Mutual Respect, Working as a Team is the Foundation of this Franchisee’s SuccessAuthor: Smoothie King
Smoothie King franchise owner Al Woods wants to be a member of the King’s Klub, a prestigious group of franchisees who achieve more than $1 million in annual sales – but that’s only a stepping stone. Ultimately, he wants to reach $1 million in revenue.
“It’s not something we just write on the board and forget about,” Al explained. “We talk about it daily, weekly.”
Having spent more than a decade as a professional football player, and having created two successful companies already, you can’t blame him for having a competitive streak.
However, Al’s game plan for reaching his ambitious business goal goes beyond a single-minded focus on a sales number. He knows that the only way to get there is by developing a cohesive team of individuals who love what they do, feel respected, are empowered in their roles and are committed to fostering exceptional guest experiences.
Growing Up with Smoothie King
Smoothie King was consistently part of Al’s life growing up in Jennings, Louisiana. After high school football practices and games, Al’s mom would always bring him an Angel Food™ smoothie, knowing it wouldn’t be too heavy and would help him recharge after several hours on the field.
As a student at Louisiana State University, the routine continued as his physical endurance was pushed even harder playing for the Tigers.
“After making it to the NFL and I finally got a chance to own a Smoothie King, I jumped at it,” Al said.
While owning a smoothie bar franchise is a relatively new venture, Al has already established himself as an entrepreneur. Previously, he and his cousin and business partner, Donovan Calvin, opened a real estate business, through which they purchase properties, rehab them and rent them to tenants. Al also started his own trucking company.
After attending a Discovery Day in New Orleans where he was able to meet the company’s leadership team and learn the ins and outs of owning a smoothie franchise, Al was energized and knew it was the right opportunity.
He and his business partner opened their first Smoothie King store in Crosby, Texas, in 2019.
A Team-Based Approach to Franchise Management
As a resident of Louisiana, Al commutes to Crosby on a regular basis to keep his finger on the pulse of his business.
“I go at least every other weekend to see the flow of business, see if the guests are happy and make sure my employees are doing what they need to do,” said Al.
Candra Calvin, the wife of Al’s business partner Donovan, manages the store and has worked hard to build a team that fosters high employee retention. Team member ages range from teenagers to some individuals who are middle-aged. The common thread that runs between them all is they feel respected at work and are genuinely happy to be there.
Al has fostered an environment that emulates the work ethic he’s built throughout his career in athletics.
“I always want to maintain professionalism, which can be as simple as being on time,” said Al. “You always want to be respectful and build relationships based on trust.”
That level of trust goes all the way to the top. Al maintains an open-door policy with all of his team members, meaning if someone ever faces an issue at work, they can always approach Al or Donovan to help get it resolved.
“You don’t have to feel like you need to be the hero,” Al added.
And when issues do arise, Al and his leadership team are quick to respond. There was an instance where a team member wrote something inappropriate on a dry erase board and they sat down with them to explain how that can have a negative impact on the overall store performance. The employee learned from the experience and everyone moved on in a positive direction.
Maintaining that smooth vibe extends to guest interactions as well. With social distancing protocols put in place in stores, there have been instances where people don’t want to follow the rules by standing six feet apart.
“We simply remind them that we’re asking everyone to follow these standards in an effort to keep all of us safe,” said Al.
By framing the conversation in a way that prioritizes everyone’s wellbeing, the situation gets resolved quickly, he added.
In the end, everyone feels respected and cared for.
Get Started on Your Entrepreneurial Journey
There has never been a better time to join our smoothie franchise. Get started by downloading the Smoothie King franchise kit today!
Photo credits: Crosby Chamber of Commerce