As a former President of Reiser Group Sonic Management, Paul Reiser owned and managed 38 Sonic Drive-Ins in four different states. In 2021, he and his business partner sold their entire business, allowing Paul to focus more on video content creation, podcasting, and business investing.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Paul Reiser’s unique career path at Sonic Drive-In
- The key factor that can make restaurants and staff thrive
- Paul’s advice on dealing with the fear of closing in the middle of a pandemic
- How to design a good exit strategy and when to implement it
- Paul’s future plans in business and content creation
In this episode…
In this episode of the SpotOn Series, Chad Franzen welcomes Paul Reiser, video content creator and former President of Reiser Group Sonic Management. They talk about important elements that can turn around restaurant success, complying with pandemic rules while sustaining business profitability, and understanding the fundamentals of an effective exit strategy. In addition, Paul shares why content video creation is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show, powered by Rise 25 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. Spot on has the best-in-class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called SpotOn Restaurant, where they combined with their combined marketing software and payments all in one. They serve different ones from larger chains like Dairy Queen and subway to small mom and pop restaurants. To learn more, go to spot on.com This episode is brought to you by Rise 25. 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 a great relationship with clients, referrals or 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 firstname.lastname@example.org For the past 20 years. Paul Reiser was President of Research Group Sonic Management Company, which owned and operated 38 Sonic Drive-In restaurants across four states. In 2021. He and his partner has sold the entire business, ending his family’s 45-year run with the iconic restaurant brand. Hey, Paul, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?
Paul Reiser 1:25
Absolutely. Terrific, how are you?
Chad Franzen 1:27
Good? Thank you. Hey, so you had 38 Sonic Drive-In locations across four states? What were the four states and how many? You know how many locations were in each?
Paul Reiser 1:38
Right? Yeah, so our our home base was basically North Louisiana at 28, North Louisiana, and then spread out just to one into Texas. And we built into South Alabama. So I have eight of them in the Dothan area, South East Alabama, and then one in Florida.
Chad Franzen 1:54
What What attracted you to Sonic?
Paul Reiser 1:57
That was I grew up in literally inside of a Sonic. The way we got into the Sonic business was that great American success story of my dad got into Sonic. So the way we all got into Sonic is actually a family business was dad was very, very poor as a kid number seven of eight kids and always wanted to escape that property. And his plan was I’m gonna start my own business. You know, he was that kid that was selling candy out of his locker between classes. And always, you know, he’s always had a part time job washing dishes since he was 12 years old. And he actually got into the bread business selling bread, buns and so forth. And a lot of bread man in those days, those days back in the 70s realized, you know, you take some bread into a Sonic and the Sonics were saw a lot of hamburgers. So you get a guy who is used to getting up early, being on his feet all day, working hard and he sees here’s an opportunity. So a lot of a lot of breadman got into Sonic. And so actually he got into Sonic, it was it was a long road he got into Sonic moved her whole family to Louisiana and I was the youngest of five we were that family. You know, when you get to a restaurant you see like these little kids working and doing all kinds of illegal things. And OSHA was not that big back then I guess. But yeah, so I grew up in the Sonic work Sonic my whole life. I was car hopping when I was 12 made super good tips because I was a cute kid. And they feel sorry for me, I guess. totally illegal. Totally don’t do it. But yeah, so So I got into it. I don’t even remember the question of how do we get into Sonic? Yes, that early days of the family I grew up always wanted to get out of Sonic. Wanted to. Actually when I finally graduated after a lot of attempts in video production, work in for a short while realized, you know what, I made a lot more money when I was selling hamburgers. So got back into the hamburger business in 1992.
Chad Franzen 3:55
Okay, so you, I was going to ask you what you had been doing prior to getting involved with Sonic but you really you’ve always been involved with Sonic.
Paul Reiser 4:05
Always except for a short a short period when I was actually managing the Sonic for my dad, right when I got married. And, and we as fathers and sons often do butted heads on some on some key key organizational issues. So I ended up leaving and I said I want to go back to school, went back to school, graduated in video production. Did that for about eight months, realized I was absolutely broke, and the desire to make just like my dad, I was tired of being broke. So I went back to dad and I said Hey Bob, remember you said I’d always be welcome back which that’s a great lesson. Don’t burn bridges. My dad didn’t burn the bridge with me. Thankfully, I didn’t burn the bridge with him. So I said I you know I’m ready to come back and welcome the prodigal son. And to his credit he said fantastic. I just poured a sticky and he put me on the worst Sonic he had was 20 years old, hadn’t hadn’t paid a dividend and a year. And that was kind of my training ground.
Chad Franzen 5:07
What would you say was the kind of your maybe some things you learned, you know, starting to work at a Sonic like you said, at a pretty young age?
Paul Reiser 5:16
Well, just I want to make sure that we’re, we’re bringing value to your to your team here. I mean, your your listeners, because I learned from my dad, he didn’t, it wasn’t the type of deal well, your dad’s this rich restaurant owner. And he was he was struggling, you know, working hard. And when he put me into Sonic, he put me in his worst wanting to work hard. And he came, he came to visit me one day during lunch, Ron. And you know, we time aren’t we time, our ticket averages and my ticket average was that day, two minutes and 50 seconds on a pretty bit, you know, every order went out the average 250 Pretty good. I was proud. Dad looked at it. And he said, you know, slick, that’s pretty good. But you can’t touch every burger. Might. Okay, so main lesson number one. And you know, of course I bucked against it because it was my dad. But you have to do it, you have to learn to delegate, if you’re going to expand, if you’re going to grow, you can’t get bogged down touching every hammer, you have to train people to test the hamburgers for you. And I found that to be the biggest problem with all my managers that I’ve groomed over the years. And other businesses, I see, that owner feels like they’re the only one that can do everything. And that’s the limiting factor. So what I learned early on is you’ve got to train your replacement, if you want to move on to bigger things. So
Chad Franzen 6:33
you you you went to school for video production, you came back your your dad puts you at that, at the worst location, what makes what made that the worst location,