Team Turner: Following in his Family's Entrepreneurial Footsteps
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Team Turner: Following in his Family's Entrepreneurial Footsteps

Team Turner: Following in his Family's Entrepreneurial Footsteps

Name: Sedrick Turner

Title: President/Owner-Operator

Company: Global Midsouth Corp.

No. of units: 8 Checkers (with 1 under construction), 6 Rally’s

Age: 53

Family: 2 daughters, Alexandria, 25, and Kennedi, 13; parents, Teresita and William Turner; 2 brothers, William and Wendell; 1 sister, Maria

Years in franchising: 30

Years in current position: 30

Sedrick Turner comes from a family with a long entrepreneurial history. He remembers spending time in his childhood with his grandmother, a strong woman who raised a large family and dreamed of what might have been. “She used to talk to me about the things she wished she had had the resources to do,” he says. That planted the seed in him to one day own and operate his own business.

Turner also was inspired by watching his father, a retired Air Force master sergeant who worked as a postal carrier and operated other businesses, including a grocery store. His brothers followed their dad’s example by starting up the first beeper and paging service in Memphis, and Turner worked for them during his summer vacations from college. In his senior year at Tennessee State University, he investigated franchise giant Subway for a research project. In the following years, he operated as many as 14 Subways, 2 Red Robins, and 8 Hot Wings, his own franchise concept.

These days, Turner is focused on expanding his portfolio of Checkers & Rally’s restaurants,  most of which are in Mississippi. He’s also teaching his daughter the business and continuing his work as vice president of operations for a group that supports veterans reentering the workforce. Turner says he follows one basic tenet for business success: “It’s a team.”

PERSONAL

First job: Sacker/cashier at a local grocery store.

Formative influences/events: Growing up, I was greatly influenced by my father, watching him own and operate his own businesses.

Key accomplishments: I am a first-generation college graduate.

Biggest current challenge: Keeping my weight under control.

Next big goal: Add more locations through development and acquisition.

First turning point in your career: When I had to close my first franchise restaurant with another brand in 2001–2002 because of a recession.

Best business decision: Joining the Checkers & Rally’s family.

Hardest lesson learned: When you face adversity, you need to hit it head-on, embrace it, learn from it, and grow from it.

Work week: Seven days a week because I’m passionate about what I do. I’m always trying to find things to do to better for myself and the company.

Exercise/workout: I love a long walk or jog after a nice, long day at work.

Best advice you ever got: Stay persistent and follow through on your dreams.

What’s your passion in business? To succeed and to do whatever it takes to provide for my family while taking care of my team members and guests. It’s a blessing to be a blessing.

How do you balance life and work? Scheduling activities outside of work and taking time off for several vacations throughout the year.

Guilty pleasure: Junk food.

Favorite book: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama.

Favorite movie: “Bad Boys.”

What do most people not know about you? I may come off as shy, but I have a high energetic spirit, and I love to make those around me laugh.

Pet peeve: No excuses.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Entrepreneur.

Last vacation: Europe.

Person I’d most like to have lunch with: Warren Buffett.

MANAGEMENT

Business philosophy: To witness success, you must fail so that you can be a testimony for yourself and others. Surround yourself with people who share your core values of God first, giving back to the community we serve, and taking care of our guests.

Management method or style: I have a democratic management style.

Greatest challenge: Recruiting and retention of talented team members.

How do others describe you? God-fearing, generous, loving, kind, and hard-working.

One thing I’m looking to do better: Reach customers in more than one way.

How I give my team room to innovate and experiment: Team member-building activities.

How close are you to operations? Very close. I’m a hands-on guy when it comes to my business.

What are the two most important things you rely on from your franchisor? Ongoing support and continued proven plans for success.

What I need from vendors: Quality, consistency, and service.

Have you changed your marketing strategy in response to the economy? How? Yes. I established and joined marketing co-ops in both of the markets my stores are located in.

How is social media affecting your business? It’s increasing business through our new rewards and mobile app. We are able to reach those who don’t see our television commercials or receive coupons by mail. We also use social media to post news of our growth and breakthroughs.

How do you hire and fire? Our hiring process is done through Indeed, and our general managers will schedule interviews with candidates they see fit. After the interview, if the candidate is chosen, an offer letter is presented with a start date. When firing an employee, we give specific reasons for the decision and provide documentation, such as performance reviews or write-ups. Once termination is completed, we make sure to collect any items the employee has access to.

How do you train and retain? We have adopted new comprehensive onboarding and LMS programs.

How do you deal with problem employees? Get to the root of the problem, provide clear instructions and expectations, be proactive, and stay calm and respectful.

Fastest way into my doghouse: Excuses and failure to complete whatever task is asked of you.

COVID-19

How did Covid-19 affect your business? Checkers is one of the only QSRs to adopt a drive-thru–only concept that we perfected and others are just learning. We were able to operate business as normal because we were drive-thru–only.

What changes do you think will be permanent? Continue to elevate guests’ drive-thru experiences.

BOTTOM LINE

2024 goals: Open more Checkers & Rally’s locations and improve current operations.

Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? Revenue, profit/sales, and customer traffic.

Vision meter: Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? Retired and enjoying my future grandbabies.

Do you have brands in different segments? Why/why not? No, but looking for new opportunities.

How is the economy in your region affecting you, your employees, your customers? In a positive manner. Sales are increasing.

Are you experiencing economic growth in your market? Yes. We opened four new freestanding locations in 2022.

How do changes in the economy affect the way you do business? It may affect our profit at times, but at those times it allows us to increase efficiency.

How do you forecast for your business? By creating budgets and measurable goals.

What are the best sources for capital expansion? Certain banking partnerships.

Experience with private equity, local banks, national banks, other institutions? Yes, local and national banks.

What are you doing to take care of your employees? Encourage open communication, recognize their hard work, and offer extra support when needed.

How are you handling rising employee costs (payroll, minimum wage, healthcare, etc.)? Increasing menu prices.

What laws and regulations are affecting your business, and how are you dealing with them? Keeping up with current and changing labor laws.

How do you reward/recognize top-performing employees? We have a bonus program in place. Each category a manager meets is rewarded with a different dollar amount. We also have a team outing every month (bowling, dinner, etc.). At the end of the year, we also have a Christmas party. We give out awards to our team members and managers. It’s a big celebration.

What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? Currently, I’m teaching my daughter Alexandria everything she needs to know about the business. In the next 5 years, I plan to pass the torch to her.

Published: December 1st, 2023

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