Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue II, 2017 - Page 22

MU LT I- BRA ND PERSONAL First job: Dishwasher. Formative influences/events: Having so many wonderful influences early on in my restaurant career—people who believed in me and in my potential and eventually guided me toward the franchising business model. Key accomplishments: Being invited to sit on several National Advisory Councils and President’s Councils for different brands I operate in. Earn- ing awards at multiple brands for sales, marketing, and service and being named Franchisee of the Year for Jersey Mike’s Subs in 2016. Biggest current challenge: Recruiting and building the bench strength of middle management. This is an incredible industry with unlimited opportu- nity, but our society seems to deem this as a job of last resort. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fighting that perception is our industry challenge. Next big goal: Bringing Jersey Mike’s Subs to the Canadian market and growing that brand in Canada with the parent company. First turning point in your career: Becoming a manager in training for RPM Pizza, the largest franchisee of Domino’s Pizza. They were a great company to work for and I owe them a lot for my success. They were my introduction into franchising. Best business decision: To buy 22 existing Little Caesars Pizza stores in Canada. Hardest lesson learned: Most franchisors want you to think and feel that you are part of a big family, and even though they do their best to foster that environment, at the end of the day it is a business. It is always a business, and you cannot take it personally. Work week: When you love what you do, it is not work. When you are an owner, there is no such thing as a normal work week. You need to make sure you balance your work week, spend quality time with your family, and take care of your health. Having a balance is very important. Exercise/workout: My wife and I have a personal trainer we work out with two to three times a week. Best advice you ever got: Wealth is built by focusing on one thing and doing it well; wealth is preserved by diversifying. What’s your passion in business? Seeing people in my company develop and grow. I am passionate about giving back and giving my general managers the opportunity that I had, which was to become a franchisee. How do you balance life and work? I owe it to my wife. She is the only reason I have any balance at all. Guilty pleasure: Eating. I love food. Favorite book: Good to Great by Jim Collins. Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans.” What do most people not know about you? I like rap music from all the years of listening to it from my kids. Pet peeve: Negative people. What did you want to be when you grew up? An airline pilot. Last vacation: In January, an all-inclusive resort in the Riviera Maya in Mexico, with all the GMs of my Little Caesars Pizza stores. Person I’d most like to have lunch with: Warren Buffet. 20 MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE I SS UE II , 2 01 7 MANAGEMENT Business philosophy: Spend a lot of time up front researching the franchise you want to go into business with. Once you go into business, focus on execut- ing the business model, not changing it. Management method or style: Focus on the culture: mentor, train, com- municate the expectation, and get out of the way. Let managers manage. Greatest challenge: Not trying to control everything. How do others describe you? Passionate, focused, energetic, and deter- mined. One thing I’m looking to do better: Be more patient. How I give my team room to innovate and experiment: I try to ask a lot of questions, ask for a lot of feedback from my team members, espe- cially those closest to the customer. We try things based on the feedback, imple- ment, and measure the results. We also search for the best practices from other franchisees who are doing a better job than we are. How close are you to operations? The bigger we grow, the harder it is. I make sure I stay close to my partners, my GMs, and my operational leadership team, and visit as many stores as I can, as often as I can. What are the two most important things you rely on from your franchisor? The continuous sharing on operational improvements, and the testing and implementation of marketing strategies. What I need from vendors: Reliability with a commitment to a long-term relationship that gives us both a competitive advantage. Have you changed your marketing strategy in response to the economy? How? Each brand I operate has a different marketing strategy for economic challenges. I cannot control the direction they take, so I focus on what I have more control over: operations inside the four walls. How is social media affecting your business? There has been a para- digm shift in marketing and, not surprisingly, social media is becoming a much bigger piece of the marketing budget in every brand I operate in. Mobile is huge today and it is very exciting to me. How do you hire and fire? We are always looking for talent and we use all of the usual vehicles for recruiting. Our most successful approach has been to develop organically when possible. We try to hire right so that we keep firing to a minimum. But when the fit is not right, or someone does something to be fired, we try to be honest, fair, quick, and move on. How do you train and retain? Each brand has its own training program. We work on executing the programs. I have found that the better you train, the longer they stay. Better training gives your team members more opportunity for advancement. We are always looking for ways to get better at training and retaining. It is one of the things we track closely, especially in the brands that are growing. How do you deal with problem employees? We look first to see if we dropped the ball at our end and did not train them right. Then we sit down and talk with them, try to understand what the issue is. We set the expectations, give the feedback, and if it is still not working out, we document and move on. No one wins if both parties are unhappy. Fastest way into my doghouse: Not caring about our customers and the people you work with.