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“Business Over Easy”

Read Original Article by Sherry Graham from Wichita Business Journal

Bank of America Kansas President Rob Allison likes to eat breakfast at The Good Egg.

He goes there at least once a week to meet with clients, prospects and co-workers.

“I think the thing I like best about it is when you go in there, you see a lot of people from the community,” Allison says. “It makes it a good meeting spot for me. I think it’s a good place to talk business.”

Harvest Communications Inc. owner Ray Dorsett likes to eat breakfast in a bright place where he knows the crowds and can sit with acquaintances sipping coffee long after the plates have been cleared. He can talk business, hear the latest news and be out the door before most people are at the office. He’s a Good Egg regular.

“There are a lot of familiar faces here,” Dorsett says. “And they have great bacon.”

The Good Egg, located at 2141 N. Bradley Fair Parkway in the Bradley Fair shopping center, has become a staple for many Wichita businesspeople. They can sit at oversized booths with their spreadsheets, laptops and cell phones, surrounded by other deal-makers who just might know someone at the next table who could bring a new sale.

The mix of high-power players and low-key atmosphere is just what restaurant owner Daryl Lowry had in mind when he decided to bring the Arizona-based concept to Wichita four years ago.

“The days of the three martini lunch are gone,” Lowry says. “People want to conduct business in an atmosphere that’s clean, bright and cheery, and where they don’t have to worry about making decisions about alcohol.”

Office away from the office

Lowry says his business caters to all sorts of professionals — bankers, attorneys, Realtors, financial advisors, even doctors who office at the nearby Wilson Estates Medical Park. He estimates that from Monday through Friday, 80 percent to 90 percent of his sales come from the business community. Seventy percent of those sales happen before 11 a.m.

The numbers are growing every year, Lowry says. He won’t discuss revenues, but says May was his best month ever with sales rising 14 percent over May 2003. Nothing on the menu is priced higher than $8.

Lowry knows his restaurant is something of an office away from the office for the business community. He keeps the lights up, the music low and the food coming fast.

On an average week, The Good Egg serves 180 dozen fresh eggs, 400 pounds of bacon, and 1,500 cups of coffee. And Lowry makes himself part of the restaurant experience. He’s there virtually every day, greeting many of the customers by name.

O. Lee Elrick, president of Elrick & Associates insurance agency, had his quarterly breakfast Wednesday with client Wilbur Bradley, president of White Pine Petroleum Corp. Elrick says he visits The Good Egg often for business breakfast meetings.

“I like the atmosphere. There’s a feeling of privacy and of comfort,” Elrick says.

Grant Tidemann, a commercial Realtor and vice president of J.P. Weigand & Sons, says The Good Egg is the new Georgie Porgie Pancake Shop — the now-closed Normandie Center restaurant popular with the business crowds in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Good Egg is easily accessible, and the food is quality, Tidemann says.

“In our business, it takes awhile to get it done,” Tidemann says. “But I’ve always been a big proponent of breaking bread as a fantastic way to get to know your clients and customers better.”

Elizabeth King, vice president of university advancement for Wichita State University, says its not uncommon for her to start a breakfast meeting at The Good Egg with her staff and still be at the table two hours later.

“There are just so many hours in the day,” King says. “Breakfast meetings are something you can add in.”

Lowry says he’s considering expanding his concept to the west side. That location might attract some new diners from the business community, he says.

Opening in an area surrounded by businesses is key to his growth.

“We want to be close to Kellogg where there’s more commerce,” Lowry says. “Anywhere we locate, we’ll be busy Saturday and Sunday. We need to have a location that’s easily accessible for the business people.”