Ever since his inauguration into the hospitality industry at the age of 13, Jesse Kupina had a passion for food, entertainment and guest experience, “I’ve always had the dream of owning my own place.”
Fast forward to today and he has realized that dream. In 2009, Jesse joined forces with his business partner, Jerry Rota, to create Two12 Social Co.—a hospitality enterprise that owns two of the most popular food and entertainment establishments in Alberta, Canada.
One of these places is Central Social Hall, where premium casual dining meets the best of pub-style socializing. Central Social Hall slightly shifts its vibe through its dayparts: attracting couples, young families with kids, and groups of friends for weekend brunch, enticing urban professionals throughout the week, and on Friday and Saturday nights the atmosphere kicks into high gear with some dancing.
“We wanted to offer people great service and the freshest quality ingredients—everything on our menu is made in house,” explains Kupina, “but we wanted to offer an experience—more than just a place to eat—so we combined that great menu and service with a hip atmosphere that encourages socialization.”
A key element to creating Central Social Hall’s prefect vibe is its music—and making sure the music and entertainment complements the daypart. “Creating a social experience is so important. It’s ingrained in everything we do. It’s in our name, it’s a theme in our menu—even our servers are encouraged to promote shareable items—so it’s vital that it’s also reflected in our music; the music and playlists we choose help create that atmosphere.”
Through working with Control Play’s team and services, Central Social Hall has been able to create a signature sound to achieve just that. “Since we’ve made the switch from our old music provider, our music and atmosphere is noticeably better,” says Kupina, “The variety of music we get, and the ease of working with the Control Play system is awesome. It’s really allowed us to achieve and articulate the music program we want, and execute different dayparts without a flaw.”
To speak to its growing success, recently Two12 Social Co. has opened a second location for Central Social Hall in St. Albert, Alberta.
“I love creating an experience for a guest, whether it’s an event or a food experience…I love that we’ve created a space for people to do that,” says Kupina, “The best thing about what I do is creating memorable experiences. To see people enjoying themselves—that type of stuff—I find a lot of happiness in seeing that.”
When asked what advice he has for other aspiring bar or restaurant owners, Kupina shared his wisdom: “This is certainly not a business where you can just set-it and forget-it. You’re only as good as your last customer’s experience, so you’ve got to be innovative and keep things current—create crave items and an atmosphere that people can’t get anywhere else.”