Ray Rubin is no stranger to the restaurant industry or being a business owner, and he certainly knows what being a franchisee is all about. As the first person to sign a Shuckin' Shack franchise agreement in 2018, Ray is already on the fast track to get his Jacksonville, NC Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar open for business this year. As you'll soon read in our phone interview with him below, he's both excited and anxious to join the 13 Shuckin' Shacks already operating in the Southeast. So let's take a few minutes to learn a little more about Ray!
Please tell us about your very first experience as a customer at the Shuckin' Shack.
Basically, I just moved here from Rochester, New York and visited your Surf City location. I was sitting there eating and thinking it was a great experience - it had a feel like a home-town, local vibe. And I was thinking that - man, I wish this was a franchise - because I had been looking for something to get into. Turns out, through my searches I found out that it was a seafood restaurant franchise and I went with Shuckin' Shack.
Please tell us about your prior business experience; have you owned or managed other franchise businesses in the past five to ten years?
I owned and operated an Old Italy Pizzeria back in Rochester New York before moving to North Carolina. And I also owned a Chem-Dry franchise in Orlando, FL back in 2009 before I moved to Rochester. And I've also owned a construction company, but that doesn't have too much to do with the food business.
Before you decided on Shuckin' Shack, were there other franchises or restaurant opportunities you were seriously considering?
Yes. I was considering a Firehouse Subs franchise or a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Basically, the reason I chose Shuckin' Shack was because of the atmosphere - the friendly feel - like when I walk in there. And I truly enjoyed myself - from the minute I walked through the door until the minute I left. Everyone that works there was very welcoming. They all worked as a team to make sure you are satisfied. The crew there was great!
Onslow County has been home to Camp Lejeune since 1941: Have you or any of your family members served in the military?
I do not, but I have two brothers who have both served in the United States Navy. One is currently active duty and stationed in Hawaii.
The Site Selection process for Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar could goes as quickly as 90 days or it could be more than a year, depending on each market and location: What is YOUR goal to open the Shuckin' Shack of Jacksonville for business?
My goal is 90 days. I was hoping to actually be open by now, but I had some issues with franchise financing at the beginning, but got through that. So here we are hoping that in maybe two or three more months we can be open!
What's your biggest fear in opening your own Shuckin' Shack?
Basically... Mostly my biggest fear is finding the right location and making sure that I have the right staff. I want a really good crew.
How long have you been considering the Shuckin' Shack Restaurant Franchise?
It started with my first visit to the Surf City location in August of 2017 - I've considered it since then but it took me a month to figure out it wasn't locally owned - that it was a franchise.
Over those past five months, have you spoken with any existing Shuckin' Shack franchisees before you signed the franchise agreement?
Yes - basically I've just spoken with Jason and Beverly Simas (Surf City Shuckin' Shack franchisees). They've been very helpful, actually. They said that they loved being a part of the franchise and you actually care about the success of your franchisees. Not like other franchises where they give you life buoy and tell you to float on your own, basically.
As we publish this interview in February 2018, Ray is very close to signing a lease for his new Jacksonville, NC restaurant space and hopes to be open within the next 90 days! Stay tuned for more details! If you enjoyed this interview article and would like to read more Shuckin' Shack franchisee testimonials we suggest these interviews from 2017:
- Confessions of a Multi-Unit Franchisee - Cary, NC
- Interview with Shuckin' Shack's Leland Franchisees
- Shuckin' Shack Franchisee Interview with Jason & Beverly - Surf City, NC
For 2018 our executive team is also targeting the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina including the cities of Greensboro, Hickory and Winston-Salem for multi-unit restaurant development. If you or someone you know has a sincere interest and ability to bring "The Shack" to 1.6 million people who call the Triad home, please contact us using this special opportunities page!