Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant is bringing the brand’s long-time general manager Max Stephenson to lead the new Chattanooga location, a move that owner Andy Marshall says is indicative of his company's excitement to expand into the Scenic City.
Mr. Stephenson oversaw six successful years of double-digit growth at Puckett’s in downtown Franklin, Tn., the longest-running restaurant within A. Marshall Family Foods Inc.
In the fall of 2014, the company announced its plans to open a Puckett’s location on the Tennessee Aquarium Plaza in the Riverfront District, with an opening slated for this spring. Mr. Stephenson will manage the restaurant’s daily operations, which includes a full-service eatery, a live music venue and a catering division.
“Max has proven to be an invaluable member of our team, and we hate to lose him in Franklin,” said Mr. Marshall. ”He’s become a cherished member of the community there, as he will in Chattanooga. Max grew up in Monteagle, so he’ll be a familiar face to many.”
Mr. Stephenson has nearly four decades of industry experience, and has served in every capacity during his time with Puckett’s, including kitchen duty. Over the years, he has witnessed the small grocery store grow into a nationally celebrated business, and a brand that has expanded into four counties and added several spin-off concepts.
Though it was a hard decision to pull Mr. Stephenson from Franklin, A. Marshall Family Foods Director of Operations Claire Marshall Crowell says they recognized that his dedication to the brand and zeal for community positioned him as the perfect candidate to help Puckett’s enter the Chattanooga market.
“When hiring within the company, we always look for individuals with Max’s characteristics: he has a servant’s heart and a never-met-a-stranger personality. He wholeheartedly invests into his work and takes great pride in it,” Ms. Crowell said. “The Puckett’s brand is built on community and service, and we want to make sure we exemplify that in the way we do business in Chattanooga.”
During his tenure as the Puckett’s Franklin general manager, Mr. Stephenson became one of the most familiar faces around its Main Street by way of his volunteer efforts and the restaurant’s local involvement. He attributes that to Puckett’s commitment to the community.
“I can say without hesitation, this is the best company I have ever worked for. They give and they give,” Mr. Stephenson said. “It’s rare to see an owner get so physically involved, but with the Marshall family everyone dives in. They make you a part of the family, and it is so rewarding to work with them.”
Puckett’s Chattanooga, at Aquarium Way, is renovating its 6,750-square-foot space. The restaurant will employ approximately 70 associates in Chattanooga, and will begin building out the staff in the coming weeks.
In 2014, A. Marshall Family Foods was listed on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies, and the Puckett’s restaurants have been recognized in local communities for everything from best barbecue and meat ‘n’ three to best live music venue and best place to work.