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What kind of food can you get at a car wash? It seems like a bizarre question, but not for inquisitive patrons at Eugene MO’s Grub & Scrub (G&S) – a business which houses both a restaurant featuring Cajun menu staples plus an on-site 3-Bay car wash. On the long stretch of MO’s I-54 to make the journey from the State’s capital Jefferson City to the must-see Missouri destination The Lake of the Ozarks, there isn’t much to write home about. For the most part, drivers who embark on this journey have a long track of lonely road ahead of them – with a vehicle spotted with Missouri’s natural pollen and dust along with an empty belly.
These patrons often pass by the G&S building on I-54 and are caught by the sight of the only wash in 15 miles. Upon further inspection, they see that it’s not just a car wash – but also a place to grab a bite to eat! According to Grub & Scrub employee Cierra, one of the things she hears most often when patrons enter the business is “what kind of food can you get at a car wash?” to which she replies “come and find out!”
While the restaurant features many different options for your meal like burgers, sandwiches, fried chicken, ice cream, and appetizers, the menu shines brightest in the Cajun section – which features southern delicacies such as shrimp, jambalaya, crab, gumbo, and etouffee. This may seem like a rather unorthodox business plan, but it all spawned from a simple whim: provide members of the community with a supplement to their needs. Through this process, owner Shawn Dworaczyk experienced first-hand what it was like to go through the entire car wash process from the planning phase, to finding a distributor, to morphing his business along the way and reaping the rewards for his success.
The undertaking began when Shawn and others in the community continued to be frustrated with an inferior wash location in their area. Prior to G&S’ conception, the only wash in the area was a neglected Self-Serve bay – a worn-down building with obsolete equipment caked in dirt and grime. It was then that Shawn saw an opportunity to bring clean vehicles to the central point between the State’s Capital and Lakeside tourist destination.
The first step of this, of course, is to decide on the right equipment. As Shawn traveled in his search by experiencing various wash systems first-hand, one equipment system caught his attention by doing an absolutely stellar job. It was then Shawn decided to equip his new project with an IQ Touch-Free machine from D&S Car Wash Equipment Company.
Shawn’s next step was to establish connections, where he met with D&S Distributor Brian Templeton of Supreme Car Wash Systems. From there, Brian and Shawn worked together to lay out exactly what the wash was going to be. At first, Shawn’s vision simply portrayed a car wash. As the project grew, Shawn’s love of cooking tempted him to expand his idea. Shawn recollected “At first, I just wanted to serve hot dogs and burgers as a small side attraction – something for people to be able to sit down and eat.”
As the project continued to expand, as did the menu. “It started with just a few of my favorite foods, and I just kept adding on to the menu. I figured since I travel to New Orleans a lot, I could bring authentic Cajun food to Mid-Missouri.” And so he did, crafting a Cajun section of the menu dedicated to bringing fresh seafood from the bayou all the way to the small, unincorporated, Boone county area – which seems like a perfect thematic fit for a car wash given the common link of water between a car wash and seafood.
Two Birds with One Stone
This unique business plan of providing a community with multiple different needs at once is what made the difference for Shawn, as the popularity of the site was plainly evident upon opening. Shawn explains “The restaurant was open first, and people liked the food a lot – but we would always hear people ask ‘when’s the car wash opening?’ or ‘when can i get a car wash?’.
When it did, it was an immediate hit. From our opening in April , we were packed all the way until October .” The success of the site is no secret, as it is truly a one-of-a-kind business plan which caters to two different needs of the community – a place to wash your car and a place to sit down and have a good meal: both missions at which the business excels.
Coupled with the state-of-the-art IQ Touch-Free, which provides a customized 3D ultrasonic scan for each vehicle that passes through the bay and provides a wash tailor-made to that vehicle, Shawn’s desire to bring authentic Cajun food to the site lends a culinary outlet otherwise unavailable in the area. As an avid seafood fan, this marketing communications specialist decided to test his palette on the grub side of Grub & Scrub during his visit and was not disappointed.
A bowl of the Cajun Seafood Etouffee (pronounced Eh-Too-Fay) was my dish of choice – which contained shrimp, crawfish, and rice sauteed with the cajun trinity served with bread. In a sentence, it was simply delicious – and on a more personal note, my wife shares the sentiment after trying the leftovers I brought home that evening. This pairing of outstanding food and a great car wash supplements the business twofold and continues to fuel its success from both ends.
At the moment, things seem to be going great for Shawn, his family, and his team – but Shawn’s eyes are already set for the future and expansion. Shawn’s interest in D&S’ new IQ MAX equipment designed for large vehicles stems from yet another need in his life. Shawn owns a fleet of 53 Semi Truck Auto Haulers and a fleet of 10 Dump Trucks through another business under his ownership – S&S Auto Transport – and has become interwoven in the trucker community in the area – so he fully understands the desire for an automatic large vehicle wash for these individuals.
Shawn elaborates “The closest truck wash is in Kingdom City – about 45 minutes away. To drive all the way out there, sit in line for a potential 3 or so hours, then drive back – that’s about 5 or 6 hours just wasted. So much money lost in labor and simply cleaning the vehicle. Having this alternative solution closer to home would be huge.”
We look forward to seeing what the future holds in store for Shawn and the entire team at Grub & Scrub!
Shawn was assisted by Brian Templeton of Supreme Car Wash Systems, which supplies car wash equipment sales and service, replacement parts and chemicals, training and consultation for the Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas areas.
“Our goal is to help you build and operate a successful carwash business.”
Check out D&S Distributor Supreme Car Wash Systems here:
Supreme Car Wash Distributor (supremecarwashsystems.com)
And don’t forget to check out what makes the IQ System a cut above the rest!
In Bay Automatic Car Wash Systems – D&S Car Wash (dscarwash.com)