Interview with Steve Michalopoulos, Chairman’s Brands President & COO

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BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the President’s Brands®

Steve Michalopoulos: Chairman’s Brands has grown into one of the largest fast food brands in Canada. Our family of brands includes 241 Pizza, Coffee Time, Eggsmart, Robin’s, New Orleans Pizza, Mia Fresco and The Friendly Greek. Our restaurants feature fresh new menu items, as well as favorite classics that customers love. For more than 40 years, Chairman’s has left a lasting impression on Canadian clients from coast to coast, while expanding in the United States and abroad. We continue to focus on growth by introducing exciting new restaurant concepts.

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BeTheBoss.ca: How and when did you join Chairman’s Brands®?

Steve Michalopoulos: I started as Purchasing Director in 2001 and have been in the franchise business ever since. Later, I was in charge of international development, then brand development and COO.

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BeTheBoss.ca: What was your background before joining Chairman’s Brands®?

Steve Michalopoulos: I have always been a part of the company – We developed Coffee Time®, we franchised our first location in 1982 and we have grown to 392 restaurants under 6 brands across Canada and in 5 other countries.

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BeTheBoss.ca: What are some of the benefits of being a Chairman’s Brands® franchisee or Master Franchisee?

Steve Michalopoulos: Chairman’s Brands® offers a robust franchise system to prepare every new franchisee for success. Our franchise system includes:

  • Site selection and lease negotiation
  • Business / Restaurant training program of 3 to 4 weeks depending on the brand
  • Food supply and equipment
  • Help with opening the restaurant
  • Marketing positioning and brand awareness
  • Advertising and promotion
  • Continuous business development
  • Pricing and quality controls

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BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us a bit about fast food and drink food in Canada?

Steve Michalopoulos: QSR has always been part of North American culture and has spread around the world through franchise systems. The franchise landscape continues to be very competitive with new players entering the field every day. However, many concepts fail to develop and eventually fall apart due to a lack of planning, experience and a value proposition.

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BeTheBoss.ca: What are the biggest lessons you learned from developing this franchise?

Steve Michalopoulos: We have learned to associate with our franchisees and to maintain well-being at the same level that we consider for the well-being of the Chairman brand.

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BeTheBoss.ca: What advice would you give to someone looking to acquire a franchise?

Steve Michalopoulos: Do your research, talk to franchisees about the concept you plan to partner with about the level of satisfaction and support they get from the franchisor – as well as pick out proven concepts that have worked for a long time.

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BeTheBoss.ca: Why do you think Chairman’s Brands would be a great franchisor?

Steve Michalopoulos: Chairman’s Brands® have a proven track record as successful restaurant chains that cater for all palettes. It is suitable for different types of restaurateurs. From those looking for shorter opening hours, when the opening hours are a minimum of 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., all-day breakfast is a growing segment, to high-volume Coffee & Donut’s restaurant operators. All day breakfast.

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