When Dustin Maquet opened Maquet’s Rail House in Pekin, Ill., he figured it would be a fun business to run on the side. Little did he know, the restaurant would become very popular—so popular that he decided to expand less than five years after opening their doors. Maquet explains how he went from working for a construction-equipment manufacturer to the owner of a successful restaurant.
What inspired you to get into foodservice?
“I lost my marbles, apparently. I was tired of going to the same locations in town. I was working as a parts and service sales rep at Caterpillar at the time, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go into business for myself. Timing was right, and I found a location that was suitable for the type or place I wanted to open.”
What do you love about your business?
“I love working with and around the public. I was born and raised in Pekin, Ill., and have lived here all of my life—other than a couple of years I spent living in Brussels, Belgium, while working for CAT.”
What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?
“I originally opened Maquet’s Rail House as a bar, with limited food. I had planned on keeping my job and doing this in addition, but the business took off very quickly and soon became too much to handle as a “second” job. Business exploded and we had to change and adapt very quickly. After being open for four years, I had the opportunity to purchase the building next door, which would allow me to have a larger kitchen, more cold storage and an Italian brick oven.”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
“Making the decision to expand and do so without shutting down during the entire construction process. Everything had to be preplanned and coordinated with the various contractors involved. When we were ready to open, we had everything in the new kitchen but the equipment which was wheeled over early in the morning of our opening day. Work then began on demo of the old kitchen, which is now a new men’s restroom. We managed to do all of this without ever closing a bathroom or any part of the restaurant.”
What Cambro products help make your business work?
“We use Cambro for almost all of our cold storage shelving as well as for our food storage requirements in the kitchen and pizza areas. Cambro stands behind their products and are purpose-built/designed. I believe they make the highest quality products that will stand the abuse of a busy restaurant. Their support has been second to none when compared with similar product providers.”
Links for Maquet’s
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.