Unlike most quick-service restaurant store management programs, operators participating in the Good Times program are not required to put any money up front to share in the store's profits. Based on the concept of continuous improvement, the managers will be eligible to receive 25 percent of any increase in store profits every year. In addition, the base salary of the operator-partner managers average 25 percent higher than competitors' salaries in the Denver market.
"There aren't any chains in the Denver area offering this type of program," said Gary Staton, director of human resources and training for Good Times. "Because we don't require upfront cash buy-in, we believe we will attract many results-oriented managers who don't necessarily have access to thousands of dollars for investment."
"We're committed to supporting our managers in building their business," Staton said. "For those high-performing managers who qualify for the partners program, it is a unique opportunity for them to share in a growing company's success without investing a substantial amount of their own money."
"Currently celebrating 15 years in business, we are embarking on our most aggressive expansion in Good Times' history," said Boyd Hoback, president and CEO of Good Times. "In order to maintain the top-level customer service that marks our brand, we need to attract and retain the cream of the crop in management."
Golden-based Good Times recently announced plans to expand from its current 34 to approximately 60 Colorado locations over the next few years. The company's expansion plans include entering the Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Parker and Castle Rock markets as well as adding additional stores along the Front Range from the Denver metro area to Fort Collins. It also unveiled a progressive new architectural design for its new stores, featuring stone-like facades and canopied patio areas.
In addition to implementing the operator-partner program in its corporate-owned locations, Good Times' executives are encouraging its franchisees to also use the program. Approximately a third of the Good Times' locations are franchise stores.
To qualify for the program, candidates must have at least three years recent general management experience in the quick-service restaurant industry. They must be recognized as one of the top performers in their company, as supported by awards and demonstrated sales growth. They also must have a history of developing strong management teams.
"The ability to develop managers is a key component to the program," Staton said. "We want our operator-partners to succeed, in part by mentoring strong management teams that will grow within the Good Times' organization."
Under the program, candidates must undergo a rigorous six-month qualification period in which they must meet high standards in service and profitability, after which they can begin drawing their profit-sharing incentives. Based on performance and sales growth, over time, operating-partners could have the opportunity to earn $60,000-$80,000 total compensation annually.
Lana Belcher, who has been with Good Times for the last three years, recently qualified as an operator-partner.
"Because we share in the profits, we will go out of our way to have the restaurant succeed," Belcher said. "Good Times is very responsive to its management team and it's rewarding to be part of the decision-making process."
Already, the program is drawing seasoned restaurant managers from other chains.
Renee Foster is the first outside candidate to begin the qualification period in the program. With 24 years of management experience at most of the top quick-service restaurant chains in the country, Foster, 43, said the Good Times' program is unique.
"At Good Times, you feel that every level of management sees it as their store and their team," she said. "There's a sense of professionalism that you don't see everywhere else. I'm ecstatic to be considered for the operator-partner program."
Foster has been with Good Times for the last 10 months and is awaiting assignment to her own store. Because her husband is in the military and is finishing the last six years of his tour in Colorado Springs, Foster is especially excited that Good Times is moving into the Colorado Springs market.
"I really feel like I can put down my roots with this company," Foster said. "Because of this program, I truly feel that I will be supported in developing my own business."