How Chris Elliot, the CEO of The Brass Tap and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s utilizes relationships and a fearless attitude to drive the brands forward.
When asked to name the proudest moment of his career, Chris Elliott doesn’t have an answer.
For Elliott – the CEO of FSC Franchise Co. – there’s a lot to be proud of, so it’s pretty hard trying to single one moment out.
FSC Franchise Co. is the franchisor behind Beef 'O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap. And with more than 200 locations between the two establishments, it’s clear that there’s a lot for Elliott to be proud of.
“I don’t think I’ll ever tire of that great, gratifying feeling that comes when a franchisee opens a new store, it really does well, and it’s obvious that they’re really happy about their decision to get involved with us. That’s very satisfying,” Elliot said. “It also reaffirms why I do what I do every single day—we’re helping dozens of entrepreneurs finally live out their dream of business ownership.”
When Elliot first joined FSC Franchise Co., back in 2010, he took the time to talk to franchisees about the challenges, opportunities and issues they faced within the company. Through that, Elliott said he realized the number one priority for people was communication.
“People like to understand what the goals are, they like to know what their role is and what’s expected of them. They value feedback and they like to feel like they’re in the loop,” he said.
Without that kind of effective communication, he said, you can’t be a good leader.
Companies also need energy, enthusiasm and someone who is dedicated to moving the organization forward. And it’s important for the leader to set the pace.
“That doesn’t come from below,” Elliot said. “That has to come from the top.”
FSC Franchise Co., acquired The Brass Tap back in 2012 when it was looking for brands they could grow. At the time, The Brass Tap had only three locations, and Elliott knew they could capitalize on the booming craft beer scene. Elliott saw potential in the Brass Tap and knew the bar had to be more than just a craft beer and wine experience to succeed. That’s why, as the bar evolved, they added food and more liquor.
The investment paid off. The Brass Tap recently opened its 40th location in Montana, and Elliott said they hope to end 2017 with 55 locations.
“The CEO needs a vision for where they want to take the organization, where the opportunities are, how we’re going to grow it and what are the steps we’re going to take along the way to make that happen,” Elliot added.
After working in the industry for 36 years, Elliott said that it’s ultimately one thing to read about leadership and leadership habits, but it’s another thing to live it and practice it. The more experience you have, the more you make sense of what you might have read years ago.
“Being a successful leader in any endeavor starts with your ability to relate to people, to be empathetic when its necessary, to push when its necessary and to really know the difference when you do one and the other effectively.”
But most importantly? You cannot be afraid to fail.
“I think good leaders do a lot of self-reflection. They can look at what they’ve done right and they’re not afraid to admit what they’ve done incorrectly. They don’t mess around. They just go fix it and move on. They don’t wallow in it,” Elliot said. “Because if you are afraid to fail, you won’t take any risks. And if you don’t take any risks, you won’t make any progress.”