We recently had the privilege of interviewing our client John Bornoty, founder of The Big Salad. The Big Salad is a leading restaurant brand that began in 2008. They are focused on providing the freshest foods in an enjoyable and comfortable atmosphere, while also providing top notch customer service.
We thoroughly enjoyed our interview with John. Although this interview began with the intention of learning more about our client's product likes and dislikes, we were able to unravel much more valuable information, in addition to what was intended. We learned everything from their company's best practices, to what they value most in software systems, to what is that one thing that keeps their brand growing and thriving. We want to take a moment to share a few of the gems we identified during our conversation with The Big Salad.
Question 1: What Systems Do You Use?
Although we were expecting various systems to be identified in the answer of this question, we were honored and humbled to learn that our franchise management software holds such a significant ground in their business. The following quote is how John responded to our question.
“One of the reasons why I chose you guys is because whether if I am starting with a lead, all the way through a store inspection, to our next phase of rolling out the training module, it’s all in one. I don’t have to look at five different systems,” said John Bornoty.
Question 2: What Do You Enjoy The Most As A Business Owner?
- When receiving a call from a candidate and they say they want to take it to the next level!
- When receiving an email from a customer on what a great experience they had in one of our stores.
- When receiving a call from a franchisee, simply because something good happened to them, like maybe they had a baby, or a child got married, etc.
- When something that we did as a company changed someone's life for the better.
Question 3: What Are You Doing Now To Make Sure Everyone Is On The Same Page?
Bi-Weekly calls with every individual location. These can be anywhere from 15-45 minutes long, reviewing subjects like sales numbers, food costs, labor costs, concerns and/or issues shared both ways. Bi-Weekly calls keep everyone on path and in the loop, while store inspections still continue to take place quarterly.
The COO will conduct his phone calls, send lots of emails, or use the corporate intranet for what is appropriate. Many of the calls will be deep dives into marketing plans etc. or can be as simple as a technical question. Every situation requires a different form of communication.
Question 4: What Are Some Big Goals For The Next 3-5 Years Personally For Your Concept? (The Big Salad Is Already A 10 Year Old Concept!)
Corporately, it's all about how do we get bigger? More units, higher sales constantly, with no plans of changing who we are as a company. There are always menu developments and enhancements being made, but the main goals as a company is to continue growing and staying profitable.
On an individual standpoint, how do we make sure our franchisees are providing an experience for the customer. One of the things I always say is that we do not sell a salad, we sell an experience. The salad is just a product. We are trying to develop, recruit and train people that ensure that experience. It starts at the hiring process, how do we make it easier for our customers and how do we measure it?
Question 5: Brand Continuity And Consistency - When Hiring, What Is A Green Light And What Is A Red Light?
When I had one store, I would hire people based on their smile. I never met a happy person with a great smile that wasn’t very nice. You can tell when someone smiles and it's not genuine. Does the person make eye contact and have a great smile? If yes, then you know that's a great candidate.
You’ll visit a place more frequently simply because you like it there and the people working there.
Question 6: If You Could Wave A Magic Wand Over Anything In Your Day To Day Process, What Would It Be?
I’d change the ability to hire good people. We are in the people business. Hiring, recruiting, getting them through the system, motivating them to stay is all key. If you have lousy people it can ruin your business. No one complains when they have great people. That would be the single one thing I would wave a magic wand over.
I hope you found this discussion just as valuable as we did. These 6 takeaways can apply to everyone in the franchising space, and if you're ever interested in sharing your experience, thoughts or insights with our team, please just simply reach out by calling 404.751.9329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.