Giving Back, Big-Time: Former Police Officer Still Assists Those In Need
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Giving Back, Big-Time: Former Police Officer Still Assists Those In Need

Giving Back, Big-Time: Former Police Officer Still Assists Those In Need

Sam Anabi's time as a police officer in La Verne, Calif., laid the foundation for his business focus of helping those in need. He bought his first gas station in 1991, while still in training at the L.A. Sheriff's Academy. Injured in the line of duty, in 2001 Anabi left the force to focus on his gasoline retailing business. Today he operates more than 200 Shell stations in California, along with 10 Del Tacos and 13 Subways.

Anabi says his experience as a police officer has greatly influenced how he operates his business. "Being a police officer for so many years allowed me to become very keen and intuitive toward different circumstances of people," he says. "I believe that it is our responsibility to reach out and help those around us in need."

His enterprise now serves as a financial empowerment resource for those in need in Southern California and beyond. To date, he has donated more than $120,000 and has helped raise funds for families left with no income after a crime-related death of a family member. And for the past 7 years, the Anabi Oil Golf Classic has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities that include St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, and the Uganda "Bosco Ministries" Children's Orphanage, among others.

Anabi's people-first focus also plays out in his relationships with his employees. "I truly believe in treating all employees as owners and empowering them to succeed. We promote from within, which shows them that we want them to stay with our company for a long time."

Name: Sam Anabi
Title: President/CEO, Anabi Oil, Upland, Calif.
No. of units: 10 Del Tacos, 13 Subways, 200+ Shell stations
Age: 44
Family: Wife Rene, 4 children
Years in franchising: 23
Years in current position: 15


Formative influences/events:
My father always taught me to treat people as you would want to be treated.

Key accomplishments:
Becoming a father, growing Anabi Oil, and helping people in need through my golf charity event for the past 7 years have all been incredible accomplishments.

Work week:
Every day.

What are you reading?
Every Day a Friday by Joel Osteen.

Best advice you ever got:
Never give up and always follow your dreams.

What's your passion in business?
Leading Anabi Oil and its employees to a higher level of success and integrity every day.


Business philosophy: Work hard and dedicate yourself. You truly get out what you put in.

Management method or style: I truly believe in treating all employees as owners and empowering them to succeed.

Greatest challenge: Making sure my employees constantly know they are valued so they will be with Anabi Oil for an extended time.

How do others describe you? As a fast-paced, passionate person who is very driven.

How do you hire and fire, train and retain? I hire from each community where my stores are located. I have a full human resources department that has ongoing training. I also have an internal training department that stays ahead of the game by being proactive in regard to promoting from within, taking pride in assisting our entry-level employees to move up toward managerial positions.

Bottom Line

Annual revenue: Would rather not disclose.

2014 goals: Continue to grow and make acquisitions with the goal of becoming one of the largest restaurant franchisees in the country, specifically through growth with the Del Taco brand.

Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? Through additional stores and the number of employees we are able to hire.

Vision meter: Where do you want to be in 5 years? In 10 years? In 5 years, I would like to add an additional 50 to 60 restaurants to our portfolio. In 10 years, I would like to see that number grow to 100 new restaurants, with a majority of those being Del Tacos.

What are you doing to take care of your employees? Taking care of our employees is a huge priority for us. Along with ongoing positive feedback, we offer quarterly bonuses, holiday parties, picnics, paid vacation, and our Fourth of July company celebration. We also offer ongoing professional training so our employees can be upwardly mobile.

What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? None right now. We are in growth mode and look forward to continuing our growth and expansion. However, we do evaluate our existing portfolio with a dedicated business manager and my real estate team. We continuously strategize to see if any sites need to be divested.

2014 MVP Noble Cause Award

For Passionate, Unwavering Support For Those In Need

Why do you think you were recognized with this award?
For always giving back. I passionately believe it is our responsibility to help those in need. I have been so blessed that it is with great joy and love that I help those in need. I currently assist orphans and children from all over the world, from Uganda and Nigeria to those in need throughout Southern California.

How have you raised the bar in your own company?
Striving to always deliver the best customer service for our guests, along with making sure our work environment is one that empowers and is enjoyable for our employees. Also, it is important that our service level is consistent at each of our restaurants.

What innovations have you created and used to build your company?
It's not so much about innovation as it is hard work and having strong partners who have the same work ethic and tenacity.

What core values do you think helped you win this award?
Being fair and honest and always treating others with respect--and, of course, hard work and dedication.

How important is community involvement to you and your company?
Community involvement is crucial for Anabi Oil. Our company is involved with many charities, and we always hire from within the community and promote from within our company. In fact, all of our managers were promoted from within. We're also proud to host a golf tournament every year that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local organizations.

What leadership qualities are important to you and to your team?
Honesty, forward thinking, and having the ability to inspire and motivate those around you. I started as a cashier, so my employees know that I was not handed anything. I worked for it, and they know there is not any job I would ask them to do that I have not done myself.

Published: November 17th, 2014

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