Famous Toastery, the 25-plus unit better breakfast, brunch and lunch franchise, has announced the addition of Joe Gillie to its executive team as Vice President of Operations. Gillie will play an instrumental role in supporting incoming franchise owners as the brand moves closer to achieving its goal of reaching 50 units — doubling its current footprint — by 2024.
Gillie brings many years of experience in the restaurant and franchising industries. Most recently, Gillie worked as Chief Financial Officer for Charleston Hospitality Group, which includes several restaurant brands, including Toast All Day. Prior to that, Gillie worked with a number of legacy quick-service restaurant brands, including Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, both in operations and on the financial end. Gillie also has experience on the franchisee level as the Chief Operating Officer for a restaurant group that owned 18 Popeyes franchise locations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“Basically, I’ve worked in every role imaginable in the restaurant industry,” says Gillie. “I started working in restaurant kitchens 30 years ago, and have worked my way up to general manager, franchisee and executive.”
While looking to get back into operations this year, Gillie discovered the opportunity to join the Famous Toastery team and was immediately drawn to the ‘famous’ better breakfast, brunch and lunch brand.
“I was tired of sitting behind a desk, and wanted to be hands-on in restaurants again,” said Gillie. “I knew about Famous Toastery and its scratch menu and loved the better breakfast segment. It is a white-hot segment in the restaurant industry right now. I also knew the North Carolina market well — I am from the Triangle area. I started the conversation with CEO Robert Maynard and heard about the aggressive growth plan and that was very exciting. I felt like I could offer the benefit of my experience in the growth trajectory of the system. I knew we’d make a great team.”
As Vice President of Operations, Gillie’s role is to oversee both corporate and franchised Famous Toastery restaurants, support relationships with franchisees and ensure that the procedures and processes in place are being met consistently on a systemwide basis.
“My role as part of the franchisor team is to offer the benefit of advice, experience and coaching,” says Gillie. “I will be sharing suggestions on best practices within the restaurants, as well as vetting and training new franchisees. My primary role is to coach, mentor and help with initiatives within the system, whether that be updated product lists, new procedures or vendor relationships. Franchisees are paying us a royalty fee for the benefit of our expertise, and we owe it to them to support them in every way possible.”
From the initial onboarding to long after the grand opening, Famous Toastery provides franchisees with the support and training needed to establish a successful business in their local community.
Looking ahead, Maynard is confident that Gillie’s addition to the leadership team will help fuel the brand’s success as it grows out of its home market of Charlotte, closing out the Carolinas and further expanding into Virginia and Tennessee.
“We are at a better point than ever before to enter new markets, especially beginning with our home state of North Carolina, where consumers know us,” says Maynard. “With the strong foundation we already have, we’re poised for growth. And with expert guidance from Gillie, someone who knows nearly every aspect of the franchise and restaurant industries, we have a winning team in place who will be able to support owners through every step.”
With a marketing plan to saturate the Carolinas, Virginia and Tennessee, Maynard’s vision is to sell eight to 10 deals in 2022 and to open four to six restaurants next year. Looking long-term into 2024, Maynard and his team are aiming to have 50 open restaurants. The rollout strategy is to first target Charlotte, then the Triangle, then the Blue Ridge Mountains before expanding elsewhere.
“There is a lot of untapped potential right now,” said Gillie. “We have a high-level, high-energy executive team that understands how to grow this concept the right way. Our recipes stand out in the industry and our freshness is unparalleled. We create operational processes around keeping that integrity of quality and making sure that we have the systems so franchisees don’t have to compromise. Breakfast is also a desirable daypart and we have the quality of life benefit for owners and team members, which helps us stand out in this competitive labor environment. Many of the differentiators are there — we are not reinventing the wheel, we are just taking what was already working and making it consistent as we scale. With this model in place, the sky’s the limit for Famous Toastery and I’m thrilled to be part of the team.”
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