Breakfast Dads – Dean
Have you met Dean?
Dean is one of our hardest working franchisees. For the past 25 days, he’s been getting up at 4:30 a.m. to prepare breakfast for the Ottawa REDBLACKS football team. That’s breakfast for 125 people – from the players and coaches to their support staff – during the REDBLACKS Spring Training Camp. And he loves doing it.
“It’s a huge commitment; it’s a lot of work, early mornings, and long days, but the rewards outweigh all of that,” says Dean. They cook all of the food, including items such as sausages, bacon, home fries, turkey bacon, and yogurt at the Sunset Grill in Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, and wagon it over to the player’s lounge in the stadium at TD Place.
It’s a moment of great pride for Dean, especially because he’s always been a huge REDBLACKS fan. He was lucky enough to serve the team the breakfast of champions (quite literally) last season as well. He’s living the boyhood dream.
Dean has always been a franchise guy. For more than two decades he’s owned and operated various franchises, but he always dreamed of running his own breakfast joint. “I’ve always had a passion to have an all-day breakfast place,” he says. “What I liked about Sunset Grill was that it’s a one-shift operation. It’s breakfast, then you’re home. You can spend dinner with your kids, as a family man, and be home with your family every night.”
“[Sunset Grill] gives you that ability; that’s really cool.”
His two daughters, Sara, 18, and Emma, 16, along with his wife Suzanne, work at the restaurant with him. Sara is a server, Emma buses and works the front cash, and Suzanne helps out on game nights. “As a dad, because we’re a family restaurant and we cater to families, it’s nice to work with my kids,” he says. “I’m proud of them, we’re all proud of each other.”
He’s grateful to be able to work with his family. “If my manager has Sara scheduled to work with me, it truly makes me feel like this is going to be a great day,” he says excitedly. “I’m a lucky guy to be able to work with my daughter, and laugh, and joke, and have fun at work with her.”
He’s been operating our Ottawa Sunset Grill for just over two years, and he knows what it takes to succeed. “[You have to] stay focused, stay positive, and give outstanding customer service,” he explains. And his team delivers.
“All my staff, they work with me, not for me,” says Dean. “We’re all in it together, we just have different responsibilities. That’s always been my philosophy.” He works alongside his staff, mopping floors, cleaning tables, working the cash and greeting customers. The importance of being a team player is not lost on him.
“It’s not really work, it’s more like a place to feed people, and just hang out and have something to eat,” he laughs.
Dean attributes much of his success to the lessons he learned from his father. “My dad got me involved with getting self-employed in business and giving me good direction there,” he explains. “My dad taught me good business sense, and I feel like I’m passing that onto my kids, if they want to do that, be self-employed, or get into business for themselves.”
This Father’s Day is a special one for Dean because it’s also his dad’s 80th birthday. They plan to celebrate Saturday evening, as they’ll be working in the restaurant on Father’s Day. He has a close relationship with his parents. In fact, he talks to them every couple of days to see how they’re doing.
He’s equally as close with his own kids. “I’m a pretty sensitive dad,” he shares. “I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m very emotionally outspoken with my girls. I tell them I love them every day.”
When he’s not busy cooking up the breakfasts of champions, Dean likes to spend time up at his cottage in Pembroke with the family, out on the boat soaking up the sun. “Both of my kids are water advocates, they both swim like fish,” he laughs. Boating, tubing, and water skiing are a few of the family’s favourite pastimes.
Dean’s also a big sports guy. He’s a huge CFL buff (you might have guessed); he loves his REDBLACKS. He also loves hockey (Go Sens!) and enjoys downhill skiing and all kinds of water sports. You can even spot him at the occasional OneRepublic concert.
“Work hard to live, not live to work hard, right?”
The next time you stop by for breakfast or lunch at our Lansdowne Park, Ottawa Sunset Grill, be sure to say hi to Dean!
100 Marché Way,
Ottawa, ON, K1S 5J3
Monday to Friday 7 AM to 3 PM
Saturday & Sunday 7 AM to 3:30 PM