Bryan Fyock loves meatballs. Like, really loves them. Not only did he start a meatball-centric restaurant called The Ball Joint, but he founded it with a BALL-osophy and launched its website at IWantBalls.com. As he prepares to open The Ball Joint this week in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Fyock shared with us a bit about his "balls- to-the-wall" approach, how he came to open a meatball restaurant, and why he chose Change to help him do it.
Why did you start The Ball Joint?
Bryan: The Ball Joint idea came about on New Year's Eve 2008. I made homemade meatballs for a party, and people commented all night. Some suggested that I open a restaurant. I joked it off until the next morning when we were at breakfast. I told my friends that I believed one of the most important elements of owning a successful restaurant was to have a great concept.
Then it hit me. Why can't there be a restaurant with meatballs, or 'balls' in general as the concept? It grew from there. I realized that similar to Buffalo Wings, we could do all kinds of flavors of meatballs. Different meat, different sauces, vegetarian balls, subs, and it just kept going. I began to explore the concept by doing test meatball nights at a college apartment complex I managed. We did Meatball Mondays for about a year, perfecting the recipes and the concept. People loved it and the demand was more than we ever thought.
Initially, we were called 'The Spicy Meatball'. We expanded to do once-a-week meatballs nights at a local bar & grill. It was after losing my job in early 2011 that I decided to start the restaurant. I realized that I did not want to give someone else my life energy to fulfill their dreams, and have them also hold the power to turn my life upside-down whenever they decided, which they did. I wanted to be in control of the expenditure of my life energy, of my "art", and of my destiny. I did not want to "just get a job" like so many people said I should do. It has been 4 years of work, and sacrifice, but now The Ball Joint is a reality, and we are open for business! Besides, who wants to get a 'real' job when you can own your own business and have access to unlimited bacon?
What do you love most about launching your own restaurant?
Bryan: What I love most about launching my own restaurant is the moment that someone takes a bite of food, closes their eyes, and says, "Oh, my…yummmm!" My food is my art. I imagine it is much like a painter or a musician watching someone be moved by their work. I want people to be moved by my work. That is the deeper satisfaction of it. On the more practical side, I think it's all fun. The challenges, the planning, the teamwork, the problem-solving, the building of a brand and identity, and even getting to pick out decor is all fun in its own way. I truly love every aspect of it so far. We'll see how I feel after our first grease fire.
Why are you choosing Change to launch and run your business?
Bryan: We chose Change because it simply fit us best. Like David before going out to face the Giant, we tried on all the "armor" and none of it seemed to fit quite right. Most of it was just too big and heavy for us. Once we found Change, however, it was as if we had found our "five, smooth stones" with which we could slay the Giant. Our business manager, Emily, was up and running in minutes. Once we got our printers and cash drawer set up, it was under an hour before we were doing sales, printing receipts, and sending tickets to the kitchen.
On top of that, and perhaps most importantly, the Change staff is absolutely fantastic! Help and guidance has been there whenever we need it. We don't feel all alone on an island, lost and helpless. With Change we have all the power we need to run our business smoothly and efficiently, as well as keep meticulous track of our finances. The reports are great and help us figure out what we sell the most of, and what we might need to just take off the menu.
Overall, Change has been one of the things that has made our experience opening up The Ball Joint a good one. We couldn't encourage small businesses like ours enough to give Change a try in their establishment.