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In this episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg, “The Restaurant Guy,” and Jimmy Frischling, “The Finance Guy,” dive into an engaging conversation with guest Greg Flynn, founder, chairman, and CEO of the Flynn Group and Flynn Properties. 

Pull up a chair and grab a napkin as Greg serves a hearty helping of inspiration. Greg shares his pursuit in the hospitality industry, his insights on various market segments, and his experiences with different aspects of the business, including restaurant operations, real estate investments, and the expansion into fitness centers. From flipping burgers at McDonald’s to running the show as the head honcho of the world’s largest franchise operation, Greg’s journey is a real-life recipe for success, highlighting the key ingredients of operational excellence, a dash of strategic diversification, and a generous portion of adapting to ever-changing market trends. So, sit back and enjoy this conversation that’s sure to leave you hungry for more knowledge in the dynamic world of hospitality.

Key Takeaways:

  • Greg leads the largest franchise operation globally, managing over 2,600 units across several iconic brands, including Applebee’s, Taco Bell, Panera, Arby’s, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, and Planet Fitness. This massive scale and diversity in operations are unparalleled in the industry.
  • The Flynn Group’s emphasis on operational excellence is reflected in their numerous accolades, such as being named Pizza Hut’s Franchisee of the Year and Applebee’s Franchisee of the Year multiple times. Achieving these recognitions, especially as the largest franchisee, underscores their commitment to high standards and quality management.
  • The Flynn Group’s strategic pivot into the fitness industry with Planet Fitness is a notable diversification move. This expansion beyond traditional restaurant operations into adjacent consumer-facing businesses showcases Flynn’s innovative approach and adaptability in identifying and capitalizing on new market opportunities. Greg jokes about the Flynn Group’s expansion into Planet Fitness as “vertical integration” – feeding customers at their restaurants and then slimming them down at their gyms.
  • The unique aspects of Flynn Properties illustrate Greg exceptional ability to diversify, innovate, and adapt in the dynamic fields of real estate and hospitality.
  • Greg offers a golden nugget of advice for aspiring operators and franchisees, “be an operator” first and foremost. In a highly competitive industry, excellence in hospitality trumps all. He emphasizes that it’s not about the finance or buying assets but about being exceptionally good at running the operations. His perspective underscores that even with perfect timing and other strategies in place, the core of success lies in mastering the day-to-day operations and delivering unparalleled service. This advice from a proven industry leader highlights the essential focus on operational excellence as the key to thriving in the hospitality sector.

Savor the flavor of engaging segments like “What’s Hot and Not,” a Quickfire Round that’s sure to add some zest, and the pièce de résistance, Trivia Tuesday.

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