In 2009, Hops n Drops — formerly known as Hop Jacks — opened in Bonney Lake as a family gathering place with icy cocktails and an inventive array of comfort food. At the time, Kevin Eggen was nearing the end of his time at Central Washington University. Growing up, Eggen, the son of Hops n Drops founder Mark Eggen, imagined himself becoming a math teacher and coaching sports at a local school.
When his dad asked him whether he’d be interested in going into the restaurant business, however, Eggen decided to change course and set his sights on a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management.
Today, he’s the vice president of development and is at the helm of special projects, including the recent roll out of third-party delivery services such as Door Dash.
Hops n Drops now has 21 locations in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. Eggen said the company has its sights on organically growing to 65 locations, which will likely mean opening restaurants in two or three new states. As the legacy continues to expand, Eggen and the executive team look for ways to keep the small, family feel of the business.
“(As a company grows), you have to be more systems-driven,” Eggen said. “Once you start implementing systems, people think you’ve become more corporate, and you lose the connection with the team. … Recently, we implemented town hall meetings for our team members and a separate one for our general managers. (We ask), what’s getting in your way? What’s frustrating you? Can we help connect it to our purpose or challenge why are we doing it because it doesn’t make sense?”
The meetings have been eye-opening, said Eggen, who thrives on connecting and building relationships with people. We caught up with Eggen to experience a day in his life, and what it looks like to run an expanding restaurant chain with a small-business lens.
All photos courtesy Keven Eggen
First thing in the morning, I check my email. I’ve been waking up this early for about a year, so I can spend the rest of my day meeting people and building relationships.
This morning, I swam a mile in Lake Tapps. I like to get my workout out of the way, and I also feel like it clears my head and gives me energy for the day. I’m not a coffee guy, so that’s my way of getting up and getting the blood going.
A quick breakfast run at Haggen Northwest Fresh in Lakeland Hills. I love their breakfast burritos.
I meet with our executive chef Jeronimo Cisneros at our Smokey Point location, so we can take some new photos for our website.
Did you know you can get Hops n Drops delivered now? Today, I’m helping train one of our team members on how the Door Dash orders work.
A few months ago, our Frederickson location was still going through construction. It opened in mid-September, but prior to that, I did weekly site visits to check on progress and ensure everything was going smoothly.
Jeronimo and I stopped by our Lakewood location to discuss the third-party delivery services and construction, and then I met with our public relations director, Susie Bauer. I like having this face-to-face time to discuss projects that are swimming around in our minds.
Back at home with my family. It’s important to us that we always sit down and have dinner together.
Light-filled evenings would be a loss if we didn’t get out and play a little basketball.
Usually this is the only time my wife and I have a little quiet time to ourselves to catch up. We’ll typically watch TV or play cribbage to unwind from the day.