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Women in Foodservice
Famous Toastery Of Ashburn2[58].jpg
The Famous Toastery store in Ashburn, Va.

This Famous Toastery franchisee worked her way up from guest to ownership

Angela Goodman used to work at a Fortune 500 company and now is an International Franchise Association Franchisee of the Year

If founders, chefs and other creatives are the beating heart of the restaurant industry, then franchisees are the veins delivering their ideas to all corners of the globe. Franchising is critical to the success of the industry, allowing brands to quickly scale their big ideas using other people’s capital. And whether it’s a mom-and-pop restaurant owner with one or two franchised restaurants or a seasoned veteran whose influence in the industry is well-known, franchisees — with all their individual attributes, styles and personalities — make a huge impact on the success of a business.

In this week’s installment of Franchisee Spotlight, we spoke with Angela Goodman, owner of Famous Toastery in Ashburn, Va., who was named a 2023 International Franchise Association Franchisee of the Year. We spoke about how she made the journey from starting out as a Famous Toastery fan and corporate employee at a Fortune 500 company to becoming a successful business owner.

Store Count: One store in Ashburn, Va. (a suburb of Washington, D.C.)  

Career background

I spent 15 years in commercial HVAC-- I have an engineering background and worked for Carrier Corporation for 15 years. As a sales engineer, I designed mechanical systems and was a general manager for one of their commercial service divisions that that operated about $25 million worth of business in the D.C. marketplace. The company began moving in a different direction than I saw myself going, so I decided to get out of that company and purchase a Famous toaster franchise…. I had always gravitated toward entrepreneurial things, so I decided that it's time for me to go out on my own.

Journey to restaurant franchising

My very first job was at a Waffle House when I was 16, and that was the extent of my restaurant experience… So, leaving HVAC and going into the restaurant world was quite a culture shock from understanding food costs to dealing with the general population every day. I've always had a passion for making sure that people had a good breakfast, so it was a natural fit in that way.

Why Famous Toastery

I had dined at a Famous Toastery in Charlotte…and was actually a regular customer at one of the original one of the original stores. When I found out that they started franchising, I knew the brand, and was confident in the food quality and the service model. Plus, I missed the food more than anything because they didn't have any locations in Virginia. They were, you know, new to franchising at the time, so I figured it wasn't going to be a very rigid franchise model, which allowed me to have some entrepreneurial spirit in the game at the time.

Advice to other would-be franchisees

You have to understand that [as a franchisee], your life is not your own. Once you are a business owner, you are involved 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You become a person who has to understand how to run an operation, a person who has to understand how to lead a team and how to serve the general public. So, leaving any career that you might be in you really become a servant to all of those things if you want to be successful as a franchisee, regardless of the franchise that you choose.

Building an award-wining business

I've owned the store for eight years. In the early years, I was there 24 hours a day, seven days a week blood, sweat, tears — all of that for three or four years. I built my team and have coached my team, and now I have the opportunity to do other things in my career as well. So, winning that award was a shock because I am not in my restaurant as much as I used to be. I was very humbled and honored and I'm just very blessed to be a part of a good franchise with a lot of good people…. I left the role I had at Carrier because I felt like I couldn't manage and serve my people with heart, and that is something that I have always done in all of the teams that I've been a part of. I care very deeply about the people who work alongside me and I don't see them as employees — they're more like family…. I strongly believe that that's why we are as successful as we are.

Teaching others

Right after COVID, I really had to strengthen the team to the point where I wanted to give them the wings to operate the store themselves. I still coach them from afar. I still handle some of the financials, the bookkeeping, and things like that to stay engaged with what's going on with the store…but now, I spend a lot of my time helping other small business owners to make their businesses better and to build a culture like I have.

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