Photo by Jeff Thompson.
0813 Beef 'O' Brady's
Lamonte and Larena Jackson, parents of Hoover High running back Kyler Jackson, left, pose with Bucs Head Football Coach Josh Niblett at the team’s 2012 State Championship party, which was held at Beef O’Brady’s.
Giving back to the community sits at the top of the menu for George McCluney, owner of The Grove’s Beef ‘O’ Brady’s.
Founded in 1985, the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s chain was fashioned as an Irish neighborhood pub, and McCluney, 49, has continued that vision by making the community the center of both the restaurant and his life.
“Beef ‘O’ Brady’s concept is based on affiliating with all local schools and sports, rather than spending huge [amounts of] money on TV commercials or radio advertising,” McCluney said.
On an average day one can find him working closely with employees and nurturing relationships he has groomed with customers since the restaurant’s opening in 2009.
“I love the customer contact and building those relationships,” McCluney said. “It’s one of the main reasons I wanted to be in this business.”
Building connections is something he has trained employees to do, as well.
“I can’t think of many chains where employees know your name and know what your favorite meal or favorite drink is,” McCluney said. “I’ve surrounded myself with people that are talented, hard-working and have great attitudes. Their willingness to always step up to the plate and go the extra mile is rewarding to see.”
McCluney’s connection with people within the community comes from his dedication to making people feel welcome, showing them he appreciates their business and creating a family-friendly and fun atmosphere.
With televisions in every direction, a game room and a small stage, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s reflects the fun essence McCluney aimed for.
As a youth who loved to play live music across town at restaurants and lounges, McCluney fell in love with entertaining people at an early age.
“I enjoy providing an atmosphere for other people to have fun [in],” McCluney said.
But beyond the fun and games lies a commitment to community and family. McCluney said providing for his family is his motivation, along with the reward of having loyal customers.
Overwhelmed with emotion, McCluney recounted a local family’s recent loss of all of its possessions in a house fire. Immediately looking to help, he put their story on Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Facebook page the day after Father’s Day. Since then, more than $5,000 in gift certificates and gift cards has been raised, in addition to various donations including clothes and furniture.
“It’s amazing to see how, when people are in need, the community comes together,” McCluney said.
McCluney reaches out not only in times of desperation. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s regularly hosts fundraisers for sports teams and school groups.
He also spends his time with family. In order to take care of customers, he sometimes balances family and business in an off-beat way, such as having date night with his wife, Eileen, on weeknights.
McCluney literally incorporates family into his business. When his two daughters are home from college, they help as servers.
His wife’s Irish heritage also influenced his decision to start the restaurant. On trips to Ireland, they loved the family-friendly environment they found in local pubs — the same quality they work to bring to Beef ‘O’ Brady’s.
The menu at the restaurant is how a restaurant really exhibits its quality. A few favorites reflecting the Irish foundation of the franchise include The Dubliner and Fish ‘N’ Chips. Besides these, the wings are one of the best-selling items on the menu.
“It’s important that the customers get the best service and the best food every time they come in,” McCluney said.