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Business Insight: Expand but stay true to the brand
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

James Worthington, CEO of Kneaders Bakery and Cafe, which started out in Orem and has grown to 23 locations, says companies must seek consistency, for customers' sake and for their own benefit.

How do you keep your brand consistent?

The most important thing is to find great people who believe in the brand. If we can get them on our team, consistency is much easier. These individuals are not just employees behind the register, bakers, managers or fellow franchisees — they are brand advocates who are passionate about our product and want to provide great customer service. We also work to have synergy among all of our 23 locations, meaning every restaurant must have the same look and feel. We want customers to walk in and know they are at Kneaders. Menu items, retail products and special offers must all be consistent. If you order our signature French toast or Turkey Bacon Avocado on Focaccia at our Orem or City Creek locations, it should taste identical to the ones you might order at our restaurants in Idaho and Arizona.

How important are core values in that brand?

Our core values set the stage for everything we do, and I attribute much of our success to keeping them front of mind when we hire and train new employees. They align everyone, from executives to hourly employees, and they ensure we are all focused on the same three values — caring, comfortable and fresh. First and foremost, we need to focus on delighting our customers. We strive to follow the tradition of family-owned European bakeries, where every customer is treated like family. Our end goal is to create an inviting dining experience where the atmosphere is comfortable, the food is fresh and our customers feel cared for.

What kind of guidelines do you instill across your different locations?

We have systems and standards in almost everything we do, and expect each member of our team to follow them 100 percent. For example, we have a manual detailing everything from how each product should be made and presented to employee conduct and appearance. It even covers building and marketing guidelines. We inspect each of our restaurants on a monthly basis to ensure they follow our systems and meet our standards, sometimes by sending in secret shoppers. This guarantees employees are interacting with customers in an appropriate manner, and that our products are consistent.

What should franchisees look for when hiring for new locations?

Franchisees need to seek people who align with their core values, and hire and fire based on them. We know if we can hire great employees who believe in our values and brand, our customers will have a great experience when they come into the stores. In our case, we look for employees who genuinely care about others and their work environment, want to provide a product that is fresh and nutritious, and who can help make customers feel welcome, comfortable and essentially "at home."

Dawn House James Worthington,

Keep core values when growing, hiring, exec advises.
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