Sometimes the corporate and franchise sides of a company can feel miles apart, and that’s where Glynn Chambers, vice president of brand expansion for Capriotti’s and Wing Zone, comes in to bridge the gap.
Chambers began her career in the restaurant industry working her way up the corporate ladder at Quizno’s before becoming a Quizno’s franchisee. Throughout her career, she has straddled the fence between the franchising and corporate sides of the business, and now in her newly evolved role at Capriotti’s, Chambers spends most of her days acting as a liaison between franchisees and the company as she helps them get stores up and running. Chambers’ role is crucial component of a franchising business that not all companies focus on.
“Having always been on the franchise side of the business, I can use my power of influence and persuasion as much as possible to try and get franchise partners to do the right thing or help them get to the right place,” Chambers said. “Since I was actually a franchisee myself, I'm able to look them in the eye, tell them that I understand what's going on, whether it be pre- construction or post-construction, and talk through it with them. I have that credibility because I have all of these years of experience.”
Chambers’ role has expanded and evolved over the years. Before Capriotti’s hired a chief restaurant officer this year, Chambers was in charge of the training department, and now she mainly focuses on onboarding for new franchisees and the store opening process, from getting the lease, to working on the layout and design of the restaurant, to getting set up with kitchen equipment and permitting. She works with multiple departments within the company to make sure that franchisees are set up with everything from technology to team members.
Then, once franchisees successfully have their stores up and running, Chambers said that they constantly stay in touch for feedback from franchising partners, as well as figuring out what works and what doesn’t work, particularly in different geographic markets, where demographics, revenue, and community needs might differ greatly.
“We put the processes and procedures in place, and if our partners are willing to follow them, we can truly help them gauge their success,” Chambers said. “If they don't have that support, how are they going to be able to continue to expand? We don't want to just sell you one restaurant, we want to help you open multiple restaurants. As soon as you get open and you're successful, we’re looking to help you open stores two and three.”
Focusing on franchisee success and interest in opening up more stores down the line aligns with Capriotti’s ambitious expansion goals of both brands, as the company hopes to have 500 restaurants open by the end of 2025. Chambers’ goal is to make sure that the store pipeline is as free flowing as it can be, barring outside issues like supply chain or construction holdups, and she looks forward to working with more first-time franchisees to make sure that goal is met.
“Trust the process,” Chambers said. “Believe and know that when you open your own franchise store, they have the processes in place to help you be successful. The reason you buy into a franchise is because it’s already been done. You’re not having to recreate the wheel. Learn from us.”