In an industry where more than two-thirds of the new entrants
fail within the first year and a geographic market that is recognized as a
hotbed of competition, the Southern Californian restaurants, Hennessey's,
have proven to be a resounding success - demonstrating atypical longevity
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
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.