Part II: A Chat With Lee Roy Selmon

December 12th, 2009

Joe was treated this week to a man-to-legend chat with Hall of Famer and restaurateur Lee Roy Selmon, the former Bucs defensive end.

What an honor!

Below is Part II of the interview. If you missed Part I, you can check it out here.

Joe: You played on the winless inaugural 1976 Bucs team and the 2-12 club the following year. Can you offer a sense of what the current Bucs are going through?

Lee Roy Selmon: If you’ve ever worked hard at something in life over a period of time and the results are not what you expected them to be and the goal is totally out of reach, you get the perspective of the impact on the Bucs players and coaches right now. I think that’s the best way to have the average fan to understand it. …How you repond is important. I still see the Bucs putting out great effort. I look for that. That’s critical. That addressses your character. They’ve been addressing that real well, keeping positive and focusing on the next game as hard as it is.

Joe: What’s going to make these Bucs turn the corner and become winners? They’ve played better of late, but they haven’t figured out how to win.

Selmon: Winning in the NFL is a function of continued hard work and growth to the point where you’re making plays for success. Big plays. You can be a play or two away. Think back to the Bucs game in Atlanta, that was a one-play game that didn’t turn our way. …They must keep working hard toward another play here and another play there, and having someone stepping up to the highest level. …From what they’ve done in Atlanta and other games, take the postives toward that. They’re moving toward the right direction. …In 1978, we felt that something special was happening. We had one a few more games that year (5-11). We were so excited looking forward to that ’79 season. … We had grown to the point that we knew we could be successful.

Joe: So what got you into the restaurant business with Lee Roy Selmon’s. Is this a passion of yours?

Selmon: I’ve dibbled and dabbled in the food business for a long time. I had a had a bbq sauce for a while and my brother had a barbeque restaruant in Wichita, Kansas. …I met with the Outback steakhouse founders, and they were interested in parternering up together. We came up with the concept of Lee Roy Selmon’s. And we got it all started in 2000. …It’s been a wonderful learning experience. And I’m very excited about our future with six restaurants.

Joe:  A trip into a Lee Roy Selmon’s usually means standout service for the entire visit. It feels like it’s on a higher level than other establishments in its class. Does that focus on service come from you?

Selmon: It’s important to me personally and our partners and founders, as well. … Great food is important, but personally I pay very close attention to the care a staff provides when I’m out at a restaurant. My parents taught us that we’re no better than anyone else, and to treat everyone as best we can when we had visitors come into our home. I want to make sure that treatment moves forward in our business. … You have to enjoy serving people. We make a special effort to have our hospitality at the highest level. It’s a team effort in our establishments. That’s what I like to do, is partner up with managing partners and team members — cleanup crew, servers, bartenders, all of us are a team.  I like to shake the hands of customers and let them know how imprortant they are. … Our president Greg Lynn and our partners spend countless hours on our hospitality and our customers’ experience.

Joe: Lee Roy Selmon’s menu seems to be constantly evolving and has become a true sports-friendly atmosphere. Where is it going from here?

Selmon: We’re happy with the changes. You have to listen to your customers. Make sure they’re having a good experience every time they come in. We have lots of sports fans of all sports. It’s a great place to really watch a game. It’s a natural with me to be geared toward the casual sports fans but focused on the food. And the supreme quality of the food offerings is something we take great pride in. We continue to focus on our hospitality and the food quality. We’ve added some sliders and other items more attractive to casual sports fans yet maintaining our signature items. There’s something for everyone.

I want to take a quick moment to wish everone the best of everything for this holiday season and a Merry Christmas. We appreciate the support of our customers and look forward to them enjoying lunch or dinner with us. We’re very excited about some changes coming in 2010.

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