November 16, 2010 // Franchising.com // NEW ALBANY, Ohio – A simple introduction is all it took for Tim Hobart to kick his professional career into high gear. That introduction 12 years ago to Billy Downs, founder of bd's Mongolian Grill, created a path for Hobart's success, which today includes ownership of six bd's Mongolian Grill locations in Ohio and the honor of being the company's second Founders Award recipient.
"It's been an amazing 12-year journey with Billy and bd's Mongolian Grill," said Hobart, whose former college friend, Amy, now Downs' wife, made the introduction. "Professionally, I wouldn't have done it any other way. We were the first bd's Mongolian franchisee and I couldn't be more proud to continue growing the world's leading create your own stir fry concept."
Downs received the first Founders Award at last year's Workshop and presented Hobart with it at the company's Second Annual Workshop, recently held in Orlando, Fla., and appropriately themed, "Do You Believe in Magic." The prestigious honor acknowledges Hobart's commitment to the company's core values – an organizational mindset which promotes having fun, growth, community and teamwork, along with a culture of legendary service and "mongo magic."
"Tim personifies the types of restaurant owners and operators we have within our franchise system," added Downs, who sold bd's Mongolian Grill two and a half years ago and is actively involved in the business as a member of its Board of Directors. "He's continuously raising the bar by which we measure ourselves and our franchisees. Tim has been a great business colleague and someone I can call a friend."
In addition to the Founders Award, Hobart's Spartan Stir Fry, the official name of his business that owns the six restaurants and a nod to his alma mater Michigan State, earned the Franchise Group of the Year honor at the Workshop. Among the many factors leading to both acknowledgments, Hobart's group of restaurants maintains the highest average unit volume among franchise restaurants.
"Tim is truly a hands-on owner, someone who works closely with his general managers and their teams to make certain our guests have the best experience possible," said Rodger Head, CEO and president of bd's Mongolian Grill. "He's a selfless leader, who we turn to often for advice and who is passionate about our brand."
Hobart brought each of his restaurant's general managers with him to the Workshop to enjoy the honors and take part in the two-day educational seminar. Hobart's Spartan Stir Fry operates restaurants in Cleveland, Columbus, Beavercreek and now Toledo, which opened earlier this year and set a company record for first-week sales at more than $100,000.
bd's Mongolian Grill, where guests "rule the experience," first opened in 1992 in Royal Oak, Mich. bd's unique fun comes from its guests' ability to create their own "feast" from a variety of choice meats and seafood, fresh veggies & flavor-packed sauces, freshly cooked (Mongolian-style) on a large, flat grill. The chain has grown to 35 restaurants. Thirty-four locations are based domestically in 13 states, including 15 company-owned and 20 franchise restaurants. There is one franchise location in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. To learn more about bd's Mongolian Grill, visit www.GoMongo.com or call Tom Ragan, vice president of franchising, at (952) 288-2370 for more on current franchise opportunities.