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Selecting Staff and When

Robert M. Dorfman is president and chief executive officer of TCH Restaurant Group, Inc., Five Guys Burgers and Fries. THC Restaurant Group, currently owns and operates 33 Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants in Florida, Texas and Ohio. We have the rights to a total of 103 restaurants within those markets.
Dorfman: The unit count will depend on a number of different factors for a dedicated marketing professional. To name a few, they include:

Restaurant segment, ie: fast food, fast casual, full-service casual and fine dining.
The franchisor’s position on what is acceptable marketing.

We hired a dedicated marketing professional when we had 10 stores opened. For our situation, which involved primarily grassroots store level marketing, this was perfect. The unit count at which point you would hire a full-time CFO will also vary depending on a number of factors that include:

Complexity of the store financial operating system.
Ability for the current accounting software program to satisfy existing control and reporting requirements.
Extent to which investor reporting is required.

We hired our CFO when we had five stores opened.


Kirk Lanier is the president of The Saxton Group which owns and operates 27 McAlister’s Deli and four Pinkberry units in Texas.

LANIER: I wouldn’t suggest arbitrary unit counts as an accurate way to measure an organization’s need to invest in a marketing professional or CFO.  Instead, I’d encourage leaders to examine their business, regardless of size, and determine which hires add to the business’s strengths and if you determine a resource would improve your business, be quick to hire that resource.
Both the roles mentioned here are strategic in nature.  If a company is needing to source capital, redesign the financial model or improve margins, then a CFO may make sense if no one in the organization has these skill sets.  Likewise, a dedicated marketing professional who can improve the customer experience and grow sales may be extremely valuable in an emerging brand, as well as a well entrenched concept needing a new spark.
Our company has always invested in the corporate organizational structure in areas where the existing leadership team has gaps, and I think those resources at the top have allowed us to lead in multiple franchise systems and deliver results that are among the best of the brands we operate.

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