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Published on: January 8, 2019

Talk to any owner in the restaurant business these days, whether it’s fast food, fast casual or fine dining, and they will talk about the challenge of finding and retaining good employees. At Tropical Smoothie Cafe, where many of the employees are in high school or college, there are great opportunities to connect with young people and teach them skills that they can use at work, at school, and beyond. Here are three stories of our Franchise Owners making a difference in the lives of their employees.

Dennis and Nicole Drake own two Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchises in Virginia, but their accomplishments don’t end there. Dennis is a Defense Department adviser, and Nicole is an aerospace engineer. In those roles, they manage teams all over the world. As Franchise Owners, their leadership extends closer to home, helping set their employees up for success.

During the hiring process, Nicole and Dennis set expectations and emphasize the importance of education for their prospects. And once they hire an employee, they offer help with resumes for college students and grads and keep their Cafe open late during final exams so their team has a quiet place to study. They also promote the quality of determination to their employees by giving them team challenges and competitions where they can receive recognition and a bonus.

The Drakes are realistic about how long their employees will stay with Tropical Smoothie Cafe, but they tell them that there are leadership opportunities within their franchise if they want them.

“If you have aspirations to be a leader, you can move up the ladder here. We’re extremely proud that both of our managers were some of our first hires,” said Nicole.

Robb Good echoes the Drakes’ commitment to mentoring his crew members. He employs 50 people between his two current Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise locations in Joplin, MO, and says his retention strategy starts with his very first interview and continues during orientation and training.

Once he sets employees up for success, he works hard to give them challenges and encouragement to keep them motivated. And then there are the parties. He hosts fun-filled holiday and summer parties for his crew where they are recognized and rewarded with swag, as well as cash prizes. Clearly, it is paying off. He has a waiting list of people who want to work for him and says he has heard from former employees who tell him how thankful they are to have worked there.

Robb also pays it forward by offering his hiring insights to other franchise business owners in a podcast hosted by his daughter.

Another person going above and beyond as a Franchise Owner is Matt Mawdsley, a numbers guy, who in his former life was a stockbroker in Missouri. When he went looking for an investment opportunity, he had two objectives:

“I wanted an investment that would be financially rewarding, and I wanted the chance to give back to the young people in my community,” said Mawdsley.

Now, as the Franchise Owner of multiple Tropical Smoothie Cafes, he teaches life skills and coaches his crew members on the best ways to serve their customers. He believes that mentoring his crew and modeling the Tropical Smoothie Cafe culture is one of the best ways to serve his customers.

“I teach my employees that part of our mission is to deliver exceptional service and products. And by doing that we will build customer loyalty and we will all succeed together.”

Learn how you can mentor the young people in your community by becoming a Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchise Owner. Complete our form to learn more.

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