This month, CFA is celebrating Franchise Excellence with a spotlight on award-winning franchises and franchisees. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and tips for success!

By Gina Makkar

Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters delivers a taste of home, with warm, inviting stores and succulent homemade chicken marinated and breaded to perfection. Their secret? Making their menu items fresh from scratch in each store, which they’ve been doing for almost 50 years.

Two of the company’s franchisees have also perfected their own recipe for success.

Abe Khalil was working as a mechanical millwright when his brother-in-law Mo Farhat came across the Mary Brown’s concept during a trip to Nova Scotia. After doing their research, they were sold on joining the Mary Brown’s franchise system. “We opened our store in November of 2013, and we are still going strong!” says Khalil.

The first Mary Brown’s opened in the late 1960s in St. John’s, Newfoundland. After it was purchased in 2007 by current owner and CEO, Greg Roberts, the franchise grew exponentially, and now exceeds more than 130 locations across Canada. There are plans to open more than 200 locations in the next five years, but the company remains true to its east coast values of small-town hospitality, community spirit, and genuine caring, which are major contributors to the chain’s success.

New franchisees receive four to six weeks of intensive training, where they learn everything from food preparation and hiring to operations and customer-centric service.

“I had never worked in a restaurant before, and all the training and support was very helpful. Even when we came back from the training, the Mary Brown’s team stayed for three weeks to make sure we were 100 per cent okay. If there was ever anything we needed to ask, they were there,” says Khalil. “Now if I need anything, it doesn’t matter the time, they always try their best. If I call on a Saturday night and it’s off time, they will call me back.”

When he first started out, Khalil developed brand awareness in his local community by taking lunch to fire departments, hospitals, and banks. He attributes his success to following the franchise standards, a factor he feels is important when owning a franchise. He adds that owning a franchise like Mary Brown’s gives him the support to run a successful business so he can focus on managing staff and offering great customer service.

Khalil says the Franchisee of the Year honour is proof that they’re doing things right. “I was surprised when I got it, and I’m super happy. Now, I’m trying to do more to get the next one, too. I will do my best.”

This post is an excerpt from an article that appears in the November/December issue of FranchiseCanada Magazine. Click here to read the full article online or order your subscription to FranchiseCanada Magazine here.