Managing a Business With Multiple Locations

Management

 

Location, Location, Location!

When something is good, you want more of it, and businesses are no exception. A sure indication that a business is doing well and drawing customers is when it opens another location – or several. There are more than 900,000 franchise businesses in the United States alone, with the most ubiquitous of them all, 7-Eleven, having over 62,000 locations worldwide! And that doesn’t even account for local or regional non-franchise businesses that run multiple successful units. Of course, running any business presents certain difficulties – but being at the helm of a business with three or more locations is even more demanding. Here, we asked businesses around the city how they manage their several locations and various points of leadership under the umbrella of a single company. 

By Kathy Bradshaw

(Second from right) Jay Floyd, Founder & CEO

Photos Courtesy of The Ark Pet Spa & Hotel

 

The Ark Pet Spa & Hotel

Number of locations locally: 4

Are there any significant differences among your locations? What steps do you take to maintain consistency in your services across locations?

We offer the same services at all our locations. Consistency starts with systemizing your processes. We spent years acquiring our expertise and months developing full-fledged operations manuals, brand standards guides, and training curriculum so that each of our locations can operate in a consistent and duplicatable manner. 

How do you manage delegation of tasks in the case of multiple locations?

Delegation is a critical skill if you want to scale your business. Early on, I knew what I was good at, passionate about, and what I was not so good at. Bringing on a team that can help fill in any gaps and also tackle non-critical tasks is extremely important. Next is understanding that you must learn to delegate various tasks if you want to expand. You can’t take time to work on your business if you’re spending too much time in the weeds of your business. 

How do you handle hiring, training, and staffing for each location?

Finding the right people who share the company’s values, have the right skills, and take ownership of their work is no easy task! Each and every one of our locations lists the same job descriptions first and foremost, so there is consistency in the brand. Next, the hiring manager must be trained or have enough experience in hiring and interviewing to gather the critical information from the candidates to make sure that they are qualified and a good fit for the company’s culture.

Ruby Falls ad

Photo Courtesy of CSMO

 

Becky Farmer headshot

Becky Farmer, CEO

Center for Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics (CSMO)

Number of locations: 9

Are there any significant differences among your locations? What steps do you take to maintain consistency in your services across locations?

There are geographical differences among our locations and differences in types of sub-specialty of orthopedics. But we want to make sure that we’re remaining consistent with our services and policies among all our locations – and most importantly, that we remain a cohesive unit as a single Center for Sports Medicine family.

How do you maintain ideal communication across units?

It’s important for us to have very regular, dependable meetings. Everyone is expected to let the group know what’s going on in their department, what challenges they have, and how we can work together with those challenges, so that we don’t have individuals going out and trying to figure out solutions, but we’re working together to keep a uniform company across all departments.

How does successful management across multiple units look different from managing a single unit?

With a single location, a manager or director can get up and walk around and physically lay eyes on their department and see what’s going on and if there’s something we can do better. With multiple locations, where you can’t physically lay eyes on everything, that’s where IT systems, software, and reporting become very important for accountability. We have set up a very robust set of benchmarking tools where we look at multiple things that should be unvarying, no matter where you’re working from in the world.

Bekah Cochran Team Ad

Photo Courtesy of Elder’s Ace Hardware

 

Tom Glenn headshot

Tom Glenn, President

Elder’s Ace Hardware

Number of locations: 22

Are there any significant differences among your locations? What steps do you take to maintain consistency in your products and services across locations?

Our 22 stores range in size from 8,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet, so product assortment and displays do vary. We are not your typical franchise with identical assortments across all stores, and we are able to be creative and customize each store to its own market. But our core assortment of products and services has little variation.

How important are the IT systems and work processes?

Their importance increases all the time. One key to a consistent experience for our associates and customers is good IT systems – they don’t make mistakes, unlike humans sometimes. Work processes and checklists are essential, especially to keep merchandise in stock and maintain the store. IT systems also drive efficiency. But when it comes to excellent customer service, our people must have the confidence to go off-script and use their judgment. We train them to be prepared – and training is a type of system.

How do you handle hiring, training, and staffing for each location?

One good thing about multiple units is that you are developing people at all locations, and therefore, your people resources are growing exponentially. To grow your people, you must have a culture that believes in people development, a solid training program, and good systems to track training. A good development system creates a pipeline of leaders and managers with consistent values, beliefs, and skill levels.

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(Center) Greg Vital, President

Photo by Rich Smith

 

Morning Pointe Senior Living

Number of locations in the Greater Chattanooga Area: 7

How does successful management across multiple units look different from managing a single unit?

Management of multiple units is more about scaling up your processes and procedures that were already established using trusted team partners, and then using a system of checks and balances to ensure that appropriate steps are being taken to carry out those processes. Morning Pointe associates are all focused on one theme: Resident care takes first priority. Daily communication is paramount to a multiple-unit approach.

How do you manage delegation of tasks in the case of multiple locations?

Morning Pointe uses a series of software systems to assist in the delegation of tasks, as well as daily and weekly follow-up by managers with their team members. Ownership conducts routine meetings with managers to ensure that each location is following proper protocols and procedures.

How important are the IT systems and work processes?

Technology plays a very pivotal role at Morning Pointe. For example, each building utilizes a nurse-call system that is used for day-to-day management of resident care, for things like medical appointments, medication management, and dietary needs.

How do you handle hiring, training, and staffing for each location?

Morning Pointe has an office of culture and talent at the corporate level that manages the staffing needs at each location as well as training best practices. Each community is responsible for training, with oversight from the corporate office on ever-changing policies, procedures, and state and local health department guidelines.

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Photo Courtesy of Sportsbarn

 

David Brock headshot

David Brock, President

Sportsbarn Fitness Clubs

Number of locations: 3 

Are there any significant differences among your locations? What steps do you take to maintain consistency in your services across locations?

Each location has unique features; however, there are common threads throughout our three clubs. Above all, the top consistency we strive for is ensuring that each club feels like a community. While each Sportsbarn location does vary slightly, our communication and work processes are all modeled the same way.

How does successful management across multiple units look different from managing a single unit?

It’s more difficult, that’s for sure. Each club has different opportunities that we prioritize as a team, and resources are allocated accordingly. We have had many discussions in our staff meetings about what constitutes the most pressing needs for the business. We usually come to a consensus, but not always.

How do you manage delegation of tasks in the case of multiple locations?

Each of our club managers has autonomy to make decisions as they see fit as far as day-to-day operations go. I think, for the most part, we do a good job, and when we do stumble, we talk about it as a group and try to learn from it. Our members are frequently our best source of information on how we can improve, and we make it a point to listen to them.

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Photo by Rich Smith

 

Dorris Shober headshot

Dorris Shober, Owner

Lupi’s Pizza Pies

Number of locations: 5

Are there any significant differences among your locations? What steps do you take to maintain consistency in your services and products across locations?

There are no significant differences among Lupi’s five locations – they all have the exact same menu. One of the most important ways we maintain consistency among locations is through our operations manager Matt Douglass. He goes to every location many times a week and visually inspects our product for consistency – food in coolers prepped and ready to be made into the final product and also as it comes out of the oven. At each location, we also have a “cutting guide,” so that each topping we use is cut the same way, and strict adherence to recipes is stressed.

How do you maintain ideal communication across units?

Each month, we all gather together for several hours at one of Lupi’s locations with all locations’ general managers and assistant general managers, Matt, and myself. Also, every two weeks, there is a manager’s meeting at each location for that store’s managers that Matt also attends. 

How important are the IT systems and work processes?

Other than every location using the same computerized point-of-sale cash register system, at Lupi’s we don’t use IT systems to help maintain consistency or communication among locations. The systems that are in place (checklists, prep lists, to-do lists) are tweaked to be store-specific. It is these systems that are essential for us to run a business with multiple units.

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Photo Courtesy of Uncle Larry’s Restaurant

 

Larry Torrence headshot

Larry Torrence, Founder & Owner

Uncle Larry’s Restaurant

Number of locations: 3

Are there any significant differences among your locations? What steps do you take to maintain consistency in your services and products across locations?

The same food is offered at each of our three locations. Each cook is specially trained by me so that the food is sure to remain consistent across all our restaurants.

How do you maintain ideal communication across units?

I communicate daily with my managers, who fill me in on everything that is going on at each location. They keep me updated on issues regarding staff, supplies, customers, and anything else relevant to the everyday running of our restaurants.

How does successful management across multiple units look different from managing a single unit?

With multiple units, you have to be in contact with each manager at least three to four times throughout the day.

How do you manage delegation of tasks in the case of multiple locations?

Even though I delegate many tasks to my managers and rely on them to run their particular location, I still go by each store consistently to make sure that all is going smoothly.

How important are the IT systems and work processes?

They are very important in order to keep up with the numbers. Our IT systems keep tabs on important figures across all units. 

How do you handle hiring, training, and staffing for each location?

This doesn’t really change whether I have one location or several – I just post job openings and recruit via social media as well.

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