Sonic ‘zee diversifies with Take 5, is first female owner
What were key things you sought when adding another segment to the business?
I would say the most important thing was franchising, we did want to do a franchise. Of course, having a successful and positive franchisor and franchisee relationship was the most important factor. We’ve enjoyed that with Sonic and even with Inspire Brands; we feel like their approach is as strong if not stronger than what we experienced before.
And what about Take 5 specifically?
What we liked about Take 5 is that it’s part of Driven Brands, which is also a Roark Capital business. Knowing that we’re essentially cousins, that was also very attractive to us. And we ran the numbers, and the financial upside was really strong provided we were good operators, which we think we are. And they had a solid business model. We like the fact that we’re required to train at the headquarters. And when we hire we have to send managers to train for a month.
What advice do you have for other operators looking to diversify or grow?
Asking a lot of questions and talking to as many people as you can to give you good, honest feedback. We spent a lot of time talking to the franchise development person we were working with. I was in sales for years, so I know the tricks. Honestly, I just drilled him and tried to catch him to see if he was inconsistent. And he wasn’t.
What’s been the best day in the business so far?
For me, my best day was deciding I was going to join our company full time. I had lived in the pillow talk world with my husband; I’d participate in the company meetings. But when I started doing it full time and really got involved, I just found that I loved doing what we do. Then I happened to have been selected to be on the franchise advisory committee for Sonic. It was just fun for me to see what we could do to make our brand better.
What makes you a successful entrepreneur?
I’m a firm believer that a positive attitude helps in so many ways. I also like to think that I’m a concise communicator. I think a lot of people beat around the bush, but having that concise communication so people know what you want from them is very helpful.
Staff writer Nicholas Upton asks what makes multi-unit operators tick—and presents their slightly edited answers in this column in each issue. To suggest a subject, email email@example.com.
What’s a guiding rule you have in the business?
We have a philosophy we call TTIFFERR. We talk about this a lot at our company. It stands for train, train, inspect, feedback, feedback, expect, recognize and reward. That drives so much of what we do in our organization. It’s just something we came up with because it’s all the philosophies about having a good operational model and good leadership and management.
If a manager or assistant manager or myself is doing this on a regular basis we find we have really good success.
How do you avoid the pitfalls that can come along with bringing family into a third-generation business?
We have children that are in their 20s that have shown interest. They’re just getting their own careers started but have said they’d like to come back. We want them to go out and build something themselves, then get into this. Speaking frankly, when you own a business like ours, it’s been successful but we don’t want our children to come in and think they can just not work hard. So we’re fortunate that they’re all doing something and we want them to go work and we’ll teach you this. But we said you’ll have to go be that person working in a shop.