Thomas "Tab" Broome has spent most of his professional life in the restaurant and franchise business. He's seen it all - learned a lot - and is one franchisee who knows how to manage a chain of restaurants.
His professional story begins with a restaurant group in Raleigh, N.C. At the time, the company ran a string of Darryl's restaurants - a place that looked a lot like Applebee's, only with a little more variety and flair - a group of 11 Pizza Inns, and the Angus Barn. General Mills swooped in and bought the pizza places and family restaurant business and Broome got a chance to work for a large restaurant corporation.
"They offered me a job," he says, but it would have required him to move to Florida, and that wasn't a change that Broome wanted to make. Looking back, he has no regrets. General Mills later sold those businesses. But better things were opening up for him in North Carolina.
He signed on with Scottish Food Systems in Laurinburg, N.C, a franchise company that traces its history back to 1964, when Edwin Pate, Jr., signed a franchise contract with Colonel Harland Sanders and a contract with Hardee's Food Systems.
Ten years later, Broome took a career side trip, and bought his own restaurant. After four years, he had a firsthand knowledge of every aspect of running your own food operation.
"When you're not in a franchise operation, you basically do it all," he says.
The most valuable lesson, perhaps, was that he felt best suited to be working for Scottish Food Systems - and he went back. In 2007, with the company's president retiring after 23 years at the helm, Broome was promoted from company vice president to the top job.
Hard work is part of his character. Growing up on his grandmother's farm provided the kind of down-to-earth lessons in good work habits that still guide his career. And it's helped steer his two brothers through successful careers of their own.
At 51, there are still plenty of challenges ahead. But through good times and adversity, Broome has been learning every step of the way. Some of that know-how is on display in every franchise restaurant operated by Scottish Food, where you find that the secret sauce for success is good old Southern hospitality. And that's a standard that Broome helps establish every day at 27 KFCs and 8 Pizza Inns.
Name: Thomas A. "Tab" Broome
Company: Scottish Food Systems Inc
No. of units (by brand): 27 KFCs and 8 Pizza Inns
Family: Broome married his wife, Beth, 29 years ago and has a daughter, Brooks, in college.
Years in current position: Two-and-a-half years
Years in franchising: 26 years
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