Goldfingers expanding in, outside Dothan

Author: Ebony Davis         THE DOTHAN EAGLE         12/29/2015

A locally-owned restaurant that has three locations in Dothan is now opening stores in other cities.

Goldfingers owner Bill Dorminy said in addition to opening the restaurant’s fourth location on U.S. 84 in Dothan sometime next year, a store in Mobile will likely open around the summer of next year. A Troy location is expected to open in late 2016.

Dorminy said each of the restaurants will open as corporate stores with the opportunity to become a franchised unit. Dorminy said he is also partnering with the University of South Alabama as a cooperative opportunity for its new hotel and hospitality degree program. In doing so, Dorminy said some of the program’s top performers will have the chance to intern at one of Goldfingers’ corporate stores to complete their degree.

Goldfingers is known for its “golden” chicken tenders, wings and nuggets. The current restaurants have about 75 employees. He said the new Dothan store will be a two-lane drive-through prototype.

He intends to keep his current Goldfingers location on U.S. 84 open for business when the other location opens less than two miles away next year.

“We do a lot of catering for school lunch programs and businesses, so we will likely fill many of those at this store,” Dorminy said as he sat inside the current location on U.S. 84.

The expansion of the Goldfingers brand is something Dorminy said he never dreamed of after separating from Chick-fil-A several years ago to go into full-time ministry, only to implement “marketplace ministry” in the restaurant business he said he never lost his desire for.

He opened his first Goldfingers on Montgomery Highway in 2009, which was followed by the opening of a restaurant in 2010 on U.S. 84 and in 2011 on Ross Clark Circle in Cottonwood Corners.

“I’ll drive up to one of the restaurants and I still can’t believe it,” Dorminy said, smiling.

“You’re looking at someone who barely graduated high school except for the grace of God. In the marketplace, I get to serve in the most uncultivated mission field in America. My heartbeat is to impact people for the kingdom, both behind the counter and in front of it, to ultimately glorify God.”

Dorminy said he worked at Chick-fil-A under founder Truett Cathy between 1990 and 2002, first as a store operator and then as a business consultant. He said he helped build the brand and some of its stores throughout the country, and was instrumental in the company bringing the standalone restaurant on Ross Clark Circle after success of Chick-fil-A in Wiregrass Commons Mall.

Dorminy said he left Chick-fil-A in 2002 to pursue full-time ministry. When Dorminy chose to go back into the restaurant business, he said wanted Cathy’s blessing.

Dorminy said he told Cathy he didn’t want to compete with him, but that he wanted to show other people that any business could glorify God and be faithful stewards, as Chick-fil-A had.

“Truett Cathy was the mentor that changed my life. When I went to him (about Goldfingers) he put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Bill, I want you to be successful, just not too successful. You’ve got my blessing,’” Dorminy laughed.

“That was all I needed to get started.”

Commercials, mascots, franchising and a phone app are just some of the larger plans Dorminy has for Goldfingers. He hasn’t let the closure of an Enterprise Goldfingers in 2011 or trademark battles that dragged out over months deter the restaurant he started.

“You have to be so overwhelmed with wanting to do this, no matter what obstacles. Unless you’re committed, you won’t make it,” he said.

“Every day challenges a different part of your brain.”

For Dorminy, his commitment to ministry transcends anything he encounters in the restaurant business.

“If the only reason we’re here is to do business and make money, then that’s pretty shallow, but when we ’ re shepherding – when we know we’re impacting lives – that puts everything in perspective,” he said.

“The people I work with get it and they embrace it. It’s nothing unusual for them to have a Bible study in the complex where a team member lives or to ask people if they can pray for them.”

He said his goal is to continue the restaurant’s success by aiming to find new growth.

“When you see an area being developed, it’s too late. Deals have already happened before the first tree was cut,” he said.

Dorminy added that he has found his best innovators to be the ones within his system, and he encouraged other business owners to reach out to their workers to develop ideas that make business engaging and fun.

“You can only rise as high as your leadership,” he said.

Follow Ebony Davis on Twitter at @dothaneaglebiz