Trading in a Baseball Cap for a Smoothie King Crown

The interior of a fast food restaurant with red and white walls undergoes a transformation as customers trade in their baseball caps for Smoothie King crowns.

When Miami-based Smoothie King owner Fausto Faraldo scans a job applicant’s resume, he isn’t necessarily looking for hard skills or even comparable employment – he’s looking for sports or team-related experience.

“Ninety-five percent of the time, those people end up being my best employees,” he said.

This philosophy sprung from Fausto’s own background as a baseball player. He played first base at Barry University and then in the minor leagues. Along the way, he picked up habits and skills that last a lifetime, and he hopes the same is true of his employees.

Following His Passion

For Fausto, job candidates’ interests say a lot more about them than their grades or work history. He believes this because the same was true of him.

Never a motivated student, Fausto went to college to continue playing baseball. He used his full scholarship to earn a business degree and, upon graduating, played for two years in the minor leagues.

After retiring from baseball, this quick first baseman shuffled through a variety of careers – from real estate agent to actor. He pivoted quickly, however, when he saw the opportunity to invest in a franchise concept.

“I looked at different concepts, but I ended up going with Smoothie King because I knew the fitness trend was not going away anytime soon in Miami,” he said.

At 22 years old, Fausto bought his first Smoothie King location. Even though he had never felt invested in his business classes, something clicked, and he was off and running.

Ten years later, Fausto runs three Smoothie King locations in Miami. He’s still as quick as he always was, popping from store to store and devising new ways to improve upon the previous year. He now applies his high energy and agile mind to something other than baseball, but he uses the lessons the sport taught him every single day.

1. Create Structure

Fausto’s school experience was heavily regimented: straight from school to baseball practice, straight from practice to doing homework, and right back to school in the morning for 6 a.m. weightlifting. He and his teammates didn’t mind this schedule, as intense as it was, because it helped them stay organized and continually improve.

Now, Fausto still values structure, consistency and hard work. He sticks closely to the proven operations model to maximize his stores’ efficiency, and he visits his stores every single day.

“I don’t like to stay complacent. So if one year I have a great year, that’s cool. But the next year I want to do 5 percent better, 10 percent better. It’s kind of a sickness because I can never calm down,” he laughed. “But it’s served me well so far.”

2. Believe in the Concept

It was a huge decision for Fausto to invest his life’s savings in a franchise. After pursuing his passion for baseball for so many years, he wanted a venture that could bring him that same sense of purpose and drive. So Fausto’s investment in Smoothie King was more than a business move – it was everything he had.

“I didn’t get mom and dad’s money, I didn’t get a loan,” he said. “When you work for years and years to see that chunk in your bank account, and then suddenly that goes away because you invested in a concept, you have to really believe in that concept. And I did. I was so committed because I couldn’t afford for it to fail.”

3. Hire a Team, Not a Collection of Individuals

Excellent customer service, according to Fausto, is what keeps guests coming back. To achieve this, he tries to hire employees who are positive team players, as opposed to just experienced customer service workers or A+ students.

How to tell if applicants are a good team players? Consider looking for group activities and leadership roles on their resumes. Even better, you might put down the resumes and ask them what they like doing, Fausto said.

“A lot of times, I’ll have people come in to interview, and they have no experience and no resume. And I tell them that’s fine. I talk to them about what they enjoy,” he said. “The kids who are active and participating in these activities are more likely to work well in a team environment, to help other people out and to be willing to learn.”

Just like on a sports team, one bad attitude can bring the whole team down. Fausto is careful to hire employees with demonstrated teamwork skills and concrete interests – whether that’s sports, drama club or other passion projects.

To learn more about how to set your franchise business up for success, download a free Smoothie King Franchise Kit.


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