Kevin Green left his job in education back in 2006. He was looking for change in his life and said he wanted to "control my destiny by building a business." He's done well so far and never looked back. Today he operates four Bruegger's Bagels in Raleigh-Durham. He says he is most proud of opening four locations in five years, increasing sales each year, and being recognized as franchisee of the year in 2011.
Key accomplishments: The accomplishments that I currently treasure most as it relates to Bruegger's Bagels are:
Opening four locations in five years
Increasing sales each year
Earning franchisee of the year in 2011
I consider myself a working owner. I am in at least one, but sometimes three of our locations each day. I don't work seven days a week, but often six days given that my mangers' schedules sometimes shift unexpectedly. I have four good general managers and they handle the day-to-day work for the most part. However, when I am in, I am rolling up my sleeves and getting to work -- washing dishes, spreading cream cheese, etc.
How do you spend a typical day?
Most days, I am at the locations for the morning hours meeting with our managers and working in the restaurants. I then spend the afternoons doing paperwork, bills, etc.
What's your passion in business?
I love being in control of my destiny by building a business. The future is always a focal point. Meaning, by building my business into a Raleigh-Durham powerhouse, I am hopeful to one day maintain ownership, but not have to be on the frontline all the time. My schedule today is somewhat flexible, but I seek to grow the business with a management team that can take more of the responsibility off of me. I have two kids, 18 and 23, and I'd be happy to see them move into ownership with me. But they need to pursue their own passion and then decide if this is right for them.
My philosophy is don't ask anybody to do anything you wouldn't do yourself.
Management method or style:
I am involved day to day as a working owner. My team at the bagel bakeries is my family. They represent me and need to represent the brand well.
The greatest challenge is hiring the right team. I have been fortunate to have general managers who stay with me for four or more years. Two of our GMs have been with us since the beginning. But it is a challenge to consistently recruit and retain team members. But we have processes in place that eases the challenge, including working together with the GMs to build their teams. I am very involved because I want the right people representing us. We have a unique bond with our guests.
How close are you to operations?
When I am in the restaurants I am directly involved in working in the bakeries. Otherwise, I am in constant communication with our managers and have a good feel for what is happening at the restaurants at all times. I also get very involved in our training.
How do you deal with problem employees?
I address issues head on. GMs are always the first to address it with a team member because I want to empower them. As needed, we re-train our employees and review guidelines.
My goals were to grow sales with a strong focus on catering. I also wanted to focus on recruiting and hiring a great team. I met both goals in 2014.
Catering continues to be a focus and now I would like to hire a catering sales manager.
Growth meter: How do you measure your growth?
I am routinely running comparisons -- year-to-year, month-to-month, week-to-week.
Vision meter: Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years?
In five years, I will have my four Bruegger's Bagels. I hope to have all or the majority of my loans paid off. In 10 years, I want to be working less and have more flexibility in my schedule.
Where do you find capital for expansion?
Personal assets and loans from the bank.
What are you doing to take care of your employees?
I treat our team like family. We often present merit-based raises. Likewise, around holiday season we give generous gift cards to the team. Plus, I provide shoes, pants, and shirts for everyone to work in while at the locations.
How do you reward/recognize top-performing employees?
I empower every employee by giving them a platform to grow. This includes giving the GMs the opportunity to organize holiday season gatherings for our team members to enjoy.
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