Taco Bells throughout northern, southern and central Minnesota. He worked for us for 16 years before going out on his own.

Kurt gives a lot of credit to Border Foods, saying it prepared him for this impressive step in his career.

“I learned a lot about hospitality, how to treat people, hire and fire people,” he shares of his employment with us.

“I felt I knew how to run a business because of time at Border Foods.” -Kurt Henricks, Former Border Foods District Manager/Restaurant Owner 

 

The Vetting Process 

Kurt looked at a lot of businesses with his business broker — he thinks about 40. He wasn’t set on owning a restaurant, so there were liquor stores, convenience stores and some restaurants.

“I had kind of a wide angle,” he says.

Then, he heard about The Dugout in Bethel, about a half-hour drive from his home in Mounds View. The distance seemed reasonable so he and his then teenage daughter casually stopped by one day.

“It’s in the middle of nowhere,” Kurt says. They drove through some cornfields and lakes on the way. Turns out The Dugout is the only restaurant within the town’s one square mile; other businesses include a bank, the post office, a therapy business and a brewery that serves beverages only.

“Wow, this is kinda cool,” he remembers thinking after experiencing the bar’s Cheers-like atmosphere and small-town hospitality. And the rest is history! On December 28, 2012 the sale was final.

Then & Now

To leave the comfort of Border Foods — which paid very well and included great benefits, including excellent training — Kurt knew he “really needed something stable.” As an existing business, The Dugout looked promising.

“It’s been a really good run,” Kurt says of his first decade of ownership. It hasn’t all been rosy, of course. He was “really tight on cash” the first year and then year two brought a flurry of necessary equipment upgrades as freezers and coolers shut down.

But Border Foods prepared him for this: to be “on call” and expect the unexpected. Perhaps the most unexpected, welcome surprise is how much he enjoys having the whole family involved. Today, Kurt’s wife and four kids all contribute to the grill’s success with their various roles making it a true family business. Check it out for yourself — head to The Dugout for typical bar fare like Heggies Pizza or their top sellers (Philly Cheese Steak or Bacon Ranch Chicken Wrap).

Investing in our people within our company, or as they head out on their own, is how we make lives better at Border Foods! We’re proud to see one of our very own building a thriving business. Congrats, Kurt!