Babe's Chicken Dinner House has the same success story as many American start-ups. Humble beginnings, hard work and a great product leads to success. After starting with just one small country cooking restaurant in 1981, Paul and Mary Beth Vinyard have opened 11 more and now employ more than 1,300 people in the state of Texas.
The restaurant takes the name “Babe” from Mary Beth who used it as a nickname for years before her death in 2008. Her husband Paul keeps the booming business going with the support of his two children, Joel and Tiffany.
Babes has a distinct, scratch cooking, comfort food feel of grandma's kitchen in each unique restaurant. The atmosphere is as warm and welcoming as the crispy fried chicken, piled high on a family style over-sized platters. No corporate ownership or public offering here. And the customers love it. TheBlaze went to three locations and the wait was more than an hour at each packed location, all on a weeknight!
So what is the Babe's secret?
"Hard work," answers Paul Vineyard, sitting at a round table amongst a packed house of customers. Paul is an unassuming elderly man and almost got red when we asked him his official title.
"CEO I guess, but we don't talk about that much" he says with a grin. He is flanked by his co-owners, his children on each side, who run the day-to-day of the business. "These are my co-owners," Paul says proudly.
The conversation shifts to President Barack Obama's now infamous comments of, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen." Paul and his son Joel, who has worked at the restaurant since high school, called the comments both insulting and offensive.
"It's terrible," Joel says, noting that all good employers take care of and appreciate those who helped them build their business, "but you can't take away the core responsibility, the piece that drives it. The job creation itself." Paul seconds that.
"Each of these entrepreneurs have brought many other people along with them," he says, "given them the money to raise families, educate their kids, paid for the insurance for them and given them success."
A floor manager named Jose adds how "grateful" he is to the restaurant. Jose describes his entrance into the Babe's family when he walked up to a trailer in a parking lot where they were building the restaurant and was "hired on the spot." Jose has worked his way up in the chain to the position of floor manager without any prior experience: "It just goes to show that a family is family no matter where they come from" Jose says proudly.
Paul adds that his mission is Babe's employees. "We try to teach them a little bit about Christianity, honesty, integrity, character and we teach them about the Constitution." Joel adds that that is the "way we should do it."
Paul makes a final note to punctuate the conversation: "The government has no money, other than what they take from us. So we built all of that that [Obama] is talking about."
Pass the gravy & watch this Fried Chicken American story below: