All-Star Franchisees: Curtis High of Saladworks
All-Star Franchisees: Curtis High of Saladworks

Fan turned franchisee offers unique perspective on transition into ownership.

As a Yum Brands corporate trainer, Curtis High experienced firsthand the support, guidance and confidence a corporate team can instill in its franchisees. He felt empowered by the franchise system but recognized his current position was not fulfilling his longing to be his own boss. Now a multi-unit franchisee with Saladworks, he is using his industry knowledge to help expand the brand across the tristate area. 1851 connected with High to learn about his transition from corporate team member to franchisee, how he chose to join the growing franchise concept and the financial stability and flexibility that changed his life.

What was your perspective about franchising prior to joining?

Before I joined Saladworks as a franchisee, I was working for Yum Brands as a corporate trainer for Pizza Hut franchisees. My goal was to be trained and fast tracked to become an area manager. I have always had interest in owning my own restaurant but to take the jump and start a business by myself was terrifying. Through my exposure to franchising I realized that the ownership process wasn’t much different than what I was teaching and training operators at Pizza Hut. Restaurant ownership is in my spirit. I’m not one to be micromanaged and I liked the idea of being in control of my own destiny.

What is the top thing you think people don't understand about franchising?

I don’t think people recognize how easy franchising can be. The systems, products and blueprints are put in place by the corporate team that oversees the success of their franchisees. All you have to do as a franchisee is run the operation. It can be challenging, but you have the support of a team to help you along the way.

How has being a franchisee changed your life?

I have three children under the age of 10 and franchising has allowed me to adapt my schedule to spend time with them. The flexibility has been the best thing for my family and me. It’s also given me the opportunity to expand my role in the community and become a positive influence. My wife is a schoolteacher and is extremely supportive of my expansion with Saladworks. The best thing she can do is offer support and she’s consistently done that for me.

Why did you pick Saladworks?

I was an avid customer of Saladworks when I was working at Yum Brands. I ate at Saladworks nearly every day because I loved the brand and its salads. Since I was there all the time, I figured it was time to consider my options and explore the opportunity further. When I started looking at franchising, I wanted to join a brand with products I would be proud of serving – something fresh and healthy that’s delicious. On the other side, I also recognized the financial benefits. I talked to other Saladworks franchisees and all of them were doing extremely well. I’m not only proud of what I’m serving but when done right, it’s something that can set me up financially for the rest of my life, and potentially even something I can pass down to my children.

What types of other brands did you look at? 

I wasn’t really looking for a franchise opportunity until the door to Saladworks opened for me. I ate there every day and decided I wanted to learn more about what franchising with the brand would look like. After I met with the corporate team and got to know more about their process, I was excited about jumping on board. There wasn’t a lot of comparing and contrasting involved in my decision process – I knew Saladworks was the right fit.

Why should someone buy Saladworks?

There is so much opportunity for expansion with Saladworks, not only within the tri-state area but also across the country. My business partner and I opened our first location and it was incredibly successful. Growing off that success, we’ve now opened a total of four locations. I don’t think we’ve even come close to seeing our potential as a brand and that should excite others to join.

What advice would you have for someone looking to become a franchisee?

I think the most important aspect of franchising is to pay attention to the location of your restaurant. You have to find real estate that is going to be profitable because once you lock that down, it’s going predict your success for the rest of your life. Make sure you do your due diligence and choose wisely.

Visit the International Franchise Association’s @OurFranchise website for more stories of passionate local franchise owners, employees and their communities.