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How These Franchises Established a Company Culture That Works

This story appears in the January 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Last winter, Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies moved its headquarters from the Denver Tech Center, a warren of office buildings and conference hotels along Interstate 25, to an old bank in Denver’s hipster enclave of City Park West. Instead of setting up drab cubicles, CEO Mike Weinberger insisted the office be decked out with surfboards and faux palm trees. He put in sandboxes and began stocking vending machines with free snacks and beer. There’s even complimentary fried chicken or pizza on Fridays. The 14 corporate employees and 200 franchisees of the system, who run 450 units, are encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops whenever sensible.

Illustrations by Istvan Banyai

Yes, it was a gambit to fit into the new neighborhood, but it’s also Weinberger’s attempt to keep his team and franchisees focused on what he considers one of his company’s most important assets: its culture.

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