On a Thursday afternoon in October, Salt Lake City native Brandon Frampton ditched the office, rolled up his sleeves and joined ranks with a handful of front-line Pantry employees at a store in North Carolina.
Frampton, 38, hadn’t been vice president of foodservice for the Sanford-based Pantry chain for more than two weeks, and already he was eager to drop by the stores to meet the workers and customers.
“That’s the thing I love most, working with the people,” Frampton said. “Both the customers and the teams. I love working with the team members–we have a great time.”
On that afternoon, Frampton was making sandwiches at a Subway restaurant inside one of the 105 Pantry stores with that offering. “I love exploring their ideas, the customers and the team members. What are customers buying? What are they asking for? I love the energy in these stores.”
Frampton is aiming to harness that energy as he single-mindedly pursues his new goal: “Build the biggest and most profitable QSR c-store chain in the U.S.”
Ambitious, yes, but entirely feasible at a chain that already dominates the convenience landscape in the southeastern U.S.
Frampton himself has proven to be an effective leader, having joined The Pantry after leaving Pilot Travel Centers, where he managed the QSR and foodservice concepts at 55 of the chain’s 300 stores.
As brand manager for Pilot’s 135 Subway stores, Frampton and a colleague united the Subway co-brands under a single concept, “One System, One Way” (OSOW).
“There were a lot of people doing great things, but nobody was doing it the same way,” he said. “We trained regional managers and the whole team so that, when you walked into one store, it was a mirror image across all the stores.”
The OSOW concept took hold at every store, with every regional manager, store manager and team member fostering uniform practices for the sake of consistency.
Setting brand standards, tightening up the marketing and maximizing the framework that’s already in place, Frampton said, is paramount to growing the foodservice program.
“What I need to make sure I’m doing is the execution part,” he said. “The second thing is to button up the marketing, and the third thing is to maximize the brands.”
Maximizing the use of technology and innovation at all of those stores will also be critical to optimize performance at The Pantry’s multiple brands.
Indeed, the Subway stores at The Pantry will be Frampton’s prime focus, though he’s also looking to expand on other QSR concepts, as well as the 75 sites that offer The Pantry’s proprietary Aunt Em’s and Chicken-Deli programs.
“We’ve got a lot of great opportunities,” he said. “We’ve already got the land and we’ve got the sites. We just need to pick the right locations to develop in. The food business is not going away, and it grows every day.
“There are multiple sites we’re looking at to grow not only Subways, but all of our other brands,” Frampton said. “We’re looking at an aggressive growth strategy.”