Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue IV, 2016 - Page 36

D OM I N A T O R S “We are experiencing immense same store sales growth and are thrilled to be a part of the Wendy’s brand reinvention.” MANAGEMENT Business philosophy: We are in a service-based industry and that should be paramount. At Meritage, you either serve our guests or serve those who serve our guests. Management method or style: I empower my people to drive business decisions through a blend of leadership and management. Greatest challenge: With all the moving pieces in a growing company, it can be challenging to keep yourself and your team focused on the big picture without getting bogged down with day-to-day issues and operations. It’s not just about what we do, it’s about why we do it. How do others describe you? “Go big or go home” applies to all aspects of my life. I set the company bar very high. One thing I’m looking to do better: I’m very driven, so I could work on patience and listening. How do you give your team room to innovate and experiment? One of the greatest values we have at Meritage is to “Run It Like You Own It.” I empower my people to improve our business through strategic decisions. How close are you to operations? About 20 feet—our COO is in the next office! In all seriousness, we call our corporate office the Restaurant Service Center, and we pride ourselves on what we call “collective genius.” What are the two most important things you rely on from your franchisor? The Wendy’s Company provides us with several invaluable resources. The biggest two that transform our business would be the uniqueness of our products and innovative marketing. What I need from vendors: Consistency and delivery. Have you changed your marketing strategy in response to the economy? How? Wendy’s has taken a new look at the value consumer through the use of their “high-low” advertising strategy: pairing Premium Combos with the ever-successful 4 for $4 Meal. Guests have really responded, and we have seen a significant growth across the country in sales and transactions. How is social media affecting your business? Social media is constantly at your fingertips and is at the heart of Wendy’s marketing strategy. Brandon Rhoten [VP, head of advertising, media, and digital] and the digital team at Wendy’s have drastically increased Wendy’s digital and social footprint, reaching the Millennial consumer right where they are—chatting with friends on their mobile devices. How do you hire and fire? We use our company’s core values to drive decision-making around recruiting talent, developing talent, and managing performance, even when it includes separation. How do you train and retain? We outline clear goals and expectations for our teammates that we hold them accountable to. Our continued growth offers opportunities for successful teammates to continue to grow their careers with us. How do you deal with problem employees? We never take problems at face value; we get to the root cause. We partner with managers to develop leadership capabilities so they are better equipped to successfully coach their teammates to overcome issues. Fastest way into my doghouse: Over-promising and under-delivering. BOTTOM LINE Annual revenue: $228.1 million. 2016 goals: $241 million. How do you forecast for your business? Our COO and I have extensive finance and accounting backgrounds, so we are diligent about our growth measurements and projections. Our team of financial analysts uses restaurant data pulled from our back-office software and combine that with estimated external market factors to develop our projections. We use these on a daily basis when making strategic business decisions. Vision meter: Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? Our current plan is to reach 300 restaurants by 2021. With that, we hope to make a lot of advances on the people side of our business as well. How is the economy in your regions affecting you, your employees, your customers, and the way you do business? Each region’s economy is unique to that area, so each market we operate in is different. That said, we do our best to tackle whatever challenge is thrown our way. Are you experiencing economic growth in your market? We are experiencing immense same store sales growth nationwide and are thrilled to be a part of the Wendy’s brand reinvention. Our guests are loving that we are “Deliciously Different.” What are the best sources for capital expansion? Wendy’s has 34 a national franchise lender program, which provides us with a great list of private investors. Experience with private equity, local banks, national banks, other institutions? Why/why not? As a growing, publicly traded company, we work frequently with national banks and institutions. However, in a sense, each restaurant operates as its own business, where deposits and transactions must be made at the local level. It ends up being a balance for us. What are you doing to take care of your employees? About a year ago, we instituted a new organizational development team at our Restaurant Service Center. This team helps us drive strategic business decisions with a “people first” approach. They focus on recruitment, retention, employee relations, benefits, compensation, training, and development. How are you handling rising employee costs (payroll, minimum wage, healthcare, etc.)? We work as a team to arrive at decisions that are both strategic and cost-effective. How do you reward/recognize top-performing employees? We offer a competitive base pay and benefits package and a performance-based bonus structure. What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? Meritage is unique in that it is a publicly traded company and therefore, we plan for perpetuity. MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE IS S UE IV, 2016 muf4_profile_schermer(30,32,34).indd 34 10/6/16 5:04 PM