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Business Profile: MacPherson’s Pubs

  • Daniel Cloutier, president and CEO of both Scottish Mac Inc. and MacPherson’s Pubs LLC.
  • On the wall at Molly MacPherson’s Scottish Pub & Grill. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News)

who

Daniel Cloutier, president and CEO of both Scottish Mac Inc. and MacPherson’s Pubs. Scottish Mac is the parent company for MacPherson’s Pubs which consists of three pubs named Molly MacPherson’s Scottish Pub & Grill. Also he has a food truck.

address for the three pubs

311 W. Congress St., Savannah; 3742 U.S. Highway 17, Richmond Hill; 110 Towne Center Drive, Pooler.

family

Wife, Deborah Boulanger; son, Damien Wyatt who runs my pub in Richmond Hill. Son, Chris Boulanger runs my pub in Pooler. Son Cody Cloutier is assistant manager in Richmond Hill but he does work at all three pubs. Daughters Phoenix DeMark and Ellisa Boulanger live in New Hampshire.

pet

A dog named Willie McGuiness. He’s an Irish Wheaton terrier. He’s funny. He does anything he wants to do except what he’s supposed do. He’s Irish.

what do you do?

I do everything. My wife and I create the menus. My wife and I built all these bars.

what does the pub do?

Primarily food. It’s on my (business) card. “Where it’s more fun to eat in a pub than to drink in a restaurant.”

how he got the name

Molly MacPherson is my wife’s great-grandmother. Her photo is over the fireplace in every pub. The picture is from 1886-1887, She was from Nuntonmore, Scotland. And I’m Scottish, from outside of a Glasgow place called Dunune.

years in business

Molly MacPherson’s for 13 years. I’ve been in the pub business all my life. Forty years. It’s what I do.

employees

105. Everybody’s part-time except for my management — four people. We try to give (employees) as many hours as possible. The government regulations have restricted what we can do as an employer. I can’t afford to buy insurance for everybody. I’m a small company.

why are you successful?

We’re persistent. We offer a great product at a reasonable price. We try to stay true to our Scottish heritage. The food is Scottish — fish and chips, meat pies, Scotch eggs. They’re traditional Scottish.

(Also) we have the largest single malt (Scottish whiskey) collection on the East Coast — over 220 single malt whiskies.

what do they taste like?

The tastes all vary. There are five different regions of Scotland where the whiskies come from. Each whiskey has a distinctive flavor depending on how it ages.

how did you start the business?

My wife and I back in 2003 came to Savannah on holiday, on vacation. We liked it so much that we stayed. We decided it was a perfect place to open a pub. There were no other Scottish pubs in Savannah. (At the time) The Savannah Morning News wrote “The nerve of a Scotsman — to open a Scottish pub in an Irish town.” That was our best ad ever.

favorite quote

The quote on the back of our card, “Where it’s more fun to eat in a pub…”. It’s on our shirt, glasses, hot sauce, all kinds of stuff. The hot sauce is made by Georgia Land & Cattle Company based in Savannah. Proceeds from the sale of this hot sauce go to the tiny home project for homeless veterans.

best professional achievement

Probably Molly MacPherson’s. (I’ve owned five pubs. Two in New Hampshire.)

best personal achievement

My wife and my children.

future plans?

To pass the business on to my children. We’re going to retire and move to Scotland. (But) not for a little while, maybe a couple of years.

tips for other business operators

Don’t do this business.

People come to me all the time and tell me they want to open a bar or pub. It’s a 24-hour-a-day job, seven days a week. Because unlike other jobs, it just doesn’t end when you go home. I’m responsible for the people that work for me. I’m responsible for the liability of everyone who comes here. Clearly we’re responsible for ordering food, liquor, paying the bills. It seems to go on and on forever.

if the business owner insists on opening a pub, what would you tell him?

You have to be flexible. Change with the times and your environment. We change our menu twice a year. You have order different things to capture someone’s attention.

(Also) Just kind of have lots of money. Deborah and I started this business with about $3,000 and we literally do a little over $3 million a year. It’s a lot of work. Fortunately I have my sons.

things to avoid

Not being able to change. And avoid negativity in life. Stay positive about things you do. (Also) have a plan. We’ve stuck to our business plan. You can’t go into this business blind. … We’ve seen a lot of businesses in this city that haven’t lasted very long because they didn’t have a plan.

Our plan is very detailed…We looked at other places (to start Molly’s Downtown in Savannah) This was the original Lady & Son’s, Paula Deen’s restaurant. Every time I see her, she reminds me of how I started here.

why does Savannah work for you?

I think because it’s versatile. There’s a vast variety of other cultures here. There’s a huge population of Scottish and Irish people. There’s an organization called SAMS, the Scottish-American Militia Society. We do a lot with them. … And there’s the St. Andrew’s Society with is another Scottish society. … We sponsor a lot of things for them And SAMS holds its monthly meetings in the Richmond Hill pub.

(Also) Being able to carry a drink from bar to bar. The to-go cup was good for us. … Any place that offers bar-to-bar drinks is a good place to open a pub…The whole idea of the to-go cup is to move. You want people rotating. It’s good for business.

do you give a lot to nonprofits?

Yes. We give to the 200 Club which is an organization for police and firefighters, people that died in the line of duty. The 200 Club pays their mortgage, puts the kids through college. We do a lot of stuff but we don’t go around and brag about it.

what more do you do?

We sponsor a lot of golf tournaments for wounded warriors. A couple of years ago a girl was killed on I-16. Her mother was in the hospital..We raised money to pay for (the girl’s) funeral…We do a lot for the Humane Society. We do the dog carnival at Forsyth Park. We donate like $1,000. We donate to the Red Cross, Toys for Tots, events for the military. (He helped out during hurricanes Matthew and Irma.) We fed CEMA (Chatham County Emergency Management) this year…(Also) I bring food to food banks.

company mission statement

Our whole mission is to provide good food and drink at a reasonable price.

Contact numbers: Molly’s Downtown in Savannah, call (912) 239-9600

Molly’s in Richmond Hill, call (912) 459-9600

Molly’s in Pooler, call (912) 348-3200

Contact

Email address: daniel@macphersonspub.com

Food truck: foodtruck@macphersonspub.com

Website: www.macphersonspub.com

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