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Two Brides and Muscle Maker Grill

ericaarticlepic1It’s that time of year again my friends – the time when we really get a good look at our winter hibernation habits and try to figure out ways to make some changes!! In these days of quick fixes and healthy alternatives – there is one sure way to help you make better choices when eating out. New brides Erica St. John and Lynsey Heathcote are bringing Muscle Maker Grill to Glen Ellyn – and they want you to come in and taste what the buzz is all about!!

Before I dive into the business end of things – my curious little mind wanted to know how these two amazing women met:

Erica and I met in October 2009. Her sister and my friend (who happen to be sister in laws) thought we should meet and we all went out together for Thai food on a Friday night. A second date alone at Top Golf on Saturday, followed by a dog walking date on Sunday and we have pretty much been inseparable since then!  They still like to take credit for hooking us up and they remind us often that they are the reason we are so happy!

I wanted to know more about Muscle Maker Grill and asked Erica to share some information:

Muscle-Maker-Grill-logoMuscle Maker Grill (MMG) is a fast, casual, quick serve restaurant that offers people a nutritious alternative to fast food. Unlike many restaurants that make healthy claims, MMG does not sacrifice taste to serve healthy options. We pride ourselves on creating healthier versions of your favorite foods that taste great, making it easy and enjoyable to eat healthy. In addition, we cater to all different types of healthy eating lifestyles. Over the past 18 years MMG has created a menu that satisfies everyone from vegetarians to the carb-free consumer to people following a gluten-free diet. We have created a friendly, relaxed, and social environment where people can enjoy great tasting food, learn about healthy eating and engage with other customers.

It seems the menu really has something for everyone and I asked the ladies what demographic they were hoping to attract:

We hope to attract a wide variety of people but generally those who are interested in healthy eating. Through our marketing we are already primarily drawing the attention of those who work out. From yoga enthusiasts, boot campers, hard core power lifters, high school and college athletes, runners etc. We are also finding that the every day business owners and workers in the area at the bank, the salon, retail stores etc. are just as excited to have a healthy alternative for lunch. We want to please everyone and we believe that there is something for everyone on our eclectic menu.

I asked Lynsey how she and Erica took the leap into owning their own Muscle Maker Grill Franchise:
mmg_saladErica had always talked about a restaurant she used to eat at years ago and how she loved it. We stumbled across a Groupon for Muscle Maker Grill and it sounded like the place Erica talked about. We went there, loved it, realized it was a franchise and the rest is history. Erica has been in retail management for 20+ years – so we decided it was time to work that hard for ourselves!  It wasn’t necessarily our lifelong dream. Just an opportunity that seemed right and one which we couldn’t afford to miss out on.

So many people wonder what it would be like to work with the woman you are married to, so I asked Lynsey about the dynamic of working with Erica everyday:

We aren’t finding it hard to build this business together, in fact the opposite. We have each taken on separate roles to make sure we get everything accomplished, but dinner every night is like a business meeting so we can update each other on our daily progress. We each have different strengths to bring to the table but are also a good sounding board when we need to know we’re making the right decision or heading in the right direction. There have definitely been ups and downs with the lease, construction delays, village permits and inspections and so on but we celebrate the steps forward and climb over the obstacles together to make sure we stay focused and positive everyday.

Getting a new business up and running takes so much time and energy – I had to ask what Erica and Lynsey do in their free time:

Yeah, what free time?  In our free time we love to spend time at home with our three dogs, cooking and working on home improvement projects.  We also enjoy our time with Organized Chaos Chicago doing rides and charitable events and we know it’s going to be difficult to sacrifice some riding events while we build the business. We plan to support each other and back each other up so we can each still find time to relax and do what we enjoy.

Muscle Maker Grill will be opening this May. This is only the second location in Illinois and you can check them out on line to learn more at www.musclemakergrill.com.

Erica and Lynsey will be the proud franchise owners at 430 Roosevelt Road in Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 – 630/790-0000.

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About K. Guzman

Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.

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