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Business Observer Friday, Jul. 28, 2017 1 year ago

Burgers to beers

A loss of a business partner and mentor caused a McDonald's franchisee to rethink his priorities. His new aim is to bring people together around beer.
by: Alicia Ceccarelli Contributing Writer

Tim Frederic can't recall a time in his life when McDonald's wasn't in the backdrop.

His father, Fred Frederic, started with McDonald's in the Los Angeles area when the younger Frederic was born. “My birth announcement was on a Big Mac,” says Frederic, now 39. “That's not a joke.”

His parents relocated to Sanibel Island when Tim Frederic was 11. They started franchising with McDonald's in the growing Cape Coral market in 1996.

In 2001, Tim Frederic partnered with his father. He helped expand the family holdings from three to nine McDonald's locations and advanced to director of operations. “I always speak highly of McDonald's,” he says. “It's an awesome business, and I've built great relationships there.”

But after Fred Frederic died at 73 from cancer in 2015, Tim Frederic sought a change. He sold his interests in the family McDonald's franchise operation. Now Frederic, along with childhood friend Jeff Burns, a Sanibel-Captiva developer, has a new project: A brewhouse concept that will function as a hub specifically for craft beers brewed in Fort Myers.

In June 2016, Frederic and Burns founded Marlins Property Holdings LLC and bought land in South Fort Myers at 5611-5631 Six Mile Commercial Court for $1.2 million. The plan for the site is to build a plaza with up to nine tenants, including the brewhouse, which the partners named Marlins Brewhouse.

Construction on the 14,665-square-foot building began in March and could be completed by the fall. Frederic declined to comment on discussions with potential tenants or the estimated the cost of the project.

The Marlins Brewhouse concept features beers tapped from several Fort Myers breweries as well as what Frederic calls “snowbird favorites” — domestics and craft beers in high-demand — and wine.

Frederic wants to incorporate tech elements into the brewhouse to engage with millennials. Ideas include a live camera feed to promote live music, a selfie picture area and a touch-screen menu system where patrons can click and learn about the breweries where their favorites originate with directions on how to get there. “It becomes a community based on locals,” says Frederic.

The upscale, modern fish-house design includes a Southwest Floridian-inspired beer garden where patrons can sit at community tables to eat and drink. Frederic believes his Florida beer garden is a first in Southwest Florida. Says Frederic: “I have not seen anything like it.”

Marlin's Brewhouse will offer a limited pub fare menu to complement the beer and wine, but Frederic says he wanted to find a restaurant brand to tie the two together. “I'm a restaurant guy. I understand operations, people, marketing, but as far as actually creating a menu from scratch, I'm not a chef,” says Frederic.

Burns and Frederic researched seven restaurant brands, and ultimately decided on an eco-friendly California-based chain, Chronic Tacos. “I wanted to bring something here that no one's ever heard of,” says Frederic.

Chronic Taco's has “a good online presence, great stories and the fit with our attitude of conservation,” says Frederic. A possible next move would be to duplicate the brewhouse concept in other brewery-dense cities such as Naples, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, says Frederic.

Frederic says his father's death turned out to be a tragic motivator. “At 50, I don't think I would have had the guts to make this move,” Frederic says. “At 39, I'm like, 'If I'm going to do whatever, the time is now.' I don't want to look back regretting it. You've got one life to live.”

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