Lee Thom, co-owner of Lee’s Burger Baron on Main Street doesn’t pretend to be a business expert, but he knows a thing or two about making connections with the community and customer appreciation.
March 6th was the one-year anniversary of restaurant ownership for Lee and his wife and business partner Lisa. They’ve learned a lot in a short period of time. On the business side of things, Lee is quick to point out that when they bought the business he had little knowledge of things like setting up GST or CRA accounts, or with anything on the accounting side of things. He was also surprised about the number of suppliers he would need to work with in order to keep the restaurant in operation. Lee is proud of his wife Lisa who is gradually taking over the accounting side of the business, and also grateful for his kitchen staff who have maintained the menu established by the previous owner.
To compensate for being new business owners, Lee and Lisa focused on working hard, doing things right, and providing the best possible customer service. With this in mind, along with an energetic pick-up and delivery model, even with pandemic restrictions, Lee’s Burger Baron continued to do well.
Lee is a firm believer in giving back to his customers and started the ball rolling by offering monthly draws for cash and prizes. “Being able to give back is one of the best things about owning your own business”, says Thom. With hundreds of connections on social media and partnerships with other businesses, Lee’s Burger Baron strategically positions itself to share its success with everyone in the community, and Lee is always looking for new ways to give back. “It’s important that Lee’s Burger Baron be a welcoming place to everyone in the community, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, says Thom, touting his “Bannock Burger Fridays” as a hit with everyone.
Whether it’s the sign over the doors that includes the front end of a vintage car, Thom points out that the restaurant owes a good deal of its success to public relations. Lee works hard to ensure the restaurant is noticeable and has a special appeal to the community. He summarizes these efforts by saying, “you have to brand it to build it”. ■