Family first! 3 keys to creating a succession plan


We are currently working together as Amazing Brandz, owner of 18 Tropical Smoothie Cafe (TSC) locations in Orlando, Sarasota and Fort Myers, Florida, as well as three future Florida locations of Another Broken Egg Cafe in the Greater Montreal area. Lee County. We had been separately franchised with TSC since July 2013. Then, in 2018, we decided to merge our activities and operate under the Amazing Brandz banner.

Businesses tend to have a variety of personalities at the helm, and ours is no exception. Ray is a visionary, excellent at negotiating deals and seeing the big picture. His wife Joy is the prime contractor, tirelessly ensuring that no detail is overlooked. Andrew shines in the middle, using his customer service and communication skills to implement these big ideas.

The three of us believe in the family culture we have created, and our management teams and employees have thrived with the TSC brand. In this environment, we find that customers are generally happier, and it’s an easier schedule. We saw the same type of opportunity with Another Broken Egg Cafe, with its attractive one-team business model and operational simplicity.

As we look further ahead at our long-term growth plans and the future of Amazing Brandz, we have the security of knowing that we are in this business together as a family. We can build on each other’s strengths, learn from our differences and set the course for a smooth transition as Andrew finally takes the helm. Here are a few things we have learned since going into business together.

Play on your strengths

Successful businesses put people in a position to win by playing on their skills. The merger of our companies has given each of us the opportunity to focus on the tasks we love most and master best. We’ve also learned to collaborate and continually shift our workloads so that each person brings their best gifts to the table.

For example, Andrew was happy to hand over the accounting and payroll responsibilities to Joy and to have the opportunity to work more closely on operations and regular communication with our district managers. This division of labor worked very well for them for the first few years. Now we see new opportunities for each of them to take on new responsibilities that will allow them to grow and develop different skills.

Joy’s attention to detail was a gift to the books. Now we have the opportunity for her to take on the role of COO so that Andrew can take a more senior leadership role in the development arena. Negotiating leases and planning for future growth alongside Ray, who has decades of experience after 29 years as a multi-unit Meineke franchisee, will be a great way for Andrew to hone his skills in this area.

Learn from generational differences

Ray’s father grew up in a generation that firmly believed in duty and determination, pushed and worked harder… until his untimely death at 71. Ray saw the consequences of this work ethic firsthand, but he also recognized the benefits of getting involved. work to build a business. Self-employed since 1984, Ray is a problem solver. He’s been there, done it, and his wisdom means he knows when to pursue the right idea, even though he wasn’t the only one thinking about it.

Andrew was fortunate enough to grow up with a front row seat watching Ray’s business relationships. He also learned the ropes of customer service as a student working for The Walt Disney Company. His millennial mindset and Disney experience give him a new perspective on customer service that serves Amazing Brandz well.

We’ve both learned to compromise and work together when the inevitable differences of ideas collide between a baby boomer and a millennial. Ray usually needs time to sort out a few things in his head; then he’ll call Andrew to chat. Andrew usually has a twist or two to Ray’s ideas that improve the plan, and we chart a way forward from there. We respect the skills and life lessons that each of us brings, and we allow our different but complementary styles to coexist.

For example, the franchise model means there is a good process to follow in our business, which works really well for Ray’s personality. He was an award-winning franchisee at Meineke for three decades because he flourished in that structure, building his long and successful career one smart step at a time. Andrew’s influence can be felt when he resolves a problem a little outside the box or by being more open to adaptations and change.

Prepare early

In our fourth year of working together as the Amazing Brandz, we’ve found our rhythm. Our TSC locations are doing well and we are developing new cafes. We have branched out into full service restaurant ownership with Another Broken Egg Cafe and are moving forward with plans to open our first in Lee County.

Our experience as multi-unit franchisees has helped us recognize that there is a tipping point as your business grows. Once you get past 15 stores, the workload increases rapidly. Just as it’s important to build your team up front by adding employees and dividing up tasks well in advance of the critical moment, we build our team up front for possible succession.

Andrew is starting his Executive MBA and growing as a leader every day. He devotes time and effort to networking, securing appointments to boards of directors and committees. The transition will be done organically over the next 2-5 years as he takes on more development tasks and gains more industry experience.

In the process, we are grateful for this time spent together to continue to learn from each other, leading by example and putting family first.


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