Seth Brink is the President of Gyro Shack, a franchise with locations in Boise, Idaho and Tucson, Arizona. With an impressive career in leadership positions around the world, Seth is also the President of Arete Food Group, LLC, the parent company for Gyro Shack and Negranti Creamery.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Seth Brink shares his experience in international and domestic franchises
- How to recognize franchise opportunities for business growth
- Seth’s insights on growing a franchise to a multi-unit and multi-state level
- Marketing outreach strategies to expand your brand’s influence
- Seth discusses the value of offering quality ingredients in products
In this episode…
In this episode of the SpotOn Series, Chad Franzen welcomes Seth Brink, President of Gyro Shack and Arete Food Group, LLC. They discuss some of the biggest differences in the operations of international franchises, effective strategies for business growth, and understanding marketing outreach opportunities. Seth also shares his insights on building brand values on quality ingredients and the importance of developing a skill set.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show, powered by Rise25 Media. We featured top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world
Chad Franzen 0:20
Chad Franzen here co-host for the show where we feature top restaurant tours, investors and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn Series. SpotOn has the best-in-class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called SpotOn Restaurant, where they combine marketing software and payments all in one. They serve everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and Subway to small mom-and-pop restaurants. To learn more, go to spoton.com This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses to get ROI clients referrals and strategic partnerships through done for you podcast. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships with clients, referral partners and thought leaders in your space. There’s no better way to do it than through podcasts and content marketing. To learn more go to rise25.com or email us at email@example.com With more than 25 years in the food service industry, Seth Brink has spent many years building and growing brands. He built more than 30 Papa Murphy’s pizza locations both internationally and domestically. Currently, Seth spends his time as president of Arete Food Group or AFG. AFG owns Gyro Shack, a growing quick service franchise and their latest acquisition, Negranti Creamery a young sheep’s milk ice cream company. Seth, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?
Seth Brink 1:33
I’m well, Chad. Thanks for having me.
Chad Franzen 1:35
Hey, yeah, great to have you. Hey, if you don’t mind, take me kind of through your your journey, your career journey. I know you started as a mechanic in the US Air Force. So start there, and then kind of kind of take me through your experience in the restaurant industry prior to what you’re doing now.
Seth Brink 1:50
Yeah, so prior to going into the Air Force, I actually just worked. My first job was at a Papa Murphy’s pizza. Okay, and so I went into the Air Force. And of course, when, during my time I was, I went in to get money for school, and decided while I was there, that I was definitely not going into the restaurant industry when I got out. And lo and behold, I got out of the Air Force, and the first thing that happened is I was offered a job in the restaurant industry. So you know, just kind of how it works, I suppose. Right? And so I went back to southeast Idaho, and worked off and on for Papa Murphy’s pizza, managing for a franchisee there and in that market, and, you know, about two years later, they asked me to come in, because they it was so it was a family business. They had a market in southeast Idaho and Mr. Market and southeast Iowa. And one of the family members was leaving the Iowa market. And so they asked me to come on as a partner, and go out to Iowa and take over that market. And so, obviously, I took that opportunity was there for about three years kind of right size, the market, got it home and pretty well. And we decided to go down to the Nashville market. At that point in time, Papa Murphy’s was really growing at a pretty good clip. And so we took on that market with a 40 store deal to build out the whole Nashville DMA. So, seven years, we built 20 stores in that DMA. And about four years in the sun that I had replaced in Iowa came back. And at that point, I kind of knew that, you know, there was limited runway for me. And so I reached out to Papa Murphy’s International. They had just signed a big, multi unit, master franchise agreement for the Middle East and North Africa. And I chatted with some of the individuals there and said, Look, you know, I went to Saudi when I was in the Air Force, I’m stationed in Korea as well. You know, I’d love to go international. If you guys ever need somebody, about four months later, they called me and said, Hey, we are going to play somebody in Dubai. And so, you know, within a year of that conversation, my family and I were living in Dubai, acting as a liaison between the master franchise group and Papa Murphy’s International. Yeah, it was a great adventure. That’s, that’s one place I would move back to in a heartbeat just as a side note. And so we were there just over a year kind of in that tenure, Papa Murphy’s went public. And prior to them going public international was overseen by the chairman, which is fairly unorthodox. And so Papa Murphy’s went public. The CEO took over and in doing that his focus was out on international. So they, you know, rolled my job into somebody else’s and my bosses as well. And so I came back about eight months earlier than I was supposed to. When I came back I partnered with a franchisee, Papa Murphy’s franchisee in the Boise market. And, you know came on to help him run his stores. And at the time when we were our initial discussions decided that in order to keep me busy, we were going to have to find another brand. And so that’s where Gyro Shack came in. So we bought Gyro Shack in 2015. From Gus Zaharioudakis. At that point in time, it was just a to store to location, brand, double drive-thru. Old converted double drive-thru coffee shops converted into quick service to Euro brands. So we we sell gyro sandwiches, right, so we cut our beef lamb mix off the spit, and all fresh vegetables, fresh sauce and hummus and just a quick service, Euro high-quality product out of a coffee kiosk basically.
Chad Franzen 6:17
Seth Brink 6:18
Yeah. So that covered a lot of years there.
Chad Franzen 6:21
Yeah, definitely. So hey, how, how different is it to kind of, you know, produce and sell, take home pizzas taking big type pizzas in Dubai or internationally compared to here in the US.
Seth Brink 6:37
So it was it was very interesting, actually. So we went over there, I was not part of the team that that signed the agreement or anything like that. But my boss went over there shortly after the deal was signed prior to me coming off. And within two days, he had a conversation with the chairman that said, if you want these guys to succeed, they’re going to have to bake and deliver pizza. And so the population in that area of the country, specifically in Dubai is significantly different than it is in the US. If you live there, you know that 80% of the population are service workers. And that can be anywhere from construction workers, to Papa Murphy’s pizza workers. And all of those people live in dorm type situations. And they don’t have ovens. And so they have microwaves, but they don’t have. And so if you only do take and bake, you immediately cut out 80% of your population. And then as you start to look at it, so very stratified culture, right, you’ve got the Emiratis and the Arabs kind of at the top, and then it works down with Europeans, Americans, Brits, and so on and so forth. But when you’re at the very top of the echelon, and that’s, you know, call it 8% of the population, those people don’t cook. They have maids that cook for them. And then as you look at the ovens, it’s not like a typical American oven, where you set the oven at 425. It’s got a dial it says one through 10. And so you have to try and explain to them, okay, you need to set your oven on five, but watch it and you’re, you know, the people that buying it, aren’t the people cooking it? Does that make sense? Sure. So a big portion of my job was building, building out the processes with our partners over there on how we would bake the pizzas in the store so that we could then deliver them hot. And then alternatively, we still did take a bake but it was it’s a very small percentage of sales.
Chad Franzen 8:56
So you So you were able to pivot then when you realize that the market just wasn’t gonna work out for taking big exclusively.
Seth Brink 9:05
Absolutely. Luckily, the the partner that we had brought on who had an awesome, great amount of experience with Burger King in the Middle East, and they knew so when we got to do buy, and this was in 2013 Everybody delivered Burger King delivered Carl’s Jr delivered Pete I mean all the major pizza players that everybody delivers there because it’s such a it’s like a Manhattan is how I put it right. Everybody’s on the go people are vertically they don’t live horizontally. And so there’s just no choice
Chad Franzen 9:46
And how did it go? How did it go once you kind of made that pivot?
Seth Brink 9:50
It went great. And you know, we got the first few stores open and they all opened. Great, we you know, there’s always challenge is when you open a new brand and a new market. But it’s just a matter of getting out there, doing those events, the local store marketing and an outreach and you know, getting your name out there, right?[Continue to Page 2]