Phil Keiser, Culver’s
Mistake: Not properly training franchisees in-store, resulting in Keiser having to explain processes and procedures to franchisees in the midst of an opening.
“We learn from our mistakes. How can we tighten this up? What kind of system can we put into place to keep this from happening?”
Drew French, Your Pie
Mistake: Developing operational processes late in the game.
“When I opened the first store, I did not have an operations manual. We have a much better defined system today than we did eight years ago, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have daily challenges to overcome and improve.”
Dave Sobelman, Sobelmans Pub and Grill
Mistake: Opening a new concept based on assumptions, in this case, that consumers who say they want grass-fed beef really want to buy and eat grass-fed beef.
“Tallgrass Grill was open for four years. I hung in there and lost a lot of money, $30,000 a year, probably.”
Nick Vojnovic, Little Greek
Mistake: Not hiring managers who fit the culture.
“I would hire the wonderful resume—a former VP for McDonald’s or Popeyes, very talented but not a cultural fit with my team. You have to hire people who share our values. If not, there will be friction and [turnover].”
Chris Doody, Piada Italian Street Food
His method to avoid mistakes: Make sure a store is profitable before opening another.
“You’ve got to make sure you have a strong understanding of your concept and its financial model. You have to be very disciplined.”