Former Commodity Broker Purchased New Jersey Filta Franchise in 2019, Moves to COO of the Brand
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Former Commodity Broker Purchased New Jersey Filta Franchise in 2019, Moves to COO of the Brand

April 23, 2024 // Franchising.com // ORLANDO, Fla. - Frustrated with the current state of his career, John Michals made the decision to leave his work as a commodities broker and take an entrepreneurial leap as a Filta Environmental Kitchen Services (Filta) franchise owner. Michals saw the immense value Filta offered customers after a ride-along with an acquaintance who owned a Filta franchise in NY. With little more than an insatiable will to succeed, Michals purchased the rights to a New Jersey territory and began with two employees (he was one) servicing 17 customers. Today, this franchise owner employs 20 people, has 14 mobile filtering units (MFUs) which service approximately 1,500 fryers weekly for 236 customers, and has recently moved to a dual position as COO for the brand while retaining his ownership role in New Jersey.

Filta makes commercial kitchens faster, cleaner, safer, and greener by micro-filtering existing cooking oil, providing bin-free waste oil collection, deep cleaning fryers, and recycling waste oil for biodiesel fuel. 

From 2019 to 2021 alone, Michals achieved 615% growth and today services 9 million pounds of oil annually. The franchise owned by Michals is the fourth largest in the Filta system nationwide.

Michals grew the business using an aggressive yet measured approach. Through horizontal growth, he increased the number of clients on his roster and the number of territories; he now serves 75% of New Jersey as well as parts of New York City. Through vertical growth, he expanded business at individual customers from the basic filtration service, called FiltaFry, by offering multiple commercial kitchen solutions including recycling waste cooking oil (FiltaBio), humidity control (FiltaCool), grease-free drain blockage control (FiltaDrain), and steam sanitization (FiltaClean).

Clients on Michals’ roster include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Meta, Montclair State University, TCNJ, Prudential Center, Barclays Center and the Federal Reserve in East Rutherford, N.J.

“We saw John’s meteoric success not only through a business lens but through a people lens,” said Filta VP of Franchise Development Rob Totten. “His talent-centric focus combined with a rigorous client-service business model has made him extraordinarily successful within our system. In a unique move, we carved out a way he could share his talent as COO of the entire brand, while retaining his ownership in New Jersey. We’re thrilled to have John on board in this expanded role.”

Jen Bonowitz now leads day-to-day operations in New Jersey, giving Michals room for his new COO role at the franchisor’s support center in Orlando while he still maintains ownership.

Bonowitz leads the 20-person staff in New Jersey, bringing 15 years of experience in the inner workings of commercial kitchens to Filta. Formerly an executive chef in a restaurant serviced by Michals, Bonowitz was originally hired as sales representative in early 2021 and was quickly promoted to Sales Director. She now serves as general manager.

“Jen had success early on because she was able to translate Filta’s value in a very practical way to chefs and kitchen executives,” said Michals. “Now as general manager, Jen continues to exceed expectations thanks to a combination of a practical management style, an ability to effectively communicate and build accountability amongst teammates and ultimately, a massive drive and determination to win.”

SOURCE Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions

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