Author Topic: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet  (Read 2994 times)

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Offline Zing

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Over Labor Day Weekend 2013 the Shakey's in Warner Robins, GA changed their signs to Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet but promised to serve the same food, per a report in the Macon Telegraph and posts to several Facebook pages:

http://www.macon.com/2013/08/28/2633091/shakeys-pizza-in-warner-robins.html

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jimbos-Pizza-Buffet/443804692400301

https://www.facebook.com/joseph.kiefer1

Joseph Kiefer has posted that he is the General Manager of Jimbo's as of September 1st, 2013 so they apparently intend to continue operating the former franchise as an independent for the long haul. The news release states that they will also offer catfish, shrimp, and crab cakes.

Of course, we don't know if Shakey's refused to renew the franchise or if the owners simply determined there was no benefit to paying Shakey's franchise fee. Maybe they wanted the flexibility to add local favorites to the Shakey's set menu. Children now growing up in the Macon area have no idea the store at 785 North Houston Road in Warner Robins was part of a once nationwide chain.

Hopefully they had some of the genuine Shakey's ingredients analyzed by a lab so they could clone the recipes.


Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 03:27:23 PM »
Doesn't suprise me alot, since we saw the non-Shakeys flour that they were using... I guess another dagger in the heart of the Shakey's lover.
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Offline Tierial

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 03:09:49 PM »
I'm not sure how to take that, Jet_deck.  Are you intending to insult Jim? 

I grew up a mile from this Shakey's and I've eaten at Shakey's all over the country, from Hawaii, to California, to Washington, etc., etc. and I can tell you that the Shakey's buffet in Warner Robins was hands-down the best one at which I'd ever eaten.  His buffet included FAR more items than any other Shakey's I've ever eaten at and unlike a lot of other Shakey's, they were always happy to take special orders for the pizza buffet. 

The quality was fantastic, the people were great and food was always top notch.  The nicest thing about this particular Shakey's was they still use the old ovens...not the new convection ones...so the crust was always phenomenal.  This might account for using a different recipe.  Jim has also been there since 1974 so he may know of original recipes used before everything came prepackaged.

I live in Alaska now but my first stop coming in from the airport was always Shakey's to pick up a couple of pizza's on the way to see my Mom and my last stop out was to pick up a pizza to wrap in foil for the plane ride back.  I only get back there every 2-3 years but Jim knows me on sight and he always remembers my particular order and exactly how I want it.

At any rate, I got the call from one of my best friends and a fellow Shakey's fanatic who still lives nearby the day the news hit.  Long story short, Shakey's wanted Jim to 'modernize' the operation, which would have included completely refurbishing the restaurant -- something Jim can't afford to do.  He's managed to keep the prices competitive and the quality of his food high but it leaves him with very little profit.  He started working there in 1974 and bought the restaurant in 1984.  It's a shame that Shakey's decided to go this route with a loyal franchise owner...and for the record I far prefer the setting here than the new 'modern' Shakey's.  It was an icon in Warner Robins.

I don't have a clue whether or not he will still be using Shakey's recipes or ingredients or if the taste will be the same or not.  I'm sure either my buddy or my Mom will order a pizza some time in the next couple of weeks and I'll have an update as to whether or not it's changed.

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2013, 03:34:04 PM »
I think it's pretty clear what he was saying, and I think it's pretty clear that he was not trying to insult someone he knows nothing about. If anything, I'm willing to bet he has mixed feelings that include a bit of a "screw Shakey's" attitude, and that he would like to see Jimbo's succeed, especially if they offer food that's basically identical to Shakey's. Shakey's is a great example of what happens when corporations get way too greedy, and I don't think any of us feel bad seeing such greed go unrewarded. Although we'd probably all like to see Shakey's become what it once was (which I'm too young to have experienced), we also don't feel bad when someone like your buddy Jim tells them to screw off.

Best of luck to Jim. I'm sure he'll do great. If I'm ever in the area, I'll try to stop by.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2013, 06:08:51 PM »
I'm not sure how to take that, Jet_deck.  Are you intending to insult Jim? 


No.  You might want to read the rest of the Shakey's discussions that have occured over the years.
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Offline Zing

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2013, 01:46:59 PM »
Tierial,

I took Jet's comments to mean that he thought Shakey's was trying to get long-time franchisees who were still mixing their own ingredients to switch to pre-mixes, such as the dough, cheese, and sauce premixes that the corporate stores in California are using.

Thanks for reporting the local "word on the street" that Shakey's corporate flacks won't. What you have reported squares with what happened to the last two franchisees in Wisconsin, as noted in these old reports still on the web:

http://www.gazettextra.com/news/2008/feb/09/long-time-janesville-restaurant-will-close/

and

http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/45681967.html

which dates from about July, 2008. I have a video on my hard drive, only the third I ever downloaded, from the westallisnow website, which  had an interview with the owner of the West Allis (Milwaukee) store. He stated that Shakey's wouldn't let him run an all-day buffet anymore, so he closed the place down. That property is to this day still listed as available on real estate websites, such as:
http://www.judsonrealestate.com/PropertySearch/Details.aspx?mid=63&pageid=41&ListingGuid=ffae9f37-3d89-4c22-a334-571625f153e6


A similar story about the final closing of the Springfield, Illinois store, after it dropped the Shakey's franchise and went independent:

http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x2111991732/A-la-carte-Diamonds-Buffet-closing-today

If Shakey's wanted the Warner Robins franchisee to remodel the store, I don't think he could remain solvent. I did a desktop study on superpages.com to see how many other pizza joints were in a 3 mile radius, scrubbing the list for bad entries. Among chains, I count 2 Little Caesar's, 2 Pizza Huts, 2 Domino's, 2 Papa John's 1 Stevie B's Pizza Buffet, as well as 3 independents. Further out in Warner Robins, I count two more chains, Marco's and Mellow Mushroom as well as a few more mom-and-pops.

When I started trying to clone Shakey's Pizza, Warner Robins was the nearest location to where I lived. I never thought I would learn so much about why the chain fizzled out, and about how it is successful mostly in California. They may be forcing the remaining stores out to protect the brand in California. I can't remember the exact figure right now, but the owner of the new built-from-the-ground-up Shakey's in Auburn, Alabama spent over a million dollars. Consequently, very few new franchises are selling. Old locations, surrounded by industrial junk pizza chains, can't afford to upgrade. These old franchisees also can't get the prices for pies that a lot of locations in California are getting.

I recently found a classified newspaper ad in Google Books from a newspaper called the Daily Herald (city unknown) of October 15, 1972. The text reads:
Own your own Shakey's Pizza Parlor. $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 annual income possible from a well managed parlor. Become part of the 400-plus successful Shakey's Pizza Parlors. Investment of $18,000.00 to $35,000.00 cash. Franchises available in both Carolinas. If interested, send for free brochure." In includes a PO box number. Maybe one day someone will publish what the balance sheets of these franchises looked like starting in the early 80's.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 01:50:05 PM by Zing »

Offline Tierial

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2013, 03:56:52 PM »
I hoped so but wanted to be sure.  I agree, it's really sad to see a corporation force franchise owners into a corner.  Ironically, my buddy had just sent me this link in August:  http://marieletseat.com/2013/08/13/shakeys-pizza-warner-robins-ga/

It's amazing that her comment about hoping Shakey's never forces an update to the store was in line with how the locals felt about the location...just before they took such an action.

Your search was correct Zing...there are a plethora of very cheap pizza places in Warner Robins which offer sub-par pizza at rock bottom prices.  Unfortunately, that has resulted in most of the really great, private stores going out of business.  I'm too young to remember which ones were independents, chains and independent franchisees but I remember the names and tastes of the pizzas.  At one time, we had a lot of really great pizza places, including:  Solicito's, Pizza Inn, Pizza Villa, Pizza Casino, Mazzio's, Godfather's Pizza, My Father's Place,etc. 

When I was a kid, the original Godfather's Pizza in Warner Robins was great.  The cheese was wonderfully greasy (in a good way), the crust was rich, thick and buttery and the sauce was super-chunky with bits of tomato.  Normally I hate chicken on pizza but Mazzio's had an incredible pizza with a really thick, rich tomato sauce, onions, grilled chicken and Monteray Jack cheese that was superb.  My Father's Place is still around but I know they don't have the same pizza.  Back when they first opened, they used to offer a MASSIVE rectangular pizza.  I think it had 96 square pieces for $10 (keeping in mind this was back in the late 1980's); I know we could easily feed 7 college guys during an all-night gaming session and still have 1/3 of the pizza left.

All of them were great pizza places and unfortunately, all of them have gone the way of the dinosaur.  Shakey’s was the last remaining pizza place in town that hadn’t compromised on quality.  Personally, I’m amazed Jim was able to keep his pricing so competitive for so many years. 

I’ll give you guys an update on how the pizza tastes soon.  My buddy is waiting before he goes over to try the new setup on the off chance that Jim is trying to cycle through back stock from its days as Shakey’s so he can give me an accurate update on the taste. 

BTW – I haven’t been on the forum in a while…how’s the Shakey’s sauce recipe going?

Offline Zing

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2013, 05:46:27 PM »
As for my own sauce cloning efforts, I now realize that Super Dolce pizza sauce it too thick to spread properly on a Shakey's thin crust skin. I am trying different brands/types of fresh-pack pizza sauces.

Offline Tierial

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 03:02:22 PM »
*drum roll*  Both Mom and my buddy have been to Jimbo's.  They said everything is the same as when it was Shakey's...the pizza looks and tastes exactly the same.  I asked Rex to ask Jim whether or not he's mixing his own sauce and dough or buying from Shakey's but unfortunately Jim was already gone for the day.  But the good news is that the taste remains the same and the better news is I might be making a business trip down there at the end of the month and I can get my eat on.  :drool:

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2013, 01:55:37 AM »
So if he is no longer a franchise is he still able to buy the Shakey's premix or do you think he's making this himself?


Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2013, 03:31:12 PM »
So if he is no longer a franchise is he still able to buy the Shakey's premix or do you think he's making this himself?

My bet is that he is doing it himself. Unless the bag of HG flour (shown in the shakeys 2012 review) wasn't for pizza.
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Offline Tierial

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2014, 05:01:01 PM »
Quick update guys.  I finally got back to Georgia this past week.  I got in around 11 pm that night so Jimbo's was already closed BUT...Mom was nice enough to go over there just before closing and pick me up two large pizzas.

So here is what I can tell you.  The crust, cheese and toppings were identical to Shakey's everywhere I've ever been.  The sauce however was completely different from Shakey's and it is not the same sauce they were using before Shakey's became Jimbo's.

Several people commented in other posts on here that Shakey's pizza sauce had wine in it or tasted like it had wine in it.  I can tell you without hesitation that Jimbo's sauce tastes like it has wine in it.  I'm what's known as a 'super-taster' and I absolutely detest the taste of wine...I could definitely pick up the taste in the sauce.

With that being said, I suspect he's making his own sauce.  I know he has worked for Shakey's since the 1970's and back then they used to make everything in house.  The big question I have is whether or not he's making his own sauce from his own recipe or whether he's possibly using an original Shakey's recipe from the 1970's.

As a side note, I ate some the next day and the wine taste had mellowed out significantly.

If I can find out more, I'll be sure to post but as of now, I'm back in Alaska.

Offline Tierial

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2014, 04:03:04 PM »
So I was in GA a couple of weeks ago and actually had a chance to talk to Jim.

He confirmed that he is no longer buying anything from Shakey's...everything is completely from scratch.  The crust tastes exactly like Shakey's, as do the cheese and toppings.  My guess is he still buys the cheese and toppings from the same companies as before and he's always had the dough recipe.  The sauce definitely tastes different and more wine-y.

I did ask him about it and he gave me a roundabout answer about the Shakey's sauce from the 70's and what he makes.  He said that back in the 70's they made the sauce with 24 cans of tomatoes (I didn't think to ask the size of the cans or what type, i.e. crushed, etc. -- I was in a hurry and Jim was a bit cagey about answering), an equal amount of water and a big package of premade Shakey's seasoning.  He said each location was free to add additional ingredients to 'customize' their sauce -- which accounts for everyone remembering it a bit differently.  He said that he used to add a bottle of red wine and extra oregano to his.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Shakey's Warner Robins Drops Franchise; Becomes Jimbo's Pizza and Buffet
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2014, 04:22:16 PM »
Thanks for the update, and good to know we have a super taster on duty.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends