Cultures - Sr. Marketing Dir., Jennifer Ma

Date: SEP 4th, 2013

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Jennifer joined MTY Group in January 2008 as the Senior Marketing Director and has been involved in leading the marketing and brand development of several chains, including Cultures, Vanellis, Koya Japan, Tiki-Ming, Sukiyaki and Villa Madina. She has spear-headed the revitalization of the Cultures brand and has been integral in introducing key menu items, including the suite of gourmet sandwiches and the Cultures bowls. Prior to joining MTY Group, Jennifer worked at Health Net, a health insurance organization in Los Angeles in their product development and management team. Jennifer received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Immunology (Honors) and a Minor in Management (concentration in marketing) and a Master of Science (Honors) from McGill University.


BeTheBoss: What is the Cultures franchise opportunity all about?

Cultures is about serving wholesome and delicious food to health-conscious customers. Becoming a Cultures franchisee is more than just business - it's being part of a lifestyle, a health revolution. You will be joining a network containing other passionate entrepreneurs who have also committed themselves to a health revolution.


BeTheBoss: Who is your ideal candidate for a Cultures franchise?

We would ideally prefer candidates with experience in running and/or owning a restaurant however we have a strong operations team that will work with franchisees with all levels of experience. Franchisees should have a positive attitude, a determination for success and an entrepreneurial spirit.


BeTheBoss: What type of training and support do you offer Cultures?

Cultures is part of the MTY Group, a leading Canadian franchisor with 26 brands under management and over 2,200 units worldwide. We provide site selection support to all of our franchisees as well as a comprehensive 2-week training program where our operations team will go through all the recipes and provide theoretical and hands-on training. This training along with pre-opening onsite training and post opening onsite training by our experienced operations team will prepare the new Cultures franchisee to open and operate their new store. We also provide marketing support to all of our franchisees by maximizing the brand’s exposure across all markets and providing local store marketing tools.


BeTheBoss: What are some of the advantages in being a Cultures franchisee?

As part of the MTY Group, a Cultures’ franchisee will belong to a network of over 2,200 locations worldwide under 26 banners. MTY Group is a master in quick-service franchising and is among the foremost quick-service companies in Canada. MTY's core strength lies in brand development, purchasing power, site selection, operational excellence and co-branding synergies. Its multi-banner strategy has allowed it to become a leader in its class. All of our Cultures franchisees have access to these core competencies that exists within the MTY organization.


BeTheBoss: Are you a member of any Associations?

Cultures belongs to the CRFA (Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association).


BeTheBoss: Tell us a little about the quick service restaurant market?

The quick-service market is extremely competitive as there are many new entrants. Customers have many choices in terms of food options therefore it is important to always stay ahead of the competition by providing healthy, unique and affordable meals. Cultures is a leader in the sandwich and salad quick-service industry in Canada with over 55 locations worldwide. We have been serving light and delicious foods to health conscious customers for over 30 years and continue to remain a premier destination. Cultures has remained at the forefront of its quick-service category because we are always setting trends in our menu offering. We have a strong corporate team that is constantly developing new and exciting recipes and ensuring that the Cultures brand name is continuously promoted and advertised.


BeTheBoss: How successful is your company today and what are your future growth plans?

Cultures has been serving Canadians coast to coast for over 30 years and expansion continues to occur across all provinces as well as internationally. We are very meticulous in our site selection process as it plays a vital part in the success of the business. With over 55 locations nationwide, we are a well-recognized brand that is always garnering interest among the franchise community as well as high-profile real estate companies.


BeTheBoss: What are your franchisees saying about the business?

All of our franchisees are hard-working and dedicated to the Cultures brand and are our greatest brand ambassadors. Several members of our franchise network are multi-unit owners, a testament to their success and their devotion for the Cultures brand.


BeTheBoss: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

First of all, it’s important to be ready to work hard and be dedicated to building the business within their community. No matter the strength of the franchise brand, franchises rely heavily on the support and patronage of their local community in order to succeed. Secondly, it is key select a reputable franchisor with a strong track record, such as the MTY Group as they have strong corporate teams and solid relationships within the industry. Lastly, I would advise them to do their homework – research the industry, speak to the existing franchisees within the system and make sure to be well informed about what it takes financially and operationally to run a successful business.


BeTheBoss: In your opinion, why do you think that Cultures would be a great opportunity for someone?

Cultures is a wonderful opportunity for someone who enjoys living and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Our motto “Choices that will Love you Back” is about putting our customers’ well-being first and this is what we ask of all of our franchisees. Owning a Cultures franchise is not just about business, it’s also about making a positive impact on our customers’ lives every day.