Tech + Mortar Episode 024, October 30, 2019

Jim Mizes, SiteZeus / Blaze Pizza

Talk Highlights

  • Lessons learned in opening almost a 1000 restaurants
  • The importance of discovering your “zone of genius” and how it can lead to internal joy
  • Building a team that is service oriented rather than task oriented

Speaker Bio

Jim Mizes started his career in the retail industry as a young man working at his father’s pharmacy. He then went to school and received a degree in accounting and began working typical finance jobs. After realizing that accounting wasn’t what brought him joy, Jim joined Taco Bell as a general manager and quickly worked his way up to their VP of operations. In 1989, Jim repositioned the brand’s 59, 79, 99 campaign and saw a 60% growth in same store sales. After building up several restaurant brands, Jim finally joined Blaze Pizza where he grew the brand from 2 stores to over 340 in only 6 and a half years.

Jim is now retired and recently joined SiteZeus’ board of directors to continue to help retail and restaurant brands grow into new markets.

Show Notes

  • 1:22 – Jim’s career story: How he went from working at his father’s pharmacy, to getting an accounting degree, to becoming a fast-casual restaurant pioneer.
  • 5:41 – What is the key to reaching ambitious location growth goals?
  • 6:25 – The analogy of how progressively raising a child compares to growing a restaurant business from 4 locations to 400 locations.
  • 7:04 – How Jim landed a promotion at Taco Bell after optimizing one of the industry’s first value menu strategies that lead to a 60% growth in sales.
  • 8:23 – When Jim realized he belonged in the operational side of business.
  • 10:07 – Jim’s advice to anyone searching for their talent by uncovering their “zone of genius.”
  • 11:41 – The secret to building a team that supports restaurant success and growth.
  • 13:29 – Jim relates the level of employee-customer engagement to dogs and cats. How can your store become a “dog store”?
  • 15:04 – The ratio of art and science when scouting new locations then vs. now.
  • 17:10 – What is the key to a third-party delivery company “winning” in the industry?
  • 18:43 – Which parts of scaling a business concerned Jim the most?
  • 20:42 – What separates the good from the great franchisees and operators?
  • 21:28 – Jim mentions the key factor that will helps brands of all sizes grow smoothly.
  • 22:38 – You should be able to update your resume every 6 months – if you cannot add new skills at least once a year, there may be a problem.
  • 23:40 – Quick fire questions

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