Even before Brad Burdsall graduated from the UNLV School of Hotel Administration in 1993, he knew that one day he would own a restaurant.
Fast forward 23 years and Burdsall owns not one restaurant, but a chain of six successful Egg Works and Egg &I Family Restaurants, a commercial kitchen and corporate headquarters. His company employs more than 300 employees.
“It was the perfect storm of a businessman with a passion for cooking,” Burdsall said of the success that this year earned him the federal Small Business Administration’s designation as Small Business Person of the Year in Nevada.
Not only did Burdsall pay attention in class, he kept learning and fine-tuning his business knowledge after receiving his college degree. While waiting tables at the Olive Garden and the Mirage coffee shop, Burdsall began developing his idea for the Egg Works brand. Later as a chef and manager at Macaroni Grill, he was working on a business plan for his own restaurant.
In 1998, with funds borrowed from his parents and uncle, Burdsall and his one-time partner purchased the Egg &I restaurant on West Sahara Avenue between Arville and Decatur.
By 2005, Burdsall was ready to expand. He took an SBA loan to purchase the land and build his third location on Rainbow and the 215 Beltway. “To me, from a business sense, using the real estate analogy, the SBA loan allowed me to move from being a renter to buying a home,” he said.
Burdsall said the key feature of an SBA loan is the borrower needing only a 10 percent down payment as opposed to a 30 percent with a conventional loan.
Ann Santiago of TMC Financing agrees. Santiago’s company is an SBA-certified development company that puts together SBA commercial real estate loans.
“If you have a $1 million loan and only need to put 10 percent down, then you can save $200,000 in cash for working capital that does not have to go into the ground,” Santiago said.
Burdsall feels most budding businesses go about small business loans the wrong way. Going to the bank before the SBA often ends in the loan being rejected, ending the process, he said. Burdsall suggests using TMC Financing or another SBA-certified company to become prequalified, then letting that company pitch the package to the banks.
Burdsall had been working with Eric Colvin at Meadows Bank for his business account, so it was only natural that Meadows also processed his SBA loan. “We are one of the few banks in Las Vegas that specializes in SBA financing,” Colvin said. “Because we are a community bank without a lot of branch locations, we don’t require that a business bank with us to process an SBA loan.”
Burdsall has four SBA loans that helped him expand his business to three restaurant locations and purchase a 20,000-square-foot building on the corner of Cameron and Hacienda, which serves as a warehouse, commercial kitchen and corporate headquarters.
On April 30, Burdsall joined winners from all 50 states and U.S. territories in Washington, D.C. for the announcement of SBA’s National Small Businessperson of the Year. The applicants are judged based on the history of the company, their business plans, analysis of growth, and how they have overcome adversity.
The Egg Works chain, known for its homemade banana nut muffins, produces 2,500 muffins a day at its commercial kitchen. Along with the enormous number of eggs they purchase and store in a 1,500-square-foot refrigerator, pallets full of bananas are also ripening to perfect sweetness. In addition, Egg Works makes bulk batches of chili, corned beef hash, and other products that are distributed to the individual restaurants. This mass production allows for a consistent taste as well as highly discounted purchasing power.
To make his restaurants stand out from the competition, Burdsall also has developed his own brand of hot sauce, called “Habla Diablo,” along with a Bloody Mary mix, Hollandaise sauce, and 17 different spice blends that fill the dry storage area with a strong aroma.
The beauty of the business is that the restaurants are open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. which “gives me time to spend with my family.” Burdsall has been married to wife Catherine for 17 years, and together they have a 15-year-old daughter, Olivia, who is active in theater as an actress and singer, and 12-year-old son, Tyler, who is a level eight gymnast.
In addition to cooking, Burdsall’s passion is the collection of pinball machines – he has more than 40 — and riding quad bikes in the mountains with his family.