What you can learn from the Glen Bell Award Winner


When it comes to starting and maintaining a successful business, there may be no one greater to learn from than those who have paved the way before you. This is especially true in the QSR industry.

If you’re looking to start or grow your franchise, take some notes from the 2018 Glen Bell Award winners, Jeff and Lee Engler, who operate one of the largest Taco Bell franchisees in the country.

Of course, before we give you their keys to success, we’ll want to talk about the Glen Bell Award and how the Engler brothers became so successful.

What is the Glen Bell Award?

For those who aren't familiar, Glen Bell was a restaurant entrepreneur and the founder of Taco Bell. Each year, Taco Bell executives carry on the founder's legacy by awarding the Glen Bell Award to an outstanding franchisee.

The Glen Bell Award is the highest honor a Taco Bell franchisee can receive. It is given to franchisees based not only on how well they represent the company, but how they choose to operate their individual stores, how they treat their team members, and how they help build strong communities.

The award goes to Jeff and Lee Engler

The 2018 Glen Bell Award went to brothers Jeff and Lee Engler, co-founders of Border Foods, one of the largest Taco Bell franchisees in the country. The brothers started their privately-owned franchise in 1986 and now operate 185 restaurants in the Midwest with the help of more than 5,000 employees.

So, what are the Englers' keys to success? The most important factor that set them apart is their relentless focus on customer results. They cite three internal factors that all franchise owners should focus on to achieve those positive customer results.

Reward outstanding employees

As all franchisees know, it's crucial to attract and retain talented employees because your restaurants' success is directly determined by the actions of your employees. One way to ensure you're building the best teams is by rewarding employees who demonstrate outstanding behavior.

Border Foods, for example, rewards restaurant general managers (RGMs) and assistant general managers (AGMs) with a competitive bonus program: RGMs can earn up to $40,000 per year in bonuses, and AGMs can earn up to $20,000. On top of that, each year's "Best of the Best" are rewarded with an all-expenses-paid trip to Mexico.

But managers aren't your only employees. It’s important to have high expectations of all your employees and reward and incentivize them accordingly. For example, Border Foods awards scholarships to outstanding employees and provides benefits such as health and dental insurance and paid vacation to qualifying employees. At the end of the day, your employees' success is your success.

Provide growth opportunities

A big part of growing the best teams is providing your employees with opportunities for growth. What does this mean? Promote from within.

Border Foods understands the importance of growing careers. That’s why the Englers created an employment map that shows employees how to move from a food/service champion to team trainer to shift manager and so on.

Give back to the community

When it comes to running a successful QSR, it’s important to give back to your local community. Whether you choose to feed the homeless, volunteer at an organization, or make a financial donation to a nonprofit in the area, being a good neighbor goes a long way with customer loyalty. Border Foods, for example, gives more than $150,000 in charitable donations per year.

Take it from Jeff and Lee, if you reward outstanding employees, provide growth opportunities for team members, and give back to the community, you’re one step closer to becoming a successful franchisee.

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