Tammy Wright, a Ricky’s All Day Grill co-franchisee in Regina, Saskatchewan, possesses a cheerful personality that’s as warm and sunny as the sunny-side up eggs her guests can order from the restaurant’s famous breakfast menu. Little wonder Tammy and her business partner, Chris Diana, have become role models for all Ricky’s franchisees. Their five-year-old restaurant located in the Best Western Seven Oaks Hotel, is now one of their community’s most popular dining spots for locals and travelers alike. In 2010, Tammy and Chris won Ricky’s Franchise of the Year honors for their region, that encompasses Saskatchewan and Southern Alberta.
Relying on each other’s strengths, they have carved up the responsibilities for operating the 5,000-square-foot restaurant, lounge and banquet facility that employs 35 people and serves more than 2,500 guests each week.
Drawing upon her experience in the hospitality industry, Tammy handles the financial and customer relations side of the business. Chris’s domain is the kitchen. Tammy and Chris had many options when they went in search of a restaurant franchise opportunity, but needed a concept that was well-suited to the hotel’s image and brand. Fortunately, Ricky’s has plenty of experience working with restaurants in hotel settings with their comprehensive hotel partner program. “We looked at numerous concepts before deciding,” says Tammy. “At the end of the day, we found everything we wanted in a Canadian, casual family restaurant that serves three day parts amid a colourful, friendly atmosphere.”
In replacing another restaurant at the hotel with their Ricky’s franchise, their strategy was to serve hotel guests and to attract people who weren’t staying there. “We wanted a strong breakfast menu, because there were few competitors in our neighborhood serving breakfast.” Says Tammy, who adds the strategy produced positive results, “our parking lot is always full. We’re very busy.”
Tammy cites an extensive franchise support program as another reason she and Chris went with the chain. “They were with us all the way through our training in Calgary and are active participants in our success,” she says. “Chris also visited one the chain’s busiest franchises in Chilliwack, B.C., to see how its kitchen operated. And franchisees count on strong marketing support, so they can concentrate on what they do best.”
Ricky’s customer service and restaurant design also resonated with the pair. Tammy appreciates the inclusion of such creature comforts as fireplaces, seven plasma-screen TVs hosting anything from sports to cartoons, treasure chests for the children and a private dining area that seats up to 40 people.
In an industry known for constant turnover of staff, she is pleased to point out six of their original employees are still with them. "I have an outstanding team devoted to making sure our guests feel at home, such as by getting them promptly seated with beverages,” she says. "We have to respond to the needs of the business - and that means the needs of our guests."
The experience of running their own business has been both challenging and rewarding, with every day bringing new opportunities that stimulate their creativity. "Besides the opportunity of meeting many new people every day, it's seeing a new venture grow and succeed,” says Tammy. “And you never quit learning, whether it be from a staff member or customer feedback."
Based upon their experience so far, the co-franchisees now have plans to open a second Ricky’s in Regina. Judging from the success they have achieved, they have an endless supply of creativity to call upon.