Ronnie Cotton’s foray into entrepreneurship began in 1995, but he didn’t decide to become a restaurateur until 2006. The first order of business, “I wanted to give patrons a positive and pleasant experience every time they enter the doors at the Tavern at Tara Boulevard,” shares Cotton. He points out that a night out in Atlanta can run a tab on average of $40 before you enter an establishment —$20 for parking and a $20 cover charge, but not at the Tavern. As he puts it, “You can play or pay when going out in Atlanta. We prefer that you play without having to pay for every little thing.” Here, Cotton talks about operating his businesses. –yvette caslin
Why did you decide to become a J.R. Crickets franchisee?
Everyone knew about J.R. Crickets. If you wanted [hot] wings, you would go to J.R. Crickets. Their motto has always been “the wing is the thing.” I decided I would give it a shot and it has been good for me.
What is your daily routine?
I have three locations and a remote connection to all of my businesses, so I spend the morning checking the night receipts, the blog for incidents and then I make my rounds.
How do you stay abreast of trends in the food and bar industry?
With a variety of businesses opening daily, you are only as good as the next business. If you want customer loyalty, you have to keep things fresh and innovative. We provide the same value and benefits here that you can find in a club without all of the expenses.
What role does technology play in your business?
We have handheld units that servers use to place orders without ever leaving your table. I use my iPad to monitor nightly sales. If you don’t have updated technology, then you will be behind. We also have a Facebook page for each location and we have a Twitter account.
What sets you apart from other businesses?
Parking is free at The Tavern at Tara Boulevard and the menu options are not only affordable, but also delectable, featuring a full [menu] of sandwiches, burgers, salads and wings [lemony pepper, Three Mile Island meltdown, Buffalo BBQ, Buffalo Terriyaki, Sanchez and Fester] with an unmatched crispiness.
The Tavern at Tara Boulevard is located on Atlanta’s south side (6608 Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro), which makes for a perfect getaway from the busy streets of the city but not too far away from the fun.