Since being founded in 1976 by Paul Hennessey, an entrepreneurial former Wall Street stock trader, Hennessey's Tavern, Inc. has grown from a single location in Hermosa Beach, Calif. into a diversified group spread throughout Southern California that today includes: 10 Hennessey's Tavern and H.T Grill operations, as well as the renowned Lighthouse Cafe jazz club and The Fish Bucket - a casual "beachy" concept.
The company's sales have risen rapidly, as well, since its early days. Hennessey's Tavern, Inc. boasted total revenues for 2005 of approximately 30 million dollars.
Mr. Hennessey credits the company's success to the fact that it has found a market niche and not deviated from it, even as Hennessey's Tavern, Inc. has continued to expand. He said he believes his dining and drinking establishments emphasize good food and ambience, but shun the flash-in-the-pan trends and gimmicks that are common among his competitiors. The final product, Mr Hennessey believes, is the traditional cozy or clubby feel indigenous to Irish or English pubs.
"I saw the need for nice gathering places with relaxing environments," Mr. Hennessey, referring to the Southern California market niche that he has captured and stamped with his own name. "We have consciously shunned trends and gimmicks, and I think that is a large part of why we are still around, while so many of my competitiors have come and gone. Our restaurants are about our people. We ensure that our staff are more than just order takers or food deliverers. Our staff have become our extended family, along with our guests".
No coincidence, either, are the Hennessey's locations. Strategically situated in coastal communities of Southern California, stretching from the South Bay to San Diego - all communities with highly favorable demographics of younger, more affluent consumers. Opened spring of 2003 is a new geographical location, Mammoth Lakes, Calif. With its all-year-round resort activities and being one of California's hot spots for tourism. And, most recent is Las Vegas, Nevada. Branching out of state, two concepts, Hennessey's Tavern and Mickie Finnz Fish House and Bar, opened March of 2006. Mr. Hennessey's feels optimistic of his new ventures.
Hennessey's Tavern, Inc. expansion has been steady and closely controlled. The opening of the Hermosa Beach Hennessey's Tavern in 1976 was followed, less that two years later, by the opening of the company's second location in Redondo Beach. Since then, the company has added new operations - from Manhattan Beach to San Diego (Gaslamp Quarter)- through start up and acquisition at a rate of approximately one per year.
H.T. Grill, with its upscale dinner-house menu and decor, opened in 1987, and the company's specialty operation, The Lighthouse Cafe was acquired in 1989. Recently, another two concepts have opened - a "Beachy, Casual" restaurant called The Fish Bucket. And an Island-themed fish house & bar called Mickie Finnz.
Unlike many of its competitiors that expand rapidly to satisfy investors or financial projections, Hennessey's Tavern, Inc. applies no such pressure to its own operations. According to Mr. Hennessey, expansion occurs only when the right opportunity presents itself, and since the company is closely held and has no outside investors, it is able to move rapidly to capitalize on good prospects.