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Yum! In The News

Frankly Speaking With Franchisees: Drink the good wine first

Celebration Restaurant Group CEO Andy Rosen seizes every opportunity, especially when it comes to caring for his team members and Orlando neighbors.

Image provided by Yum! Brands.

Published on June 06, 2022

Yum! Brands is a world-class family of restaurants with approximately 1,500 franchisees who bring their own delicious flavors to the business and the communities they serve. Together, Yum!’s franchisees own more than 54,000 KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill restaurants in 155 countries and territories across the globe, making their voices integral to the company. Each franchisee is unique and serves as the cornerstone of a series called “Frankly Speaking With Franchisees” that documents their stories.

 

Here is Andy Rosen’s story.

 

Andy Rosen, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell

Chief Executive Officer, Celebration Restaurant Group

 

Andy Rosen lives by the motto, “drink the good wine first.” Instead of setting things aside and waiting for a perfect moment, Rosen revels in the present and lives his life to the fullest every single day.

It’s a mentality that led him to Pizza Hut in 1989. When a young Rosen interviewed for a finance role with the brand, he was originally turned down. Undeterred, he flew back to Wichita, Kansas, where the brand was then based, to argue his case, eventually convincing the hiring manager to grant him what’s become a lifelong career, culminating in parent company Yum! Brands selling Rosen 91 restaurants in Orlando, Florida, in 2009.

On his first day as a franchisee, Rosen remembers feeling “sheer terror,” afraid of failing the 2,000 team members now under his care. “We couldn’t let them down,” he said, so Rosen and his team swiftly got to work, supporting their team members and customers in a way that’s led to outsized growth — today, Celebration Restaurant Group boasts about 150 restaurants.

Although Rosen’s KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants span across central Florida, he insists on supporting local economies and creating jobs by hiring team members that reflect their communities, partnering with neighborhood vendors and donating to regional nonprofits, like the Children’s Home Society of Central Florida. His motivation to invest locally is motivated by an intent to welcome underrepresented people of color and women to the franchising industry overall. “Hopefully by doing that, we can inspire and encourage others to follow on the same career path or business plan that we have,” he said.

Plus, Celebration Restaurant Group has intentionally diversified its above restaurant leadership team by adding a deeper rigor to its bench-planning process, going from a predominately Caucasian and male team to more than half of corporate team members being female, Hispanic, African American, LGBTQ+ or a combination of all four. “When you have diversity of thought and opinion, and you represent your community and your team members, you get to a better place,” he said. “You just make better, more inclusive business decisions that are going to help you and sustain you long term.”

This sense of community and teamwork is even reflected in Celebration’s mission statement: “One passion. One Hunger. One Celebration Restaurant Group.” And those aren’t just words on paper. When Rosen speaks about his company, he rarely uses the word “I,” but instead focuses on “we,” because restaurant franchising, he says, is all about people.

“This is a people business,” Rosen said. “Your success or failure will be entirely dependent on your ability to attract, retain, promote, develop and reward your team members.”

And those team members are family, Rosen insists; some have even married each other and started their own families. So, Rosen takes his family’s success very personally.

“We are so blessed to have the team that we have; we have an amazing organization,” Rosen said. “We start every team-related social event with a toast: ‘How blessed we are to do work we love with people we love.’ We have an obligation to those folks and to those families, to do the right thing for them, and the right thing for the business, so that we can continue to grow and create opportunities for them.”

For the past 13 years, Rosen has been doing just that, pouring into his local vendors and charities as well as hiring and promoting diverse talent that reflect the communities in which they work and live.

“For those folks that want to be promoted and rise in our organization, those team members have a clearly defined path,” he said. “They know they have a future with us and an opportunity to grow their careers and themselves personally.”

In other words, they know to drink the good wine first.

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