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Farriss Branches Out From Just Equipment Sales

December 10, 2010 | Source: www.wilmingtonbiz.com

Bill Farriss sees the world differently than most. For Farriss, when he drives by a new restaurant, he does not have the typical excitement over a new cuisine option. He sees a new business opportunity.

Farriss owns and operates Farriss Hospitality, a restaurant and commercial kitchen company. Farriss can take four walls of a restaurant, design the greeting area, dining room, bar and kitchen, separating him from competition that looks to just sell kitchen equipment.

“We’re different in that we design restaurants,” Farriss said. “We go the extra mile in helping our customers.” “We try to take stress off the customer and make it easy for them. We feel that is what makes us so successful.”

Farriss, along with Amanda Bennett in his office, have helped more than 100 new restaurants open since 2005. He works throughout the area, and some of the company’s notable projects include Harbor Masters in Carolina Beach and the Nikki’s on Racine Drive in Wilmington.

Besides an eye for design, the Farriss team differentiates from the competition by offering guidance through the rigorous permitting process new restaurants must undergo.

“We understand codes,” Farriss said, adding that he is in the New Hanover County health department offices usually once a week helping new clients through inspection. Farriss also has a unique knowledge of fire codes, citing his work on the Kure Beach Volunteer Fire Department in helping him understand the regulations.

“We understand the mechanics, we do a lot more than just sell the equipment.”
The results show that Farriss Hospitality is doing things right. Since the company opened in 2005, business has steadily increased by about 15 percent annually. Farriss worked for 11 years at a national restaurant equipment company before moving back to the Wilmington area.

Jody Carmichael, the owner of the Hot Pink Cake Stand worked with Farriss Hospitality to open her boutique cupcake operation. Her search for the right location took six months, and Farriss helped look at all the different sites. “He was very patient,” she said.

Farriss is also working hard to expand his business. He has worked with many area churches to upfit their kitchens. The projects can be daunting as many churches need to provide food for hundreds of parishioners at a time. In addition to churches, Farriss is working on a retirement home project now for the Lutheran church that is one of his larger jobs, all the while helping new restaurants open and operate.

The company is developing a website and considering a broader marketing campaign, but for now Farriss is pleased with the new business he gets from referrals and word-of-mouth.

“We pay attention to detail, that is the key to our business,” Farriss said. “Too many people just want to sell equipment. It’s a lot of fun in this industry, I enjoy taking four walls and designing something. Not only do we have fun, but the restaurants become a profit center.”