The story of Loop Pizza Grill is more than a tale about hamburgers, pizzas and salads. It's a story of determination, hard work, commitment to quality and being true to one's self.
In 1973, in Jacksonville, Florida, a small, unassuming bar and grill called Applejacks was packing in the crowds for tasty food, good times and live rock n' roll and blues. By 1980, the place was so successful it gave Applejacks owners Mike and Terry Schneider the brilliant idea to open a second location.
Well, maybe it wasn't such a great idea.
After heavily borrowing from the bank and close friends. Mike and Terry realized the hard way that, what works in one part of town, won't necessarily work in another. Suddenly Mike and Terry went from promoting the blues to singing them.
The second Applejacks closed. The couple was left with lots of restaurant equipment and lots of anxiety. Financial ruin seemed unavoidable unless they could come up with an idea that, this time, truly was brilliant.
They did. Refusing to accept defeat and bankruptcy as an option. Terry and Mike dreamed up a new restaurant. The atmosphere would be upscale yet casual. Meals would be served quickly but food quality and dining experience would be second to none. Customers would be treated like family and instead of paper plates and plastic utensils, real china and silverware would be used. It would combine the convenience of fast food with high quality ingredients and unforgettable flavor. They called the restaurant "The Loop" inspired by Terry's hometown of Chicago, where the financial district shares the same nickname.
The first Loop opened in 1981. It fared much better than the second Applejacks.
The second Loop opened in 1987, the third in 1988 and in 1990, after opening four more restaurants, The Loop's franchise program was born. Today, there are 14 Loop Pizza Grills in two states.
"We still have this overwhelming sense of accomplishment," says Mike, "We're proud that we took a potential disaster, and through grace, luck, and hard work, built something successful."
"The key was that we simply asked, "What kind of restaurant would we like to take our family to?" We wanted a place where hungry kids and discriminating gourmets would both leave happy. We felt fast food was ready to tastefully evolve into something spectacular. The funny thing is, after all these years, those original hungry kids are now the discriminating gourmets. Knowing that The Loop is a place where families and friends return day after day and year after year to make memories and enjoy life, that's the best feeling of all," says Mike.
Loop customers would undoubtedly agree.