Roz Mallet is a seasoned leader with extensive and diverse experience in enterprise strategy, turnarounds, transition planning, systems implementation, human capital development and franchise operations. She is recognized in the industry for her innovative approaches, financial and organizational development results, the ability to build sustainable talent pipelines and a commitment to impacting her industry and community.
Mallet currently is president and chief executive of PhaseNext Hospitality – a franchise operating company. Previously Mallet was president and interim chief executive of Caribou Coffee, senior vice president of Human Resources for Applebee’s and TGI Friday’s, and chief operating officer of la Madeleine Country French Café. In addition Mallet serves on the board of directors of the National Restaurant Association and in 2012 will become its chairman.
Title: President and chief executive
Concepts, headquarters location: Franchisee of Smashburger / Buffalo Wild Wings / Corner Bakery Cafe / Zao Noodle Bar; Plano, TX
Check Averages: $8-$15
Number of Units: 2
Newest Ventures: Airport/ Military base growth
Hometown: Houston, TX
Education: St Mary’s University
First Restaurant Job: Cashier
Restaurant Light Bulb moment: Promoted from cashier to shift supervisor in first couple of months…and I realized I could manage a business.
Heroes: Nelson Mandela
What do you cook at home: grill multiple proteins and veggies
Pick your final meal: Caesar salad, filet mignon, black bean/corn relish, fresh tomatoes and a bottle of Duckhorn
First dish prepared as a child: fish sticks
Favorite part of the job: helping people create and develop careers
Guilty pleasure: potato chips
Best stress management: going to the beach and watching the sun set
Career Highlights: WFF Trailblazer Award; first CEO job, opening my first restaurants last month
Best Advice Ever Received: know your strategy, have a well thought out plan and be prepared with “plan B”
Best Advice Ever Given: you can accomplish anything you’re prepared to learn to excel at
Hobbies: reading, traveling to Maui and Florida
Your restaurant career has taken a lot of interesting twists and turns. Which job change afforded you the greatest learning experience?
Working for Marilyn Carlson Nelson as SVP of HR for Carlson Companies
Was it difficult to move from the human resources area to operations?
No, I started in single unit ops, so going back as a business general manager was a lot of fun.
What was the catalyst that led you to start PhaseNext Hospitality?
I decided to move on from corporate to entrepreneur in the “next phase” of my career.
You have mentored many people in the industry. How do you inspire others to do the same?
I believe in servant leadership and paying forward. I role model and try to be a good mentor so that others can reach back to help others as well
What overall observations have you made about the industry as a whole during the “Great Recession?
Our industry is truly a cornerstone with so many entry-level positions available. We will recover with the disposable income improvement of our customer base.
What has been the most challenging aspect of starting your own business?
Access to capital is a very big challenge.
How did you first get into the restaurant industry?
I returned to my parents’ home after freshman year in college. After two weeks of hanging around the house, my mother told me to find a job, or she would find one for me. The first thing that came up was a restaurant job. And I loved it immediately.
What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of leading a restaurant company?
Leading and developing people
Where would you like to see the National Restaurant Association in ten years?
I’d like us to have membership representing over 75% of the industry
How different is it to be a franchisee as opposed to a franchisor?
I’m a recovering control freak. I can’t control the strategic decisions for the brands.
What is the best way to attract top talent to an organization?
Create a culture where people know they are appreciated. Employees have to be as important as the customers.
How do you decide the concepts that you franchise?
We look for great quality product, fast casual service, strong systems and process.
How far out do you do your strategic planning?
Three to five years out
What marketing tactics are you using?
There isn’t much required in the non traditional (captive) marketplace.
What achievement in the industry are you the most proud of?
Having the opportunity to give back through Share Our Strength and NRA
What mistake during your career has taught you the most?
Whenever I don’t trust the instincts that my experience has taught me, my effectiveness suffers.
How often are you in your units?
How do you think 2011 will shake out for your business?
Growth will be slow for us, and our industry
How big do you think PhaseNext Hospitality could become?
We plan to have 50 restaurants