99 BIG Franchisees: Randy Lawrence

Most stores in one bite

Burgers galore

When Randy Lawrence's entrepreneurial spirit led him to leave his post as vice president of corporate operations for Back Yard Burgers to open his own restaurants, he did it with a vengeance: he signed a seven-year development agreement to open a whopping 28 Back Yard Burgers in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

He's opened six restaurants over the past 18 months and will continue to move at a fast pace now that he's gotten his "Ph.D. in design review, construction phases, and dealing with contractors from bid to en," as he describes his recent and rapid education. "That's a skill set in itself," says Lawrence, who admits he's tired but pleased with what he's accomplished so far.

A former multi-unit supervisor with RTM, the largest franchisee of Arby's Restaurants, Lawrence, in his corporate position at Back Yard Burgers, had learned a lot about the franchise. "Being on the inside, I had the opportunity to watch the brand grow on both the corporate and franchisee sides."

In 2003, his passion for the brand led him to sign on to build his own restaurants. "I knew the brand was one I wanted to stay with, which is the best endorsement I can give."

Why such a large number of stores? "When you go into a market like Atlanta, you know it requires a lot of sites to create brand awareness. Otherwise you can get lost in the mix," says Lawrence, whose first job at age 16 was working at the first Wendy's (Orlando, Fla.) outside of Ohio.

The not-so-secret secret to success in an undertaking such as this is the people, he says. "You have to create an infrastructure of people--crew members, managers--who share your vision and passion, because you obviously can't do it all yourself."

A pleasant by-product of all the hard work and carefully selecting from the BYB menu is a 35-pound weight loss for the 47-year-old Dacula, Ga., resident.

Published: April 4th, 2006

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