All Honey Baked Ham Co.® franchisees receive comprehensive support from the time they begin exploring the HoneyBaked franchise opportunity to the day they open their store and beyond. One of the ways we offer continued support is through a dedicated team of Franchise Business Consultants, or FBCs.
We spoke with Rick Kolleth, a true HoneyBaked veteran with 38 years under his belt, to gain some insight into his work as an FBC and the kind of support he provides to HoneyBaked franchise owners.
Hear from a HoneyBaked Expert
Now the dedicated consultant to 35 HoneyBaked locations, Rick began his journey with us as a part-time hourly associate in 1980. Over the last 38 years, he’s held assistant manager, general manager, district manager and regional manager positions. In his current role, Rick helps franchisees in seven Midwestern states keep their franchise business running smoothly.
For new stores, an FBC will visit frequently throughout the construction process, grand opening and beyond, helping new franchisees through the entire process. Rick continues to support each of the 25 franchisees in his territory with several visits throughout the year, relying on his decades of experience within the HoneyBaked system to help franchisees improve all aspects of their business and, ultimately, to help them make their store(s) more successful.
“I’m really here to assist and make things better. Just this morning I had 10 or 12 different emails or calls from various franchisees, mostly looking for information. I’ve got resources at the corporate office down in Atlanta that help me out to try to answer their questions as quickly as possible so they can go about running their stores.
That’s an important thing – some franchisees can wait 24 hours for a response, but you’ve got to be aware that business owners’ time is precious. So, I try to get them their answers so they can keep moving on whatever it is they’re working on. I’m not here to find problems. I’m here to find solutions and help make things better.”
Making Real Connections
Rick is very much a people person. He loves wearing his HoneyBaked polo and hearing the stories of people he runs into on his travels, many with fond memories of serving our delicious, glazed, spiral-sliced ham as the highlight of their meal. And that aptitude for genuine conversation carries over into his relationships with the franchisees he serves:
“I enjoy helping them out. They may need help with the glazing of the ham or navigating our company intranet site. I just like answering their questions, making them more efficient and more profitable. You have to have what I call ‘A Servant’s Heart.’ You have to be able to care about what they’re going through.
When you work with 25 different owners with 25 different personalities, you just have to listen. And when you’re done listening, you better listen some more – and then you’ve got to listen some more. And be there when they need you. That’s how you earn their trust.”
Making the Most of a Proven Concept
Rick says that part of what has made the HoneyBaked model such a successful specialty food retail concept is our dedication to three core ideas: customer service, product quality and quality assurance. Whether he’s working with a single-unit or multi-unit franchisee, his focus is helping franchisees make the right adjustments to maintain those three top-priority goals.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘why have you stuck around for 38 years?’ It’s hard to put into words. It’s just prestigious when you work for the best. We call it the world’s best ham, but it’s not just a saying. We absolutely sell the best ham in the world.”