Beerhead Bar & Eatery


Beerhead Bar & Eatery shares its co-founders’ passion for craft beer

and spirits through its franchising efforts.

By Jim Harris, Knighthouse Media

Beerhead Bar & Eatery’s founders are not difficult to find when one of its locations needs help. “We are an ideal option for budding franchisees because we have so much direct contact with each individual franchisee,” says Co-owner Greg Goodrich, who co-founded the company in 2012 with longtime friend Pasquale “Pat” D’Onofrio. “We personally walk each franchisee through the process and help them replicate what we’ve created in each of our stores – an authentic American craft beer and cocktail bar experience with great food – that sets us apart from other brands.”

Goodrich and D’Onofrio assist new franchisees in every aspect of franchising and opening new Beerhead locations including understanding the franchise agreement, site selection, lease negotiations, hiring and training, operational procedures and financial management. After a new location opens, Beerhead’s co-founders continue to meet with owners and managers directly to share their experience and information.Beerhead info box

“All of our franchisees have our cell phone numbers so they can call us directly – many brands can’t do that because they’re too big,” he adds. “We’re there for every piece of the puzzle.”

Community Partners

Goodrich and D’Onofrio opened the first Beerhead location in May 2012 in Vernon Hills, Ill., under the name The Beer Market. The concept specializes in offering a curated menu of American craft beer and wine, growing to add spirits and food, all in an inviting atmosphere that showcases local acoustic live music acts on premise. Locations offer approximately 500 brands of beer at any given time, with a focus on local and regional brands.

The concept rebranded two years ago to its present Beerhead model after it added a menu of what Goodrich terms “upscale pub food,” which includes pizzas, specialty sandwiches, and healthier options like avocado toast and salads. The rebrand included a refresh of the brand’s look and feel in addition to the expanded food offerings.

Each location offers a menu of food items that have specially developed and thoroughly tested by Beerhead. The co-founders also allow for the flexibility to offer local  options. The company encourages its franchisees to establish close connections with the communities in which they reside.

“We have gone to great lengths to have a local presence, even though we are a multi-unit brand,” Goodrich says. “Our franchisees connect with the community. Our locations don’t feel like a bland, scripted franchise, instead they are a compilation of unique, local bars sharing the same overall vision and operational standards.”

“We create the structure and the box within which our franchisees work, but we are flexible on what they offer and we help them create food items that fit their market,” he adds. “We give them guidelines, standards and our lessons learned, but our franchisees do more than just follow a script. We create processes, but allow flexibility for them to thrive within their own markets.”

Steady Growth

Goodrich and D’Onofrio began franchising the concept in late 2015. “We spent the first four years really refining our concept and opening in different types of venues to nail down what works. Then, we worked on our internal operations and standards and made sure we can replicate them,” Goodrich says. 

“We think we have a really awesome concept, and now we want to grow,” he adds. “The most efficient way to do that is through franchising.”

Beerhead now has seven locations, with an eighth site opening in July in Novi, Mich. The newest franchise location, in Schaumburg, Ill., was rebranded from The Beer Market and sold to a franchisee in February 2018. In the same month, this store was among the top 10 searched craft beer bars in the world on Untappd, a social media platform used to find and rate craft beer, Goodrich says. 

Four additional stores are in the works, including a location across the street from Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs. “We are steadily growing our franchise portfolio while focusing on building, branding and managing our concept,” Goodrich says.

An Authentic Brand

All of Beerhead’s franchisees share a common passion for business. “We look for someone who can handle all of the different aspects of owning their own business and be a hands-on owner, not just an investor,” Goodrich says. “We want someone who will take an active role and have the motivation to grow with us to become multi-unit operators.”

The founders expect to open three to five new Beerhead locations during the next two years. “We turn down a lot more prospects than we pursue – we are picky about who represents us and we want to make sure they thoroughly understand our concept and brand,” Goodrich says. “We want to be known for the authentic American craft beer experience that we are; every time someone comes in to one of our locations, they can learn something new about craft beer or spirits.” 


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