Sticky Fingers Ribhouse co-founder Chad Walldorf thinks the barbecue restaurant chain scored a touchdown with the signing of former NFL quarterback Steve Young as its brand spokesman.
"He is an ideal spokesman for Sticky Fingers because he represents quality and integrity in the highest senses of the words," Walldorf said.
Young, an NFL Most Valuable Player twice in the 1990s and both a pro and college football hall of famer, already was familiar with the chain started by former Baylor School classmates Walldorf, Jeff Goldstein and Todd Eischeid in 1992.
Walldorf said Young has been an investor in the privately held company for about four years.
"The stars aligned so he could be an investor at a more public level," he said.
Young, the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX with the San Francisco 49ers, said in a statement that he has been a fan of Sticky Fingers for years and is eager to tell people why they should "get Sticky."
Young said he's excited about the increased focus on quality and customer service now that the chain is back under the leadership of one of its founders.
Walldorf, who with Goldstein and Eischeid had sold off most of his interest in the company, decided about a year-and-a-half ago to come back in as an investor and as what he calls "chief support officer."
He said the result has been a return to Sticky Fingers' roots and culture, including everything from its menu to music — and a rebound to profitability.
Walldorf said the chain with 11 units in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee, including two in Chattanooga, is on course to see revenues grow this year to between $20 million and $25 million.
Young already has filmed a couple of TV commercials, having worked last week in Charlotte, N.C., before the Monday Night Football game outside of the Carolina Panthers stadium, said Walldorf, son of Chattanooga real estate broker Rudy Walldorf.
"He'll be our brand spokesman," he said. "We think he's an ideal fit."
Sticky Fingers is headquartered in Mount Pleasant, S.C., outside Charleston, across a parking lot from the original restaurant, Walldorf said.
"We're bullish," he said. "Things are moving in the right direction."