Gyros in the Sky: How The Gyro Shack Solved Its Hummus, Tzatziki Problem With Create Common Good 

click to enlarge - Gyro Shack is offering free gyros at its downtown location for its grand opening party. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Gyro Shack is offering free gyros at its downtown location for its grand opening party.
It was on a plane that Create Common Good solved The Gyro Shack's hummus and tzatziki problem. Gyro Shack CEO Doug Miller was flying to meet potential franchisees when he met a Create Common Good employee who told him the Boise-based nonprofit had a kitchen that could make Greek sauces and condiments in the quantities—and with the homemade flavors—the up-and-coming franchise needed.

"She said, 'You really need to meet the lady I work for,'" Miller said.

"The lady" in question was CCG CEO Tracy Hitchcock. Her organization, which provides workforce training for people with barriers to employment, is now in the thick of brewing up hundreds of gallons of tzatziki and hummus each month. The Gyro Shack will cut the ribbon at its new Grove Plaza location Thursday, Nov. 17, inaugurating the brick-and-mortar eatery and celebrating four months of a fruitful, saucy, partnership between the fledgling franchise and Boise nonprofit.

"When [The Gyro Shack] first came to us, they were making it all in-house and struggling with consistency," said Hitchcock, adding that with CCG's kitchen cranking out the sauces, "we're probably at 400 gallons a month between the two products."

When Miller and Gyro Shack Vice President Seth Brink bought the business from owner Gus Zaharioudakis in April 2015, it was to leverage their years working with take-and-bake pizza joint Papa Murphy's to turn The Gyro Shack into a franchise. They discovered how difficult it was to reproduce key ingredients for their pita sandwiches—namely, tzatziki and hummus. They enlisted Zaharioudakis to help maintain the authenticity of their product.

"He made sure we stayed true to what it was we bought from him," Miller said.

Consistency and shelf life, however, remained a problem. That's where CCG came into the picture. The Gyro Shack needed a third-party supplier that could produce hummus and tzatziki consistently according to the founder's recipes. CCG now has a team of six to seven employees prepping, producing and packaging the sauces each week. Hitchcock said CCG is prepared to expand her nonprofit in step with its new client.

"We operate our production kitchen eight hours a day. We also recognize that we'll be growing with [The Gyro Shack], and that means we'll add some chefs or extend our days to keep up with demand," Hitchcock said.

The Thursday grand opening of The Gyro Shack on the Grove will include official pronouncements by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and others, as well as a free, catering-style gyro feast from 4-6 p.m. The event celebrates months of work put into the new location and building a supply chain to support the growing business.

According to Miller, another location for The Gyro Shack is under construction in Meridian, set to open in late December or early 2017. In the next three years, The Gyro Shack is on line to have a total of 10 locations in the Treasure Valley and has awarded 25 franchises to partners in Washington and North Idaho. Brink and Miller said Boise is an ideal place to begin their new business venture.

"We're about family, we're about Idaho and we're about Boise. Create Common Good is obviously local and there aren't a lot of big franchises that come out of Boise," Miller said. "We're really proud of it."
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