Balancing Act

Being hands-on at both of his locations is a must for this franchisee. See how he does it.

By Devlin Smith • Feb 24, 2003

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As much as we'd like to, there's no way we can be in two places at once. But that doesn't mean Chad Jolley doesn't try. The franchisee of two Hogi Yogi/Teriyaki Stix locations in Utah, co-branded stores that sell sandwiches, frozen yogurt and teriyaki bowls, Jolley is all about being a hands-on owner.

"The owner, the one who's got the most invested, should be spending the most time in the restaurant," says Jolley, 33, who's been a franchisee since 1996. "You're the person with the most to gain or lose."

For the six days a week his two stores are open, Jolley spends half his time in one shop then heads off to the other. Luckily, the locations, one in Bountiful and the other in Riverdale, are only 20 minutes apart.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Jolley spends the first part of the day with some of his 17 employees at his Bountiful location. The store opens at 10:30, but before that, there's bread to bake and meats, vegetables and cheeses to prepare for Hogi Yogi, as well as chicken, rice, noodles and vegetables to get ready for Teriyaki Stix. Jolley says he gets in at least an hour before opening "to make sure the quality and the freshness are at their very highest."

Once the store is open, Jolley, a married father of three, works at every aspect of the business, balancing administrative duties with various tasks around the restaurant. The lunch rush is 11 to 1, after which Jolley has a brief summary meeting with his employees, discussing what went well and identifying what needs to be improved.

Around 2:30, Jolley heads off to the Riverdale store, which has 21 employees. Afternoons also involve baking bread and preparing ingredients. Jolley stays at this store until about 7, leaving after the dinner rush dies down.

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays mornings are spent at the Riverdale location and afternoons in Bountiful. This split schedule gives Jolley the ability to keep tabs on the employees and operations at each store. "It's important from the operations standpoint that the owner knows how all the food looks, how our customer service is being administered, just knowing what's going on in my restaurant," he says.

When he can't be in his stores, Jolley depends on a secret shopper program and video surveillance to ensure things are running as they should. "We have at least five secret shoppers per week and those are at designated times when I'm not going to be there. That's an important tool," he explains. "We also have a camera system in both our restaurants, so we're able to observe and videotape customer service and just the operations of the restaurant."

In addition to the customer secret shopper program, Jolley also has employees act as secret shoppers. "It was a spinoff of the secret shopper program. I felt if we had some key people from our staff come in at time they weren't working, they could give us some good insight," he says. "They come in just like a customer would, but can critique a little closer."

Jolley gathers all the information and feedback from the customer and employee secret shoppers and the video surveillance during the week. He reviews his findings with his staff during their weekly managers' meeting.

As if spending up to 12 hours each day running two cobranded restaurants isn't enough, Jolley plans to open more, including one with a bakery concept currently being tested by Hogi Yogi/Teriyaki Stix corporate. While future locations will be close to Jolley's existing stores, he knows he won't be able to visit more than two stores every day.

But that doesn't mean he won't be as closely involved. "In a hands-on operation, you see what's going on in every aspect of your business," Jolley says. "Having a presence there is crucial, so all your team knows you and has a good feel for your expectations."

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