The Duncan Banner


August 19, 2012

It’s about the neighborhood

DUNCAN — Paul Tauscher has been linked to the Applebee’s brand for nearly two decades. He has participated in 90 or so ribbon cuttings. But he had never attended a ground breaking.

Until last week. In Duncan.

Vice president and director of operations for Concord Hospitality, the successful Nebraska-based company with rights to the Oklahoma market, he joined Applebee’s executives Jody Murray, who oversees state Concord operations out of Ada, John McKinney, who will move here soon as general manager of the local restaurant, city officials and chamber leaders under a warm morning last week to officially launch construction of the new restaurant that will open here in November.

He liked it.

He liked it so much he told those in the crowd he and his associates have been humbled by Duncan’s support and hospitality, adding “we’ve felt like rock stars.”

That’s a good thing. It is the type of business friendly spirit needed for a community to survive in a sometimes difficult economy. It is the attitude needed to invite, to court and to welcome new businesses to town. And it is the frame of mind important to continue with businesses already here.

But when a high ranking official for a company whose reputation is based on hospitality tells you he liked what he saw and was impressed by what he felt, that’s a message not to be ignored.

Ground breaking ceremonies, he said, convinced him even more the decision to select Duncan was a good one and the sense of community already here matches the “being part of the neighborhood” concept so important to his company’s operation.

If he approached being almost giddy in his appraisal, he was as close to gushing in his praise for Chris Deal, president of the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a key cog in critical decisions that paved the path here.

“He’s one of the most helpful people with whom I’ve ever worked,” Tauscher said. “He was always polite, gracious and cooperative. He has been service minded and business friendly since our first meeting, so whenever I think of our Duncan restaurant, I’ll think of Chris.”

Other factors in the selection process were important, too.

He called Duncan a strategic site, explaining other Concord Applebee’s restaurants are already open in Ada, Altus, Ardmore and Lawton. Solid demographics remain positive here, he said. The community’s 25,000-population size fits Concord’s profile for success. Lack of casual dining competition was a plus. And the “phenomenal” traffic count on U.S. Highway 81 is impressive.

Concord founder Larry Bird had targeted Duncan earlier. All pieces of the puzzle didn’t fit then.

“I’ll never forget last February,” Tauscher said. “It was one of my first visits. Chris and I were sitting in a car on site, discussing options and possibilities. All the time we were talking, I kept watching the traffic go by. It was just incredible. We’re really pleased.”

A grand opening in November is planned.

“We want to be a neighborhood grill and bar,” he explained. “You can’t do that without a neighborhood, but after meeting the folks at our ground breaking, there is no doubt the neighborhood is already there.”

He says business meeting lunches, retirees lingering after a meal, afternoon coffee gatherings, wireless communication visits, post-golf beers and appetizers, football game viewing, ladies night out functions and late night happy hours expand lunch and dinner occasions.

Some restaurants have developed trivia and karaoke activities.

“All restaurants,” Tauscher continued, “develop their own personalities. Our options are unlimited. It will be fun to see what happens in Duncan.”

Online applications on the Concord web-site will be accepted soon. Some positions will be filled early, but six weeks before opening, interviews will be conducted here, probably at the adjacent Holiday Inn Express. Ten days before opening, new staff members will be trained by a corporate team.

Tauscher, who pushes McKinney and Murray as the “faces of Applebee’s and the people you’ll get to know,” expects the restaurant will earn and maintain a position of respect and success within the community.

“Competitors,” he said, “sometimes follow. We’re the largest casual dining concept in the world, so places like Buffalo Wings and Olive Garden occasionally join us. Sometimes we remain the only game in town. Every community and every market is different, so you never know.

“We’ll just operate along the lines of what we think is important and right. It’s all about the neighborhood. And we’re excited about coming to Duncan.”

580-255-5354, Ext. 130

Text Only
  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014


Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
     View Results
AP Video