These days, operating a successful business goes beyond understanding market principles and forces of demand and supply. The franchisees at The Chocolate Martini Bar know this well. As an entrepreneur, one factor that distinguishes your brand from others is how much social impact you have.
This is why you should always strive to genuinely connect with the community through your marketing principles and company policies.
One brand that has successfully impacted society since its establishment is Georgia’s favorite restaurant, Chocolate Martini Bar. The restaurant was founded by three active U.S Army soldiers, Maurice Gilliard, Darren Maye, and Gary Dewitt, from a franchise dream that started way back in 2013.
Initially, the plan was to operate in the area of Washington D.C., but after years of planning, Chocolate Martini Bar found a home in the city of Pooler, and it has actively impacted communal growth by giving back constant support to the community.
Chocolate Martini Bar has performed various philanthropic activities in Pooler, such as assisting local fundraisers for various topics, hosting events for community leaders and their platforms, and supporting and serving as a part of the city’s Chamber of Commerce. All these and more are rooted in the desire to ensure that the Pooler community grows even better than they met it.
“The inspiration came from the ambition and desire to “do more” and achieve an accomplishment that would be positive for the community and family. Seeing that food naturally brings a smile on people’s faces, Bringing this to our community of Pooler was only fitting as we see such tremendous growth in this area.” Maurice Gilliard says.
Chocolate Martini Bar: The Veterans’ Project
The Chocolate Martini Bar thrives because it was established by a group of people who are used to selflessly serving the community, that is, the U.S Army.
The franchisees of Chocolate Martini Bar, Maurice Gilliard, Darren Maye, and Gary Dewitt, have a collective 47 years in service.
Maurice Gilliard served in the U.S Army for 12 years in various capacities. He started his career as a Paralegal and then changed paths to become a talent scout for the Army. After that was complete, Gilliard began a remarkable few years of flying as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, with an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and an MBA from Syracuse University to show for it.
Darren Maye, Maurice Gilliard’s partner, has served 15 years in the Army. Initially, Darren was in communications and then switched to being a talent scout for the Army. After completing that, Darren too began a career in aviation as an Apache Helicopter Pilot. Currently, Darren still serves as a helicopter Pilot.
Gary Dewitt served in the Army for 20 years. Gary began in the medical field as a combat medic and then switched over to a talent scout halfway through his career. Gary retired from the military and then became a sales representative for 2 Fortune 500 companies in the midwest.
Flowing from their biographies, it is sufficient to say that the Chocolate Martini Bar and its newest franchisees are conscious about improving the community by rendering selfless help that leads to communal growth.
“In all we do, the community’s welfare comes first. We decided to use our years of experience and skills to push growth in any community and area that we find ourselves in. It doesn’t matter if we are defending the country with the Army or putting smiles on people’s faces with our happy meals, the bottom line is that the community feels our impact. This is what we have been doing in the city of Pooler,” Maurice Gilliard explains.
Bringing Flair and Style to The Pooler Community
Ordinarily, entrepreneurs consider the city’s culture and style before launching their brands. This way, they are able to use their business ideas and policies to reflect the city’s culture and style in a better way. Therefore, businesses in these cities become an extension of the society’s culture.
Consequently, the Chocolate Martini Bar in Pooler, Georgia, is no different. The Chocolate Martini Bar is a great place to enjoy some of the best chocolate martinis in town while also getting a feel for the city’s culture.
When asked why The Chocolate Martini Bar was launched in the restaurant industry, particularly in the city of Pooler, the franchisee said:
“We choose this industry and this concept, simply put, because food brings a smile to everyone’s face. This particular concept was cool and swanky and had the ability to really scale, from our perspective.”
Scaling to the Next Level
The restaurant industry is competitive, with many businesses vying for a customer’s attention. In order to scale, Chocolate Martini Bar has continued to provide world-class food alongside excellent customer service!
“In this industry, it’s all about the customer experience. We could have the best food in town, but if our service wasn’t up to par, we wouldn’t be in business for long. We’ve been fortunate to have a great team who really buys into our vision and culture.” Maurice Gilliard says.
He further shares:
“Collectively we see ourselves refining our acumen as restaurateurs and really understanding the ins and outs of the industry. We intend to scale this franchise to the “next level,” continuing to improve on its sleek design and overall model. We plan to build a few more locations in the state and possibly move on to other states over the next 5 years.”
The Chocolate Martini Bar is not only changing the game in the city of Pooler but also impacting communal growth. The franchisees’ military experience has taught them the importance of service, and they are using their platform to give back to the community.
In addition, the success story of Chocolate Martini Bar continues to inspire every growing business and brand in the community. Although their success wasn’t achieved overnight, many brands look up to the Chocolate Martini Bar and hope to emulate their achievement.
“Starting from the bottom and crossing over to the hospitality industry was a bold step for us. We always want to serve as role models to everyone in the community and beyond that is why we take active strides towards our objectives. The drive certainly comes from within and it is absolutely accompanied by “hesitation” or “fear.” Our advice is simple – just do it. Lol. Not necessarily a Nike reference however, it stands true. There have been multiple times in which each one of us had to coach the other and lean on one another to ensure we kept moving. Each of us has felt anxious and nervous however, we absolutely continued to go forward,” Maurice Gilliard advises.
The Chocolate Martini Bar has been able to overcome many obstacles, and they continue to strive for success.
“We’ve learned how to manage our time more efficiently and better utilize our resources. We have had a very steep learning curve and have been tested from the beginning. We heard the word “no” from 100 different companies, whether that be financial institutions, property managers, landlords, etc., but most importantly, we did not allow the “no’s” to get in the way of our goals.
We faced many obstacles having opened our restaurant during the Pandemic. Customer issues, supply chain issues, capital contribution, etc. We’ve taken each obstacle as a learning experience and approached each one with confidence and a problem-solving mindset opposed to feeling defeated at the onset.” Gilliard shares.
The doggedness towards success is one thing that they continue to preach because it worked for them. They implore all growing businesses, innovators, entrepreneurs to do the same if they want to achieve their dreams.
Coming from a global pandemic situation, where bars, restaurants, hotels, and all hospitality businesses were on lockdown restrictions, the franchisees of The Chocolate Martini Bar envisioned success beyond the present economic realities.
Entrepreneurs must look beyond the present and always think long-term if they want to succeed in their business field. The Chocolate Martini Bar has been able to do this, and they continue to reap the benefits of their efforts. Gradually as the lockdown restriction eases, they benefit from believing in themselves and their vision.
He further admonishes entrepreneurs by saying:
“The biggest advice that we can give is to not give up on your dreams and persist through the challenges. It’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination but, if you stay focused on your goals, anything is possible. Always stay focused, determined, and diligent. Success is around the corner and perseverance is what will ensure you see it.”
If you are looking for a place with good vibes, Chocolate Martini Bar is the place to be. They not only provide delicious food and drinks, but they are also changing the landscape of the community. Be sure to check them out and see how they’re impacting growth in Pooler!
“We’re extremely grateful for all of our supporters, customers, family, and friends. We would not have made it without your continued support throughout this time. We’re looking forward to continuing to grow and expand our Chocolate Martini Bar family.” Gilliard concludes.