Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

SEP 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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26 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • SEPTEMBER 2017 a pro you should know build her famous sandwiches with Thanksgiving leftovers. Lois Margolet loved the sandwich so much that she decided to put her aunt's creation on the menu of the original Wilmington sandwich shop. It became an instant hit. FE&S: Why do you consider the kid's menu important? AM: Our kid's menu offers simpler sandwiches such as turkey, ham and grilled cheese, while still maintaining Capriotti's commitment to high-quality products. For us, it's important to have this kid's menu so families can enjoy Capriotti's together and parents can feel good about what they're giving their kids. Both Jason and myself are dads, so we understand how important it is to have good options for families. FE&S: What is your day-to-day work like? AM: In my role, no day is the same. I am often visiting restaurants across the country, meeting with vendors and lead- ing brainstorms for new initiatives. I am always trying to think of ways to improve Capriotti's, and making sure everyone's voices are heard in that process. FE&S: How do you and Jason share responsibilities? AM: Overall, I handle high-level strat- egy for Capriotti's, while Jason handles the day-to-day leadership. This allows for a healthy balance of leadership and allowed us to clearly define our roles within the brand. Although Jason and I have differ- ent roles at the company, we still make sure to meet up, just the two of us, at least once every other week to discuss the health of any current initiatives and evaluate where things are going next. FE&S: What is your collaboration style like? AM: Jason and I have known each other since he was 9 and I was 11. We were neighbors in Las Vegas and realized that we actually were from the same town in California. We quickly became best friends, and both attended UNLV and became roommates. Jason was the one who introduced me to Capriotti's and got me hooked on the food. In college, we would eat there multiple times a week, sometimes for lunch and dinner. Now working at Capriotti's, Jason and I are still very close. When buying the company, we made sure to deter- mine our roles beforehand so as not to come across conflicts down the line. Our complementary personalities and respect for each other's time and boundaries have allowed us to maintain a healthy balance of friendship and our careers. FE&S: How do you feel the brand has evolved since you bought it? AM: Since buying the company, we have tripled in size. Even though it was an established brand, I had a lot of work to do and was basically starting from square one. Capriotti's has been able to perfect its operations model, and is now delving into an aggressive growth strategy, aiming to open 500 locations by 2025. FE&S: How do you work with franchisees? AM: I like to employ a groupthink strategy at Capriotti's, and make sure that our franchisees' voices are heard. They are the ones in the restaurants every day, so it is important to me to evaluate the feedback they provide me and gather their ideas for improvements. Capriotti's also utilizes a Business Mastery Coach Program. This program begins once a store opens, where coaches spend 180 days with a franchisee. Within 180 days of opening, the franchisee is then con- sidered a "master" of Capriotti's. This program allows all franchisees to have support, ensuring them of a successful opening process. FE&S: What are you looking for in your franchisees? AM: In our franchise partners, Capriotti's looks for people with high levels of business acumen, preferably with restaurant experience. These prospects should have a proven track record of growing brands and an un- derstanding of creating the customer experience — something that is very important to us. At Capriotti's, we like to think of our company as a family. We are look- ing for franchisees that can fit into our family environment while maintain- ing Capriotti's core values of passion, profitability and genuineness. FE&S: How do you maintain a solid culture of communication with franchisees? AM: I work to maintain a solid culture by practicing a participative leadership style. I thrive on groupthink, and like to give everybody the chance to collabo- rate and contribute their ideas. Even though my days are full as the CEO, I still make time to get to know everyone at Capriotti's. Whether it's having lunch with a colleague or simply having conversations in passing, I make sure to take the time to build these relationships and create a cohesive and participative culture. Each Capriotti's location roasts whole turkeys every night, roasts beef, makes homemade meatballs and coleslaw, among other items in-house.

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