The newest hamburger shop in town doesn’t serve fast food.
At Jake’s Wayback Burgers, you’ll have to wait patiently for your hamburgers and shakes.
When your order is ready, there’s no calling your name. And there’s no calling a number.
They remember you from when you ordered, and they’ll bring your food to you.
Jake’s owner Tim Pascoe built a career at AAA, formerly the American Automobile Association. There, in California, he started as a claims adjuster and worked his way through lot inspector, supervisor, adjuster, and other titles until he saw the company “working toward call centers.” He and his wife Row (short for Rowena) decided to move to Colorado Springs, so they transferred here in 2004.
Row Pascoe retired in August, and her husband was laid off more than four years ago.
“I felt I worked my way up and worked hard,” Tim Pascoe said. “I thought you work hard, you get rewarded.”
Eventually, after 19 years at AAA, Tim Pascoe felt like he “worked his way out” when he got laid off in 2008. With his wife still working, Tim Pascoe spent most of his time since then preparing to open the restaurant.
The Pascoes wanted to “control their own destiny,” he said, so they looked to open their own business.
Tim Pascoe prides himself as having an entrepreneurial spirit. On his 10th birthday, he says, his father gave him a lawn mower, so he hustled out to earn money mowing lawns. He had a painting business, which he pursued throughout his college years.
“The food industry is what I did in high school and college,” he said.
A few restaurants caught their eyes, including Zelda’s Pizza in Sacramento, Togo’s sandwich shop and In-N-Out Burger.
They settled on a chain called Jake’s, which started in the early 1990s in Delaware, and the company representative called them right back when he inquired. After signing the franchise documents in July 2009, “whatever could have gone wrong, did,” Tim Pascoe said.
A previous potential landlord went bankrupt, leaving the Pascoes’ equipment inside the building. They did not qualify for Small Business Administration loans.
They experienced multiple construction delays and loan delays, in addition to going to court for their equipment.
“Finally, we started looking for another location last September and we landed here in May,” Tim Pascoe said.
It’s a tricky site, on the southeast quadrant of Woodmen Road and North Academy Boulevard in the Woodmen Shopping Center by Hobby Lobby.
“The drive was to open it up,” Row Pascoe said. “Hurdle after hurdle, I kept saying, ‘Let’s open it up. Just make it happen’ ”
The Pascoes advise other people who want to open their own business to assume everything will go wrong and then plan for that.
“Get your networking out before you open the business. Make sure you get the word out before you open the business so you have customers coming in immediately,” Row Pascoe said, offering advice.
And have plenty of perseverance, she said.
Row Pascoe said when she retired from AAA, she “wanted a slower pace in life,” she said laughing. “So I came here.”
But “this is a different kind of busy,” she said. “This isn’t the telephone. This is seeing faces of people enjoying the meal, asking what do they like about it.”
Tim Pascoe immediately took to the franchise’s way of dealing with the customers, including not calling out a number when the order is finished.
“I tried all the food. I loved all the food,” prior to signing the franchise agreement. “It’s fresh.”
Jake’s also becomes involved in community efforts. In the restaurant is a large tub filled with toys. The toys are being collected and will be donated to the Memorial Hospital children’s toy drive.
Customers can place their orders online so the burgers will be ready when they arrive, he added.
“We’re not fast food. We’re fast casual,” Row Pascoe said. “You’re going to wait for your hamburger. We make everything fresh when it’s ordered.”
“It’s good quality food,” Tim Pascoe said. “It’s not about volume and quantity; it’s about quality.”
The Pascoes said they will eventually add beer and wine to the menu.
The restaurant chain now has 75 locations, most along the East Coast, having started in 1991 in Newark, Del. The Pascoes’ restaurant was the 14th franchise.
The restaurant features hamburgers such as the Cheeeesy Burger, with two meat patties and four slices of cheese. Also available are turkey burger, veggie burgers, salads and hot dogs.
Tim Pascoe said the meat is never frozen.
One signature item is the Triple Triple Burger. The Triple Triple has nine beef patties with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.
“We had one of those today,” Row Pascoe said. “He ate it in 10 minutes.”
Friends will challenge each other to see who can eat the burger faster, she added.
“We make really good onion rings too.”
Other signature items include the milkshakes with their monthly flavor of the month (during December, that has been the egg nog milkshake).
The Pascoes are also proud of the crew they’ve hired. Without intentionally doing so, they hired one youth from three different high schools in the area. They have all ethnicities, age groups and genders represented.
Info: 6964 N. Academy Blvd., 266-5253
In business: Since Nov. 21
Number of employees: 18