It is not too often that we get excited about administrative hirings in the local restaurant world, but every now and then one jumps out as an especially good fit. Jarrod Johnson joining Yellow Rocket Concepts as their Public Relations and Events Manager is one of them.
For those of you who do not know Jarrod, he has worked part-time as a bartender at Big Orange Midtown since the restaurant opened in 2013. Even though Johnson only worked one or two shifts a week, his presence was still more than enough to earn him our customer service award in bartending, as well as a number of other best bartender honors.
“There are a lot of guys out there who make better drinks than me,” Johnson told us at the time. “I just try to put my heart into the position when I am behind the bar.”
For a day job Johnson has worked with the Pulaski County government as a communications officer for the past year, and a variety of other government and NGO jobs before that. More than his previous positions, it is Johnson’s other work in the community that makes this seemingly under the radar hire a big deal.
Johnson has been instrumental in a number of great things with the community over the past several years. Even though he refuses to take much credit, he helped organize outreach events at Big Orange like the Lucie’s Place promotion earlier this year. He has worked with Riverfest. Beyond local work Johnson has also worked with the Olympics, NATO, and the G8 summit to name a few.
The move comes at an important time for Yellow Rocket, which owns Big Orange, Local Lime, ZAZA, Heights Taco, and Lost Forty. They have now grown to seven restaurants without a significant increase to staff until just recently. Added to the workload is Lost Forty has quickly become the state’s largest beer producer (by a wide margin) and most distributed beer in the state. They recently hired Cassie Millington as a social media manager, who brought a ton of beer marketing experience from regional brew giant Mother’s Brewing.
The addition of Johnson should allow an increase in outreach efforts, increased communication back toward areas like Rock City Eats, and a ton of exciting events leveraging their diverse brands.
“A lot has happened in the 8 years since they [YRC] first opened their first restaurant, Zaza Fine Salad & Wood-Oven Pizza Co. In that short time they have expanded to include 7 restaurants plus the state’s largest brewery. I’m very excited to be a part of this company’s dedication to growing and nurturing relationships and making positive community impact as we move into the future, wherever that may lead,” Johnson says in a quick statement.
For us, we have loved working with Jarrod in any capacity over the years. The move should increase the ways we can work with the state’s most popular restaurant group and most popular brewery. He is someone widely respected by just about everyone who comes in contact with him. Good move Yellow Rocket. We are excited about this one.
Johnson will officially make the move in mid July. Big Orange Midtown will hold a celebration for the move on July 8th at the bar for a reverse happy hour from 9-12. $1 of all Velvet Orange and Yellow Rock’tail cocktails sold will go to support Lucie’s Place.