Servant Leader: Joseph Omobogie earns American Dream MVP
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Servant Leader: Joseph Omobogie earns American Dream MVP

Servant Leader: Joseph Omobogie earns American Dream MVP

Joseph Omobogie is the American Dream MVP (Most Valuable Performer) for achieving remarkable success in his new country.

Title: President/Owner

Company: Golden Management LLC

No. of units: 14 Golden Chick, 2 Thai Express, 4 Marco’s Pizza, 1 Captain D’s, 11 Tropical Smoothie Cafe 

Age: 57

Family: I have two families: my biological family and my company family. 

Years in franchising: 19

Years in current position: 19 

More than 20 years ago, Joseph Omobogie took the mighty risk of leaving his native Nigeria to seek success in the U.S. His faith in God and belief in the Golden Rule guided him during difficult times. He worked in factories and restaurants and installed security equipment until the right opportunity and the right person presented themselves.

“I came to this country, and Mark Parmerlee, the Golden Chick president, took me under his wing,” Omobogie recalls. “He didn’t care if I spoke English or what my color was.”

Parmerlee has supported Omobogie throughout his franchise career. “I wanted to buy a property, but my credit wasn’t good enough, so he helped me, and the property is 100% mine today,” Omobogie says. “I can’t stop talking about him because I would not be here without him.”

Omobogie first encountered the Golden Chick brand while installing security cameras at a gas station with a Golden Chick location. “I overheard they wanted to lease the location,” he recalls. That store was his first, allowing him to start the path to realizing his business goals. “I started working harder every day,” he says.

Despite bumps along the way, Omobogie was determined. He eventually became the No. 1 store in the Golden Chick chain. He’s now a multi-unit and multi-brand franchisee who owns Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Thai Express, Marco’s Pizza, and Captain D’s locations in addition to Golden Chick. His operating group brings in more than $30 million annually, and he oversees approximately 400 crew members who “work with him,” not “for him,” he says.

Omobogie has a fierce drive to grow and improve, but he is quick to credit Parmerlee’s mentorship and assistance in helping him achieve all he has. “Mark has done nothing but good for me,” he says.

MVP QUESTIONS

Why do you think you were recognized with this award? I am honestly very surprised, and it is an honor. To be recognized completely caught me off guard. 

How have you raised the bar in your own company? I raise the bar by holding my entire team accountable with high levels of service and very high standards in all my stores. 

What innovations have you created and used to build your company? I use the Golden Rule. I want my whole team to treat everyone as they would like to be treated. It hasn’t failed me yet. 

What core values do you think helped you win this award? That would be my passion for this work. It includes my eagerness to work hard and to bring in every walk of life on this journey with me.

How important is community involvement to you and your company? It is very important. Without our community, we are nothing, and we have nothing. 

What leadership qualities are most important to you and your company? To have master-servant qualities. That would include humility, empathy, stewardship, and awareness.

PERSONAL

Formative influences/events: What influences me is the hunger to be successful.

Key accomplishments: I feel that my key accomplishments are to be able to build a company from the ground up and have the complete support of my team to run operations smoothly if I am not involved.

Hardest lesson learned: One of the hardest lessons I have learned is that I need to make sure that I am taking time to invest in the people that I have around me—especially my team.

Next big goal: By the time I turn 60, I would like to own 60 locations for various brands.

Best advice you ever got: That hard work pays off, but not only hard work: hard work will always pay off. 

Favorite book: My favorite book is the Bible

What’s your passion in business? Honestly, it would be the people. To be able to serve our different communities is my passion. 

MANAGEMENT

Business philosophy: My business philosophy is creating a culture of inclusiveness and belonging where all are welcome, exceeding customer expectations in everything we do, holding ourselves accountable at every step, embracing change and innovation, and looking for new ways to grow our organization and ourselves.

Management method or style: I like to empower my people to give them the opportunity to thrive. It’s not a dictatorship. We have to work together to get to the bigger picture. Yes, I started the company. Yes, I am the owner, but I could not do this without the help of my team.

Greatest challenge: Ensuring that my team and my community are taken care of. 

How close are you to operations? I’m in my stores daily. There’s nothing in the store that I can’t do. I go to a store, and I’m in conversation with the managers, the crew, and the customers. I work right alongside the rest of my team. Anything they do I will do as well. I treat them like family because they are my family.

How do you hire and fire, train and retain? I entrust my area managers and GMs with that responsibility. I visit stores and share my vision and feedback with them.

COVID-19

What have been the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business? Employees—nobody wanted to work. I think everyone was just scared. It was something we haven’t faced. We had to adjust, and our community still needed to be fed. In the beginning, some days we only had two or three people in the store, but they still showed up, adjusted to the safety guidelines, and were there.

BOTTOM LINE

2024 goals: My 2024 goals include continuous growth. I would like to add at least seven more stores by the end of the year. 

Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? There is no measurement. As long as there is continuous positive growth, that’s all that matters to me.

Vision meter: Where do you want to be in five years? 10 years? In five years, to have 60 locations open. In 10 years, the sky’s the limit, honestly.

What are you doing to take care of your employees? I do not like to call them my employees. They are my familial co-workers. I do whatever it takes to take care of them just like I would want someone to do for me. 

What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? I don’t have one. I love what I do and have built people around me who have the same compassion I have.

Published: May 3rd, 2024

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