Springfield, MO

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Positive response to

the eatery has spurred its owners to open a second location

by Kris Ann Hegle

SBJ Contributing Writer

The splattered egg logo is distinctive. So is the vibrant pink-and-green motif. The name, however, says it all. Scramblers. We're talking eggs and lots of them.

According to Bill Cox part owner of Scramblers Inc. the breakfast diner specializes in omelets and home-made breads. Hungry customers also can get soup, salad, a sandwich or a burger at lunch.

Before founding Scramblers with his wife, Julie Cox, and a silent business partner, Bill Cox worked as a multi-unit manager for Golden Corral. As a multi-unit manager, he spent a lot of time driving from restaurant to restaurant inspecting each operation.

Although he enjoyed his job, Bill Cox spent a lot of time on the road. He was working between 70 and 80 hours a week, and he felt his kids were growing up without him.

Then, in 1993, Golden Corral transferred him from Norman, Okla., to Springfield. The Coxes, who hail from St. Louis, were happy to be back in Missouri, and they decided to find a way to stay. It wasn't long before they started talking about opening their own restaurant.

Unfortunately, Springfield abounded with eateries. Bill Cox also heard the area served as a test market for many restaurant chains.

Bill Cox knew the key to success meant finding a niche. The couple toyed with the idea of opening a candy store or bagel shop.

Then, one day Bill Cox stopped in a popular restaurant in Oklahoma City, Okla., that specialized in omelets. The idea for Scramblers was born.

Using his knowledge of the restaurant business, Bill Cox went out and sized up the competition Village Inn, Denny's, Smitty's and several mom-and-pop operations that served breakfast.

None of the restaurants specialized in omelets, he said.

The Coxes also enlisted the services of local AmerUs Realtor Gregg Stancer. According to Bill Cox, Stancer had worked with several national chains before, and he understood how location could make or break a business.

"We took everything into consideration," Cox said. "The labor market, food costs, targets to hit, the cost of real estate, equipment, everything. Julie worked with the architect a lot to make sure our restaurant had an upscale feel to it. We wanted our restaurant to stand out."

Still, Bill Cox said, he had doubts. He was all too familiar with the risks of starting and running a restaurant. In the end, it took faith to start Scramblers, he said.

"The most important thing is not only to believe in your concept and to believe in yourself but to believe that God will carry you," Bill Cox said.

He said he also believed his wife, Julie. When the first Scramblers opened on East Republic Road, Julie Cox ran the restaurant. Bill Cox continued to work for Golden Corral during their first year of business.

Although Julie Cox had worked in restaurants before, she had never managed one. Before heading up Scramblers, she worked for 10 years as a stay-at-home mom raising their three sons.

"I just knew if you were nice to people and treated them like they were at your home, they would come back," she said. "I think the thing that sets us apart is our service. We really work to keep our customers happy."

For Bill Cox, that means making substitutions on a meal at the customer's request or redoing an order if it doesn't satisfy the customer.

He also believes their management philosophy goes a long way toward customer satisfaction.

"I like employees to take ownership for their part of the business," he said. "We have a pledge to our guests, which is printed on the back of our menus, to do whatever it takes to make them want to come back. That pledge is from the staff."

Scramblers employees 35 people, including the Coxes' sons, who do everything from clear tables to peel potatoes.

According to Bill Cox, business is booming. A second Scramblers has opened on North West Bypass, and the Coxes have considered opening additional restaurants.

According to Bill Cox, although he still works long hours, having his own business has given him an opportunity to spend more time with his kids, and he is an active supporter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The Coxes are also members of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.


Year Founded: 1997

Address and phone number:

1131 E. Republic Road, 886-4224 and 504 N. West Bypass, 869-2328

Owner: Scramblers Inc.

Management philosophy: "To do whatever it takes to make guests at our restaurant want to come back."


Bill and Julie Cox, part owners of Scramblers Inc., put customer satisfaction first to succeed in the highly competitive Springfield market.


Bill and Julie Cox bring chain-restaurant experience to their Springfield stores, begun in 1997.[[In-content Ad]]


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