Calling all burger fans with Aug. 27 birthdays! Tom & Eddie’s is turning one-year-old on Aug. 27 and anyone who shares the Aug. 27 birthday is invited to Tom & Eddie’s to celebrate with a free meal. In addition, the first nine birthday celebrants at each location will receive a very special gift - 27 free meals (burger, side, soft drink), redeemable in the months to come. Tom & Eddie's is located in Deerfield Square, 740 Waukegan Road (next to the Whole Foods).
Planning even more merriment, founders Tom Dentice and Ed Rensi are offering two Facebook contests:
- Sing Happy Birthday (Aug. 8 – 14)
Video yourself or a group creatively singing “Happy Birthday” to Tom & Eddie’s and post it on Tom & Eddie’s Facebook page. The video with the most “likes” wins a $250 gift card. Second place wins a $100 gift card. Tom & Ed will choose their favorite video for a special surprise.
- Cutest Baby Contest (Aug. 22 – 28)
Parents of a baby born in 2010 or 2011 and who purchase a Kid’s Meal, will receive a free Tom & Eddie’s (baby-sized) T-shirt by requesting one from a manager (while supplies last). Take a photo of the cute kiddo in the T-shirt and place it on Tom & Eddie’s Facebook page. The photo with the most “likes” wins a Silver Spatula Award, good for a free weekly meal for an entire year.
“As we celebrate this exciting first year milestone,” Rensi said, “we are just days away from opening our fourth location in Vernon Hills.”
The founders knew opening four restaurants in the first year would be daunting, but the high 90s satisfaction ratings customers consistently give is proof that the meticulous planning paid off.
“Ed and I have been doing this for a few years,” Dentice said, referring to their combined 70 years experience with McDonald’s. “Although Tom & Eddie’s is different from McDonald’s, each of us learned a lot from our experience there.”
Dentice and Rensi’s top priority was, and remains, taste and flavor from mostly Natural or organic ingredients with a concentration on fresh. They also committed themselves to working with as many local vendors as possible such as Turano breads, Puckered Pickles, and Mustard Girl All Natural Mustard, all Chicago-based
A few things during the first year surprised these two hamburger veterans. Their customer base includes more families than they expected. Dentice thinks perhaps it’s Tom & Eddie’s strong support of local non-profit educational organizations. To date, Tom & Eddie’s donated more than $40,000 among the Culinary and Hospitality Center at College of DuPage, the Geneva Academic Foundation, the Batavia Foundation for Educational Excellence, and the Deerfield Education Foundation.
Once the family demographic was observed, Rensi purchased multiple quality wooden educational toys for each location rather than passing out a couple of crayons per kid.
“You see, it’s all about hospitality,” Rensi said. “From the décor to the toys to the menu, we put good taste in everything we do.”
“Something else surprised me,” said Dentice. “People get very excited that there’s a real Tom and Ed. Frankly it blew my mind! It seems to be an assumption that we’ve just invested but are not personally involved. Not true! Ed and I really do work in the restaurants every day. We bus, we serve, and we talk to customers. I think it makes people feel better that there are real people behind the restaurant, and that Ed and I care.”
Next year, Tom & Ed would like to open another five restaurants including one or two in Chicago. They don’t anticipate changes in the winning menu, but they are thinking of more limited time offers. In the meantime, Dentice and Rensi will continue their homemade sauces, concentration on fresh and local, “No tipping” policy, green packaging, and going the extra mile for customers.
“Two things differentiate us,” Rensi said. “We focus on high quality ingredients with a strong emphasis on Natural and local. That’s one. The other is our hospitality. Frankly, the entire organization powers us up, and it’s energizing. It’s like having a party every day. I am reminded of the phrase: ‘The work of children is play; the play of adults is work.’ We want to build a lot of restaurants. It’s a rebirth every time, and it’s thrilling.”
For more information, call 847-948-5117 or visit: http://www.tomandeddies.com or http://www.facebook.com/TomandEddies