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You’ve Got What It Takes: Crabby Joe’s

crop1You don’t need a business degree to be a franchisee. Franchising is the world’s most successful business model because it takes people from all walks of life and gives them the tools they need to be entrepreneurs. Considering your natural talent, skills and life experience, you’ve probably got a lot to be confident about as you prepare for your franchise journey.

Still have doubts? Maybe your career thus far has been totally different from the franchise you hope to buy? In ‘You’ve Got What It Takes,’ we show you how your work experience—or any other experience—can be applied in a franchise setting.

What he does
A former executive with experience in training, marketing and operations, Howard Pennell runs a Crabby Joe’s Tap and Grill franchise centrally located in the recently revitalized downtown core of London, Ont. He owns and operates the popular full-service restaurant (FSR) alongside his wife, Suzanne.

Howard is what he calls a ‘working owner,’ taking on the primary responsibilities of a general manager and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the restaurant. While there are dedicated managers for both the kitchen and front-of-the-house, Howard and Suzanne are heavily involved in all aspects of the business, including training, hiring, scheduling and other daily tasks.

Given their involvement, the Pennells work long, hard hours, often splitting the day between them (she handles the mornings and early afternoons, while Howard works evenings and late nights). Howard is typically in the restaurant about six days a week and tailors his schedule to accommodate peak periods and local events that might drive extra customers through his doors.

123When he is in the restaurant, the majority of Howard’s time is spent on the floor, working with his staff (which fluctuates between 30 and 40 employees) and interacting with his guests, while Suzanne handles most of the administrative duties. Howard also helps train new franchisees, passing along his knowledge and stressing the importance of the human element in a franchise’s success or failure.

“Customers who come in a couple of times a week like to know that there’s an owner here; somebody watching out for the business and taking care of them if something goes wrong,” he says. “It’s really the owner who brings the restaurant to life, who puts a personality to the brand and adds their own flair.”

While he initially planned on having up to five locations, Howard is currently happy with things as they are, preferring to stay focused on running his single restaurant as well as he possibly can.

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