Juggling school and work isn’t the easiest thing to do. But what if you had to juggle school and running your own restaurant?
Dave Furse and Chuckie Furse, brothers and co-owners of Dave and Cranky Chuckie’s, on the second floor at 746 E. 820 North, Provo, opened the restaurant four months ago. While this is their first restaurant, it is not their first business venture.
“We’ve been doing business together for awhile, and we have an online clothing store called Eight Cow Wife,” Dave said.
Dave said the name of the restaurant derives from Chuckie’s moods.
“Chuckie cooks when he’s really angry or really happy,” he said.
Dave, a recreational management major from Massachusetts, said while they considered expanding to open a physical shop, they decided on the restaurant instead.
“Chuckie has been cooking professionally for the past 11 years,” Dave said. “I love planning events and hosting things. We’ve been talking about opening a restaurant since we were eleven.”
Chuckie said they weren’t serious then, but started toying with the idea about a year ago.
Dave and Chuckie are both recreational management majors, so when they started getting serious, Dave geared his capstone course in commercial recreation toward developing the concept.
Chuckie said he started cooking when he was 8.
“Our Mom wanted us both to learn how to cook, but Dave didn’t stick with it,” he said.
Chuckie started cooking professionally when he was 15 at Friendly’s, a restaurant back East.
“I cooked through high school, then came out to college, and took about a year off,” he said. “I got back into cooking because I hated desk work.”
Chuckie cooked at Communal, a local restaurant, after his hiatus, and was the sous chef there. Communal was his first time cooking at a fine-dining restaurant, along with Utah Celebrations catering and the Hilton in Sandy.
While this is something they both enjoy doing, the brothers have bigger plans.
“Cooking is just something I like to do,” Chuckie said. “I would like to run an all inclusive resort on the East Coast.”
Aside from providing good food, Dave said the whole philosophy on having the place is to help starving artists.
“It’s something we really support, whether they’re local performers or comedians,” he said.
Dave recalls Thanksgiving last year, where they invited anyone who wanted to go for a free turkey dinner.
“Chuckie and I were going to be away from our family so we decided to provide a free thanksgiving dinner for those who were kind of stranded,” he said. “It was funny because we had 12 Pakistani guys playing Rock Band till 1 a.m. and they all brought apple pies from Wal-mart.”
Emily Stewart, a freshman from Menifee, Calif., who plans to major in entrepreneurship, said the food is great, and Dave and Chuckie are personable. She said it seemed pretty risky opening a restaurant as students, but thought it was cool.
“It’s really cool that it’s something they have wanted to do for a long time and have achieved it,” she said. “You can tell by their service that they really love what they do.”
Dave said word of mouth is the biggest way they get business. While20-25 percent of their customers are students, the rest are established households.
“We have a decent web presence, Urbanspoon has been helping us, along with Facebook and Twitter, even LinkedIn,” he said.
Asked what advice they would give to students wanting to start their own business, they said to do it.
“Do it while you don’t have so much responsibility,” Chuckie said. “My brother and I had no debt, and had savings. If it goes under, we just walk away.”
Dave recommended doing research.
“Do your homework. Our reports from school helped us,” he said. “Everyone who has given up their dreams will trample yours, and tell you you can’t do it.”