HB Boys boss never likes to say ‘I told you so’
What is your number one lesson for aspiring multi-unit franchisees?
My biggest lesson is you’ve got to be involved with your operation. You can’t manage your business from the office; you have to manage the business in your businesses. I think small franchisees think that just because you’re a franchisee with a recognized brand guarantees you success. That’s not the case; it does take a lot of diligence.
You say those days in the restaurants are the best. Why is that?
You don’t go home at the end of the day at the office and think, ‘Oh my gosh, what an incredible day.’ When you’ve had a great day at the restaurant and you’ve worked side-by-side with your team and you’ve worked side-by-side with your managers and you had the opportunity to interact with guests—that produces a high that is hard to explain. You go home and you’re just bouncing all over the place.
Why do you still value real estate when so many of your peers prefer fewer assets?
Selling real estate can really fuel your growth, but I’d rather own one business and the real estate than five businesses. For us, that annuity is incredibly valuable. If I don’t operate the businesses themselves, I’m at least collecting the rent.
Your company previously leased space in convenience stores. Why did you change your strategy there?
We decided that if we’re going to be inside the business, we’re going to be in this whole business. We want to operate the whole thing. By controlling the whole facility I have a better say in cleanliness, operations and how the businesses work together. So that’s how we got into the convenience store business.
Do you think everyone should focus on real estate like you do?
Not necessarily. The risk being involved in real estate is obvious; you’re talking about a lot more capital. And then there is a potential risk that a market moves, and all of a sudden what was the best intersection in the city 20 years ago may not be the best intersection today.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you build a good culture?
I think ‘I told you so’ are bad words that no employee or manager or leader ever wants to hear from their leader. There has to be an allowance for people to make mistakes. Heck, I make mistakes every day. They have to be able to grow and learn from those mistakes, but it’s important they don’t make the same mistakes again.
What is your philosophy for growth?
We don’t grow just to say I own 100 Burger Kings. Maybe I do want 100 Burger Kings but I want to do it in a way that we can continue to be profitable, continue to have fun and continue to do the things that are important to us like owning the real estate and growing our people.
Where do you want to be in five years?
I want to continue to grow, I want to continue to be financially stable. I want to continue to enjoy what I’m doing. When it’s not fun anymore, that’s the time to get out of the business.