This weekís guest in the Trap is none other than CRFC legend Jon Olinto. For those of you who donít know him, Jon burst onto the CRFC hoop scene a few years back as one of the best players at the gym. But frustrated with his job in corporate America, he decided to trade in his suit for an apron and pursue his dream of opening a healthy fast-food restaurant. The rest is history, as we havenít seen much of him since the successful opening of two b.good restaurants in Back Bay and Cambridge. Letís take a moment to catch up with Mr. Olinto and talk burgers, ballers, boxing, and babes.
Wolverine: Thanks for being on this weekís Trap, Jon.
Olinto: Thanks. It feels good to be back at CRFC.
Wolverine: First off, please tell the CRFC Nation where you are from, what sports you played in college, and who you seemingly have now become?
Olinto: Iím Jon Olinto. People seem to like me because I am polite and rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks.
Wolverine: I didnít own a pair of jeans until college. I preferred slacks in high school, which may explain why my high school dating life consisted of perusing Vogue at the local Readingand Greeting bookstore.
Olinto: At least Vogue has color photos. My high school sex life was the black and white sketches of Fileneís lingerie models in The Sunday Globe. Anyway, I spent those difficult adolescent years in Milton, MA and went on to attend Colby College, in Waterville, Maine. Up there, I played basketball in the NESCAC conference (the same one that spawned CRFC legends Greg Poulos and Chris McMahon). But, unlike those studs, I had a pretty uncelebrated college career on the hardwood (where I really excelled was acting like a stupid drunk and horrifying others). Somehow, about 10 years later, Iíve evolved into a small business owner with aspirations for global burger supremacy.
Wolverine: And donít forget philanthropy as you have generously sponsored CRFC hoops with a weekly b.good Player of the Week award. What is the award and how do the winners redeem it?
Olinto: Itís just our way of recognizing and rewarding athletic excellence, leadership, and sportsmanship (and most importantly, itís a really cheap way to market b.good to hundreds of CRFC hoop players since you and Josh agreed to let me appear on the Trap and feature us prominently on your website). The way it works is simple. The Player of the Week just prints the page from the CRFC website that lists their award and comes down to b.good in Harvard Square or the Back Bay. Weíll grill up a house-ground, hand-packed burger (or veggie burger) and, out of respect and admiration, give it to the Player of the Week for free.
Wolverine: Now, when you agreed to be a CRFC hoops sponsor, were you actually aware that CRFC has 7 leagues, which would mean giving away 7 free burgers a week?
Olinto: No, I didnít. Maybe, weíll reconsider and the Player of the Week will get a small fountain soda or pickle spear.
Wolverine: Who is Uncle Faris and what is the CRFC Uncle Faris Award?
Olinto: Faris Ackil is my best friendís uncle who cooked dinner for us every night when we were growing up together (along the way he kind of became my surrogate uncle). But, besides cooking burgers for us all the time and basically raising us, Uncle Faris also means a lot to us because heís really crazy. So, we figured it would be funny to make him our spokesman (kind of like the anti-Ronald McDonald). And at the same time, weíve made our business in his image. Heís a real guy ñ imperfect and quirkyÖ just like us and the homemade food that we make everyday.
Wolverine: Speak for yourself! And the Uncle Faris Award?
Olinto: In honor of Uncle Faris, weíve decided to sponsor an award at CRFC this year to recognize that special ball player in each division that best embodies the spirit of our uncle. The award isnít necessarily about talent or skill. But, it is about being a hoop player whose personality, quirkiness, and sense of humor represent all that is good about CRFC basketball. Each winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to b.good.
Wolverine: That is kind of like the Wolverine Award, except the only thing they get is all the accolades (and psychological trauma) that go along with being hand picked by the Wolverine. I think Iíd rather have the gift certificate. If I were to eat at b.good for 30 straight days, what would happen to my body?
Olinto: If itís possible, I think youíd become an even more explosive low-post presence.
Wolverine: When all is said and done, do you think Kevin Federline will end up taking the ìmost potent maleî championship belt away from Evander Holyfield?
Olinto: I make a conscious effort to try and not know anything about Kevin Federline. But, I do know that saying the phrase ìmost potent maleî and not having the words Coach Dan Salazar after them is a complete injustice.
Wolverine: Really? I had no idea. With the exception of Viagra, do you test your employees for the use of any performance enhancing substances?
Olinto: No. But, we do strongly encourage the use of male augmentation devices.
Wolverine: I am not familiar with that term. Will the Texans regret not taking Reggie Bush or Vince Young?
Olinto: Absolutely. In 5 years, Mario Williams will be the Sam Bowie of the 21st century.
Wolverine: Seriously, how many top 5 defensive end picks have to be busts for the NFL to realize that offensive players are a better gamble. Have you ever had a Stage 5 clinger?
Olinto: No. But, I wish there was such a thing as b.good groupies.
Wolverine: Do you find it slightly ironic that there are two songs that mention Jon and b.good in the title? Be Good, Johnny by Men at Work and Johhny B. Good by Chuck Berry (and Michael J. Fox).
Olinto: Iíve never really thought about it before. But, maybe itís some kind of strange cosmic foreshadowing. I guess we all have some kind of destiny in life and maybe my destiny is to flip burgers.
Wolverine: If you and your wife had the same relationship as Andre Kirilinko and his wife, whoíd you use your yearly ìfree passî on given the choice of any celebrity?
Olinto: Hereís the problem with that question ñ itís an impossible scenario given my current lot in life. And hereís why. AK 47 is a chiseled, 25-year-old Russian who plays in the greatest professional sports league in the world. Iím a washed-up, 30 year-old who works in a fast-food restaurant. So, my conversations with attractive females end with the words: ìDo you want fries with that?î That means that even if I ever had a ìfree pass,î Iíd only be able to redeem it with the girls that like fries a little too much. Know what I mean?
Wolverine: I agree, but, címon, itís a hypothetical. I know you are newly married and all and are still pretty scared of your wife, but she wonít mind you answering this question.
Olinto: This will sound really weird, but Iím so out of touch with popular culture right now that I donít even know the names of hot movie stars, singers, or anyone whoís been in Maxim in the last 2 years since we started b.good. So, I have to think back to a better time in my life when I knew important stuff like this. Iíll say that Carmen Electra (preferable pre-Dennis Rodman if we had a CRFC time-machine to go with the CRFC free-pass) would be waved into the b.good kitchen for my coupon redemption.
Wolverine: What is the worst thing about running a restaurant chain?
Olinto: By far, the worst thing is receiving negative feedback from a customer. Weíre obsessed with making our restaurant great. So, disappointing a customer feels like getting dunked on in front of your girlfriend (and then having the guy who dunked on you punch you in the nuts and go over and make-out with your girlfriend).
Wolverine: Or having someone throw a full water cup at you after reffing their game (true story). Your website is hilarious (www.bgood.com). Where do the ideas come from?
Olinto: The best part about running your own business is the freedom to do what you want. So, itís our personality and sense of humor that dictates how we position our company and market it to our customers. And that means that all the ideas come from us ñ me and my buddy, Anthony ñ and itís just stuff that we think is funny or engaging. As an industry, fast-food has become mass-produced, mechanized, and dehumanized. So, the whole point of b.good is to make fast-food ìrealî again. And for us, that extends beyond the food. It means we have to position our company a certain way and it means we need to be the ones doing that positioning. We think that by doing all the marketing ourselves, we can keep our business authentic, real, and relevant to our customers.
Wolverine: Is it true that b.good is actually responsible for spreading the avian bird flu panic in the US in hopes of stealing market share away from Kentucky Fried Chicken?
Olinto: Over 30% of our business is generated by sales of chicken sandwiches. So, while Iíd do almost anything to contribute to the destruction of the fast-food giants, I donít know if spreading the bird flu would be in our best interests.
Wolverine: What is the biggest difference between Cambridge customers and Back Bay customers?
Olinto: If theyíre b.good customers, then Iíd like to take this opportunity to say theyíre all beautiful human beings.
Wolverine: Will you be at the next CRFC league party Friday, June 9th at Tonic?
Olinto: Unfortunately, I flip burgers in Harvard Square on Friday nights. I definitely will be at the next league party, though.
Wolverine: That may work for me on my way back home to Harvard Square. How late are you open on Friday nights?
Olinto: Weíre open every night til 11. But, if I know youíre coming, Iíd leave the grill on til you got there.
Wolverine: Thanks for being in the Trap. Please remember us little people when b.good is a nationwide chain that can be seen at most highway rest-stops.
Olinto: Thanks. And donít worry, if b.good ever makes it nationwide, weíll all be playing CRFC hoop in the ìb.good Arenaî and thereíll be glass backboards, cheerleaders, beer vendors, and free burgers for all of us.