The white tent in front of The Gyro Shack on Main Street in downtown Boise was packed with people and surprisingly warm for a mid-November day. Vents pumped in hot air while patrons inched past the buffet, heaping gyro meat and ladling tzatziki onto soft pitas. The free gyros—more than 300 served—were part of a celebration for The Gyro Shack's new location.
The event was about more than a grand opening, though—it was to kick off the owners' plans for a multi-state franchise; to reflect on a partnership between the growing company and Create Common Good, a Boise-based nonprofit that provides foodservice training and job placement for people with barriers to employment; and solving Gyro Shack's hummus and tzatziki problem.
"We're helping [Create Common Good] achieve their mission and helping underprivileged people get training, and we're getting the sauces made correctly," said Gyro Shack Vice President Seth Brink.
He and his business partner, Gyro Shack President Doug Miller, bought the company from founder Gus Zaharioudakis in April 2015. Turning The Gyro Shack into a franchisable operation meant producing a high volume of sauces and condiments prepared in accordance with Zaharioudakis' recipes.
Shortly after purchasing The Gyro Shack, Miller stumbled across the answer while on a plane en route to a meeting with potential franchisees. A fellow passenger told him, "You really need to meet the lady I work for."
"The lady" was CCG CEO Tracy Hitchcock. After finalizing CCG's relationship with The Gyro Shack, her staff has produced up to 400 gallons of each sauce per month for the last four months—those numbers will increase as The Gyro Shack expands.
"We're willing to grow our crew right along with them," Hitchcock said.
Another Gyro Shack is set to open in Meridian in late December or January 2017. Miller and Brink expect to have 10 Treasure Valley locations in the next three years, and have awarded 25 franchises in North Idaho and Washington, but Boise will always be its home turf.
"Create Common Good is obviously local, and there aren't a lot of big franchises that come out of Boise. We're really proud of it," Miller said.