After more than 15 years learning every aspect of the family business, J.R. Galardi, has assumed the role of president of Galardi Group (GGI), the parent company of Tastee-Freez, Hamburger Stand and Wienerschnitzel, the iconic Southern California based hot dog chain with 331 restaurants in 10 states and Guam.
Formerly executive vice president, J.R. completed an exhaustive training regimen encompassing all aspects of the fast-growing Wienerschnitzel operation – first with his father and company founder, John Galardi, and most recently with his mother, Cindy Galardi Culpepper, who assumed both CEO and Chairman duties when John passed away in 2013.
The junior Galardi will now be responsible for growing same-store sales and building the Wienerschnitzel, Tastee-Freeze and Hamburger Stand store networks while maintaining his role as the primary marketing support for the brand’s fast-growing franchisee family. He will continue to work closely with Galardi Culpepper and the Management Team to position the brands for future growth, especially among younger audiences.
“Unlike some sons and daughters who inherit the family business, J.R. insisted on learning every facet of the Wienerschnitzel business from the ground up,” says Cindy Galardi Culpepper. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that we’ve been planning for this day since his first shift as a fry cook at the age of 13. As a result, there is no one better qualified to take The World’s Largest Hot Dog Chai® boldly into the future.”
As executive vice president, J.R. supported operations, marketing, franchise development and community relations for GGI. He was also previously director of administration, and created the Wienerschnitzel Visionary Department, dedicated to building brand loyalty with a younger audience through digital marketing, interactive experiences and event and charity partnerships.
It was J.R. who helped Wienerschnitzel forge partnerships with Toyota, Monster Energy Supercross, and Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross as part of a larger strategy to expand the brand’s audience to all ages.
“I have a passion for introducing ‘The Wienerschnitzel Way’ to multiple audiences,” says J.R. Galardi. “We are all about relationships with our guests—both new and returning—and without them, we wouldn’t be the restaurant we are today. My father built this company from the ground up and my goal is to continue the legacy we all love.”
After graduating from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in business and music, Galardi spent time shadowing his father. “I went to every meeting, listened in on every conference call and participated in (almost) every decision he made,” he says. “It was an amazing way to learn and it uniquely prepared me for today.”