Restaurant Group Yellow Rocket Launching New Corporate Home in East Little Rock

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, May. 19, 2014 12:00 am  

A burger at Big Orange, one of Yellow Rocket Concepts' restaurants. (Photo by Dustin Nevill)

Yellow Rocket Concepts, the hot Little Rock restaurant partnership, is moving its corporate headquarters to 510 McLean in east Little Rock, the building that will house its Lost 40 Brewing Co.

Yellow Rocket is the parent company of Big Orange Burgers + Salads & Shakes, Local Lime Tacos & Margaritas, ZaZa Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza Co. and, most recently, Heights Taco & Tamale Co., the new restaurant planned for the space now occupied by Browning’s Mexican Grill at 5805 Kavanaugh Blvd. in the Heights. Browning’s is scheduled to close at the end of June.

Scott McGehee, the energetic restaurateur and partner in Yellow Rocket, calls the 19,276-SF building, the former Candy Bouquet warehouse, “an awesome facility. It’s got 25-foot ceilings. Because of the nature of the former business there, it’s a very well-insulated building and it’s got heat and air, which is great for brewing.”

It’s also apparently great for an HQ and will house Yellow Rocket’s accounting, human resources and other staff, McGehee said. “We just decided that we were at a point now where we needed to centralize more of our operations,” he said.

That “we” includes his Yellow Rocket partners: John Beachboard and Russ McDonough.

Lost 40 and More

In addition to discussing the new HQ, McGehee last week briefed your Whispers staff on the progress the Yellow Rocket team is making on developing and equipping Lost 40 Brewing Co.

“I think we’re six months away from actually having beer to sell — at least,” he said. “And then ramping up to, like, bottled beer and things like that, that’s an even longer process.

“Obviously, we’re going to start relatively small. With beer, if the beer is amazing and the branding is amazing, we could potentially grow very quickly. And if the branding is not amazing and the beer sucks and it’s inconsistent, then it can be a really painful struggle.”

Keeping in mind our readers and their love for dollar signs, we pressed for the cost of the project, but were politely rebuffed.

We’ll share these instead:

  • In 2013, the Big Orange on Chenal Parkway did $2.4 million in food sales (excluding alcohol).
  • The Big Orange Midtown did $1.33 million, but it didn't even open until July, which, if the trend holds, means it's on track to outperform Big Orange West.
  • Local Lime, also in west Little Rock, reported $2.3 million in sales last year.
  • ZaZa, in the Heights, did $2.1 million in 2013.
  • And ZaZa in Conway reported $1.2 million in sales last year.

We think these figures indicate McGehee and partners know something about "amazing" branding.

 

 

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