On Saturday, January 19, Ben & Jerry’s proudly congratulated the recipients of the Big “O” Operator of the Year award, Social Mission Award, and the Mentor of the Year Award at this year’s Global Franchise Meeting.

With more than 100 years combined scooping the dream for Ben & Jerry’s, Peter Mackauf, Larry Krasnow, Michelle Alcantar, Ephraim Mallari, and Barbara Rossi of Seaport Village, San Diego, were recognized with the Big “O”.  

The Operator of the Year award is the highest honor given for performance in a single year. The people that win this award have demonstrated excellence in all areas: sales trends, financial management, marketing, community involvement, and store operations.

The Social Mission Award is considered by many to be the most precious individual award available, as it recognizes someone who embodies the very heart of what Ben & Jerry’s was built on: the responsibility business has to give back to the community.

This award is given to someone who tirelessly gives back. While all of Ben & Jerry’s franchisees are involved in their communities, the winners Rhett Russel and Maria Hug of Seattle, Washington, have always made the Ben & Jerry’s social mission a priority in their scoop shops.

It’s one of the reasons they got into this business and they have continued to make it top-of-mind for their staff, as well. Whether it’s through fundraising, benefit nights, Cakes for Schools, or other donations, they have always taken care of their communities. They give their own time and resources back at each of the events that they are involved in, and encourage their staff to do the same.

This year’s Mentor of the Year was given to Patrick Pipino from Saratoga, New York, nominated for this award by multiple peers. Pipino has embraced the ability to learn, and is committed to sharing his skills and knowledge with the Ben & Jerry’s system.

Throughout the four-day gathering, there were ongoing discussions and workshops with franchisees, managers, and staff that revolved around local community activation, crafting relationships with Ben & Jerry’s fans, and embodying the Ben & Jerry’s “peace, love, and ice cream” brand philosophy.

The meeting also served as a launching pad for the upcoming year’s initiatives and provided a platform for the company to share its direction, give business updates, and solicit feedback from the franchise community.

Charitable Giving, Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, News, Ben & Jerry's