Chip Bair, founder and owner
What: Beau Jo's – http://www.beaujos.com
Size: 6 company-owned units, 2 licensed units
Concept: Colorado-style pizza
Volume: $11-12 million for all stores
Menu stand outs: Out of 37 specialty pizza pies, the Dude Ranch, with Kraft Ranch Dressing as its base, is the number-one selling pizza
Famous for: Its extensive gluten-free menu and its commitment to using green energy sources, as well as its Colorado Mountain Pies
Case Study: Beau Jo's
Shares Its Pizza Success
An operator shares his story.
See how Chip Bair fills 600 seats in a town with a population of only 1,800.
Chip Bair offered the option of whole-wheat crust long before it was hip to serve whole-wheat crust. He started posting nutritionals and allergen alerts on his menu well ahead of government mandates. Green is not a new color at Beau Jo's. And through all of his 40-plus years running this Colorado pizza concept, which he took over in 1973, Bair has expanded his business tremendously, now boasting seven units in Colorado and one in South Dakota. When he bought the first Beau Jo's, in Idaho Springs, Colorado, it seated 17. Now? Six hundred. With a population of a scant 1,800 or so, that's a huge percentage of folks choosing Beau Jo's.
Why do they flock there? A good bet is so they can enjoy Beau Jo's legendary Colorado Mountain Pies. A thicker style of pizza, Beau Jo's braids the edges, so they're built up. The shells are filled with sauce, toppings and then cheese. And the most popular Mountain Pie? The Dude Ranch.
What's so special about the Dude Ranch Pizza?
Beau Jo's Dude Ranch features a spread of Kraft Ranch Dressing over the thick dough. Slices of tender chicken, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes and smoked bacon sit atop the dressing. Shredded Monterey Jack and smoked provolone round out the profile. "The flavor combination is wonderful on this pizza," says Bair. "We strive to use the best products at Beau Jo's, so we went with Kraft's ranch. I don't even question the consistency and quality of the dressing." Heating ranch dressing in a pizza oven can bring challenges. " Kraft Ranch doesn't lose its flavor or texture, so we get a really great end-product," he says. Three other specialty pies rely on Kraft Ranch Dressing for their bases: Highland Mary (ranch dressing, black olives, Roma tomatoes, chicken, whole-milk mozzarella, Parmesan and basil); Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza (ranch dressing, ground beef, Roma tomatoes, red onion, mild cheddar and Monterey Jack); and the Green Chili Cheeseburger Pizza (ranch dressing, ground beef, Roma tomatoes, green chilies, red onion, Monterey Jack and mild cheddar).