JCW's says it offers great burgers, service

2008-07-16T23:00:00Z JCW's says it offers great burgers, serviceCathy Allred - North County Staff Daily Herald
July 16, 2008 11:00 pm  • 

11Nominated three years running as the greatest tasting hamburgers in a Daily Herald survey on Utah County restaurants, JCW's has also enjoyed the honor of being one of the top three best burger restaurants since its inception in American Fork in 1998.

"It's decided by the customers," co-owner Clay Williams said. "It's having a good relationship with the customer and we custom order and cook it fresh. It takes a little bit longer, but it's nice and hot and tastes a little bit better."

JCW's opened in Lehi May 19 just northwest of the SR 92 Highland-Alpine interchange on Thanksgiving Way north of the Hampton Inn.

Consumer response to a second JCW's has been overwhelmingly positive with an average of 1,000 customers eating there each day. The Williams brothers, JCW's owners, were pleasantly surprised.

"Yes, we were," Clay Williams said. "Compared to the first one we opened up really slow, but now people know who we are and we've been really busy."

A new experience for the two brothers, the positive reception of at the Lehi JCW's was reassuring for them.

"Definitely, it was new territory for us," Clay Williams said. "We didn't know what it was going to be like."

They had split their American Fork JCW's crew of 35-40 employees and moved half to the Lehi restaurant, hiring more to complete a full crew at each restaurant.

A significant investment, the restaurant building is approximately one third the size larger than the American Fork facility but appears even larger because of the higher ceilings said Clay Williams.

The Williams brothers chose the north Lehi site after some deliberation.

"There weren't a lot of restaurants, no place to eat over here and it's right off the freeway," Clay Williams said. "We just thought it would be a great area."

JCW's offers gourmet burgers, hot sandwiches, salads, shakes, malts and cones, soups and chili. Their latest addition to the menu is the jalepeño bacon cheeseburger. As well as a generous menu of choices, there are monthly combo specials and each order is custom made. At JCW's the customer gets to choose.

"Chris and I always feel like we can always treat the customer better," Clay Williams said. "We always make sure the customer is taken care of."

Proponents of an owner-occupied restaurant business, the brothers usually work 5-6 days, 45-60 hours a week. With just one restaurant, the owners alternated shifts so an owner was always there working with the employees.

"We pretty much we always tried to have one of us there," Clay Williams said.

Now with two restaurants, the owners are training two managers, AJ Farish in Lehi and Bryan Boulter in American Fork, to help out. The Williams brothers will still be hands on, alternating shifts so they each get to work at both restaurants.

Clay and Chris Williams are close together in age, about 40, and have used their prior experience in restaurant work to create their JCW's product.

"A lot of people want to open a restaurant, but they really don't know what is entailed," Clay Williams said. "But when you work in a restaurant, you know how much work it takes ... They don't understand that in order for it to run well, it has to be owner occupied, someone invested in the business."

The brothers attribute JCW's success to providing superb customer service and serving quality food.

"We try to buy the best product out there," Clay Williams said. "We just want the best quality, so we need to charge a little bit more."

JCW's stands for the brothers' first names, Clay and John, and their last name, but John was their father's name so John, the son, goes by Chris.

"We 've also said it can stand for "just can't wait," Clay Williams said. JCW's has acquired a following over the years who coined the phrase "The Burger Boys" so the Williams brothers adopted it as part of the restaurant's name in the restaurant logo.

Future plans for more restaurants are on hold. They said they do not want to franchise.

"It took us 10 years to get this one going (and) we want to make sure this one goes really well before we do anything else," Clay Williams said. "Hopefully it will be sooner than the 10 years it took for this one, but we don't have anything set in stone right now."

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