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Positive Relations, Resources and SOPs Fuel Growth

QUESTION:  What infrastructure should be in place to expand beyond your current number of locations?

GRIFFIN: “As the principal of Griffin Stafford Hospitality and the owner of two Hilton Garden Inn franchises, I realize that a great relationship with brands needs to be in place to expand our portfolio past the current number of hotels we own and operate. Hilton Worldwide, and Hilton Garden Inn specifically, fosters a partnership with owners and management companies that extend beyond a franchise agreement. From innovative program rollouts to an open communication policy, Hilton Worldwide is more than a hotel company; it is a partner helping our hotel endeavors succeed.

“It was with our success opening two Hilton Garden Inn properties that allowed us to expand to open a Homewood Suites and Home 2 Suites by Hilton. I truly believe that without Hilton’s resources for owners, we would have not been successful opening additional properties. Additionally, an understanding of the hospitality industry is fundamental to inking deals that allow us to expand past the Charlotte area with the Hilton Worldwide branded hotels.

“Our executive teams understanding of hotel operations, sales, marketing and more, allow us to see challenges before they happen and work with the brand to create successful Charlotte properties. Expanding beyond our current number of locations is at the forefront of our everyday thoughts and we know that Hilton Worldwide will give us the tools to get there.”

Joel Griffin is the owner of four Hilton Worldwide Inn franchises in in Charlotte, Concord and Durham, N.C. that include Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home 2 Suites.  He can be reached at

KITTRELL: “If you want to expand, you have to hire and train good managers with diverse skill sets at each of your locations. They become your surrogates since you can’t be in five places at once. Good managers may take some time to find and require an initial investment, but it will save you time, money and additional resources in the long run. Ideally, you bring in talent that brings experience and methods you can adapt and utilize in your own business.

“Next, you must establish simple, scalable operational processes and procedures and performance metrics to set your management team up for success. Providing them with the tools and resources they need to get the job done to your standards will help you maintain effective, consistent operations across all of your units. You also have to continuously improve your procedures and develop best practices that can be adopted by each unit over time. An efficient back-office is just as important as a smooth-running front operation. This includes consistent procedures for bookkeeping, payroll, reporting, banking, etc. so at the end of the day you know exactly how each of your locations is doing and can make adjustments as needed.

“Finally, you also need to determine where your efforts should be concentrated as you grow and decide what should be delegated or outsourced to others so that you can spend your time on the activities most critical to your business success.”

Melanie Kittrell is a successful businesswoman who holds both doctorate and master’s degrees. She previously worked as an executive for more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry before retiring to pursue her dream of opening her own business. She and husband Fred now own five Doc Popcorn locations (four PopKiosks and one Mobile PopCart) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and have plans to open five additional locations.  She can be reached at

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