Living the Red Rooster life – Operating in business to help franchisees reach their full potential
Ben Hughes (aka Hughesy) wants all the franchisees at Craveable to achieve great success. Focused on improving sales, he’s also very conscious of every restaurants bottom line. Hughesy’s sense of loyalty and practicality are two key factors that drive him in his role as Red Rooster’s Head of Operations & Delivery. Ben’s connection with day to day Operations is invaluable, prior to this position he worked as National Restaurant Excellence Manager.
Not only has he helped Red Rooster franchisees nationwide improve their profitability, but he’s also kept costs down.
Describing his job as being like “the glue between all the other departments in the business”, Ben’s team helps drive operational performance.
“Basically, if there’s a new campaign, implementation or training program, we will work with particular teams to make sure it is being delivered effectively – so we have an important responsibility.” Ben explains.
From time to time, Ben’s knowledge and skills have also been showcased on the ‘small screen’.
“I like to share my knowledge and hopefully inspire our young team members in our restaurants. So, on occasion, I’ve taken to presenting in our training videos which is really enjoyable and something that I never imagined I would be able to do. Making something engaging to motivate our many young employees has been really rewarding.”
In the three years Ben has been in his current role, he’s had many notable achievements. But one that really stands out was the operational overseeing of Red Rooster’s restaurant refurbishments.
“We’ve now completed 165 refurbishments in the last three years, compared to the 20 we did the five years before that. This has helped to improve brand standards by 45 per cent in the last few years. It’s a huge achievement and one that required great team work.” he says.
“It was a really necessary implementation, because we didn’t want customers to feel like they’d stepped back into the 1980s each time they walked into a restaurant. I wanted to drive that modernisation to engage customers, but in a cost-effective way. Of course, I am very conscious of costs and getting the best deals we can for franchisees so they’re always profitable. I’m very supportive and loyal to my franchise partners so I always have their best interests in mind.”
Having joined Red Rooster at the age of 15 as a kitchen assistant, Ben has held business roles at other companies, but always keeps coming back to Red Rooster.
“I can’t keep away because I just love working for the brand. I have such a passion for it and have always wanted to be a part of the team that takes this iconic brand to the next level.” he says.
A three-time winner of National Operations Manager of the Year, Ben’s most memorable achievement was winning an award in 2003 voted by customers.
“I was managing a Red Rooster restaurant in Bateau Bay. We were nominated for an award for best restaurant on the Central Coast,” he says. “We won out of hundreds of different food outlets in the region. I actually had tears in my eyes on stage because I was just so immensely proud as we’d been chosen by the customers themselves. That’s a moment I think about often, because at the end of the day it’s all about the people we serve.”
If anyone is qualified to say they live the Red Rooster brand, it’s Ben. Ben met his wife Ashlee at Red Rooster and they have since gone on to have a baby boy*. Ashlee is PA to the brand’s CEO so a supportive work environment means a great deal to the Hughes clan: “Work has been very supportive in allowing me to take time off when needed,” Ben says. “There’s a real family friendly vibe at Red Rooster that really fits with what I’m about.”
As for the future, Ben says he’d love to see his department expand in order to help drive the brand even further.
“I’ve been able to help develop several team members in their career so far and it’s something I want to continue to do. You’re only as good as the people around you, and I believe our company has one of the best workforces in the country.”
*They didn’t name him Reggie, in case you’re wondering…
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