return to Dining > Food & Drink

Jul 2013  |  By Julie Chernoff  |  Comments

Be a Meathead and Go for the Gould

You probably don’t want to eat dinner at a fancy restaurant with Meatheads CEO Tom Jednorowicz (or Tom Jed, as he is known to all). 

But that’s only because he’s so obsessed with service that he worries it takes away from the experience for his dining companions.

“Even if it’s not my restaurant, I can’t sit still if there’s a table to be bussed or a customer looking around for help. It makes me crazy!” he says. Needless to say, I sympathize completely. Being an industry insider can have a direct correlation on the pleasure of the dining experience.

Obsession with Service

Certainly his obsession is to the public’s benefit. The focus on service is a “governor of growth. You can easily outpace your ability to execute,” Jednorowicz says. “I don’t have any interest in franchising; you lose control and end up eroding principles or quality.” So, accordingly, they are concentrating efforts on the Greater Chicagoland area.

Each store in the burgeoning empire (there are currently 11 Meatheads in Illinois, including the Northbrook location, with 4 more on the way) is dedicated to 5 key principles:

  • Offer the public a comfortable, family restaurant experience
  • Serve food that is fresh, natural and made to order (nothing is ever frozen)
  • Provide friendly, efficient service (fast-casual but full-service stores)
  • Keep immaculately clean restaurants
  • Ingrain themselves into the fabric of the community

That last tenet is clearly important to Tom Jed. Like some other restaurants, they offer fundraising opportunities with 10 percent on net sales going towards the school or religious group, team, charity or other nonprofit.

Going Above and Beyond

But they don’t stop there. In each Meathead community, they partner with local sports teams to encourage participation with “Meathead of the Game” award certificates; they join with educators and PTO/PTA organizations to recognize students’ positive behavior and dedication to learning; and they run a “Voracious Meatheads” reading rewards program “for kids who devour books.” All of the awards translate into free food for kids at their local Meatheads. This year, they hope to surpass the 60,000 kids that participated in 2012, aiming for an ambitious 100,000.

This summer will see the opening of two new Meatheads locations on the North Shore: Barrington (mid-July) and Lincolnwood (early September), the latter of which will be the first to be designed from the ground up. That’s 2 new communities that will benefit from Meatheads’ philanthropic efforts. 

Go for the Gould

Currently, Meatheads is partnering with Chicago Bears kicker and fan favorite Robbie Gould and his public charity, The Goulden Touch, which supports social services, health and wellness, education and medical research programs in Chicago.

So next time you visit Meatheads, order the Goulden Burger ($6.75), which will be available through August 31. It’s a 1/3-pound burger topped with Robbie’s favorites: bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, Ketchapotle and spicy Cajun fries. Ten percent of every sale will go to The Goulden Touch in partnership with Working in the Schools to help give away bags filled with books and educational materials to Chicago Public Schools kids. It’s an easy way to make it better for everyone in our community.

  • Bookmarks

Make It Better Foundation

Advertise with MIB