Kendall howard lubbock tx

Local restaurateur opens new location

From fry cook to owner, Kendall Howard has worked in nearly every position a restaurant offers, and now has opened the second Lubbock location of the Mama Fu's franchise - one of four restaurant chains he's involved with.

In Lubbock, Howard owns Buffalo Wild Wings, Mama Fu's, Las Brisas, and has been involved with Sonic. He's currently developing a new seafood and steakhouse concept in Oklahoma City.

A business deal brought Howard from southwest Missouri to Lubbock in 1990.

He sits on the board of directors for the Lubbock Restaurant Association, University Medical Center, and LakeRidge Country Club.

"I like being involved with the community and I believe in good programs, especially for young families and people that have sick kids," Howard said. "I'm involved with a number of charities in this area. I try to help out wherever I can."

For the past eight years, Howard has helped raise more than $ 150,000 for the Children's Miracle Network through his annual golf tournament, he said.

"Kendall has a big heart," said Sandy Ogletree, executive director of the UMC Foundation. "This has been an extremely successful fundraiser, and the Buffalo Wild Wings organization has really done so much for us."

Howard owns the rights to the Austin-based Mama Fu's chain for all of Northwest Texas and San Antonio, a business move Mama Fu's is glad to have made, according to Randy Murphy, president and CEO of the company.

"First and foremost, Kendall is a proven businessman and a restaurateur, with us, Buffalo Wild Wings, Las Brisas and Sonic," he said. "Above the experience, Kendall was really important ... because he shares our vision of how to build a market, and the West Texas market is a run, not a sprint."

Feedback from Howard has helped change the Mama Fu's brand at all location, said Murphy. One of his ideas was to only allow loyalty customers to access the restaurant's "hidden menu." He has also been essential in polishing operational, efficiency and marketing plans.

"Kendall is always coming up with good ideas," Murphy said. "It is always good and refreshing input for us, as operators. He's done a great job."

Other than being far enough from the original Lubbock store on 82nd Street near University Avenue, Mama Fu's second location on 19th Street and Quaker Avenue was chosen because of its proximity to university campuses, the medical industry and because the demographics of the area match the company's core customer profile.

"Core customers are determined based on purchasing behavior; it is simply a profile of what somebody buys," said Murphy.

Qualities of those customers are people who like Asian and gourmet food, are big adopters of technology, purchase items related to sports, online, or healthy activities, often have kids, and are generally on the go and mobile, Murphy said. The company has developed many of its services around this type of clientele by creating a kids menu and a quick take-out option.

Howard said, "There are not a whole lot of other restaurants in this area who are a Pan-Asian type restaurant. Mama Fu's is kind of an Asian concept with an L.A. look."

Howard began his business career in the restaurant industry, but has created companies in other areas including construction, maintenance, vending and oil and gas.

"I like the restaurant industry, but it is important in business, as you grow, not to put all of your eggs in one basket and to diversify as much as possible," he said.

"Our construction company really came about as a result of us building so many restaurants. We found that we could save money by starting a construction company and we could schedule them out whenever we needed them. Our maintenance company came down to the fact that we have so many restaurants that it makes sense to own our own maintenance company because they can go out work on our equipment. When something goes down they can just go out and fix it. ... The construction company keeps growing and some day we will contract them out to other people, but for right now we keep them pretty busy with our stuff, "he said.

He calls this technique a linear approach to business.

Despite that Howard has launched successful businesses across the nation, he plans to continue growing new ventures in the Lubbock market.

"We will keep developing in Lubbock for a number of years," he said.

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