Mary Brown's Franchisee - Stephanie Carfagnini
On March 8th 2014 Mary Brown’s officially celebrated the opening of its 100th store. This is a significant milestone for an independently owned and locally grown company, with roots in Newfoundland that date back to 1969.
For the past 12 years, the chain has consistently delivered Same Store Sales growth regardless of the market climate. They are the largest Canadian owned quick serve chicken chain in Canada, and to top it all their brand growth will fuel the expansion of at least another 100 stores within the next five years.
“There’s lots more to celebrate than just 100 stores”, says Stephanie Carfagnini who is the proud Franchisee of the Wellington store in Barrie Ontario, the chain’s 100th location. Stephanie goes on to confirm that the experience from day one and right through the process was top notch! Here’s her story…
Stephanie has a rich background in business and customer service, having worked for one of Canada’s largest banks. After six years as a branch manager and with a passion for customer service excellence, Stephanie knew she wanted to be working with people on a daily basis. She wanted to be her own boss, and have some level of flexibility that a mom with young kids would need.
Affordability, return on investment and pride in the brand were her top priorities when looking to invest in a franchise. Her team of investors would hold her feet to the fire, so her diligence on every angle of her homework was exceptional.
With a strong analytical background and equal amount of drive, ambition, and entrepreneurial spirit, Stephanie set her sights on finding a franchise company that not only could offer her an immediate opportunity for a business, but one which she could profitably grow with over time, given her vision for expansion. Stephanie’s research and diligence led her to knowing the opportunity was in the chicken industry, given its accessibility as a food item, perceived and real health benefits over other proteins and its multicultural appeal. Stephanie says that “given everything I wanted and the success criteria I had set for myself, Mary Brown’s was the perfect fit and met all of my expectations!”
Stephanie says, “From the very first meeting with Nigel Beattie, President and COO of Mary Brown’s, to the many liaisons with their franchise manager, from site selection to ensure a solid customer base, construction, training, and of course the store opening, the entire process was nothing short of phenomenal”. She continues to say that “the attention was exceptional – mostly instant response, strong follow up and not a detail missed or overlooked. The training process was engaging, detail oriented and very effective. I also benefited from getting a hands-on feel for the day-to-day activities I would be in charge of going forward.”
Stephanie speaks proudly of the brand's commitment to customer service. Since this has been a key area of focus in her previous positions, she easily adopted the Mary Brown’s approach to “Remarkable service”… every day, and with every customer. “I have implemented the fundamentals of this philosophy on a day in, day out basis, and have motivated my team to do the same – it is the only way to stand out from the crowd and rise above the mediocrity in the QSR market”. She goes on to say that “it is imperative I do so in order to maintain my healthy traffic which continues to grow week after week”. Recognition on its own, and at times in conjunction with small rewards is paying dividends already for Stephanie. “The staff love it”, says Stephanie, “and I have the assurance we are going the extra mile. I see my Guest numbers growing week upon week and I know that it’s a combination of great food and great service. There’s something about being part of a brand that believes in a down home, honest to goodness mentality that really struck a chord with me. I wasn’t buying into anything because it’s what I already believed.”
Beyond the rigour of the training, and the unique method which Mary Brown’s has developed in order to make the food preparation process easy and “fool proof”, there is commitment to total quality and perfection in every piece of chicken, every time.
Speaking of great food, Stephanie is a particularly strong advocate of Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken and Taters! The warmth of her smile and glint in her eye hints at somewhat of an “addiction”. In her uniquely confident way she says, “I love it! It is high quality; fresh hand-cut chicken and Taters done right in our store every day. There’s simply no comparison – we leave the competition in our breading dust!”
Stephanie is particularly proud of being a Franchisee of Mary Brown’s. “I certainly do not have any sense of entitlement, even though it is rather prestigious to be the 100th store” she says, “ beyond a Grand Opening with all the press and fanfare, what they have given me are the tools and techniques to establish and run a successful business so that I can meet my own targets and continue to deliver growth for this incredible brand.”