After serving in the military for over two decades, Ronnell Bryant has turned his attention toward becoming Charlotte's newest Lennys Grill & Subs franchisee.
Ronnell Bryant had spent the past 23 years working in the military but has always harbored a fondness for the food and hospitality industry. With prior experience in franchising, and having already loved the Lennys Grill & Subs brand, he knew diving back into the industry was the route he wanted to take upon his retirement. He acquired an existing Lennys Grill & Subs location in the Charlotte area, where he calls home, and has helped ingrain himself and the Lennys name back into the community.
Today, Bryant owns and operates the location alongside side his son, Ziggy, and have quickly developed a special connection to the community. The two are eager to further establish a larger Lennys presence across Charlotte moving forward.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
I was actually born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, and have called the region home ever since. For the past 23 years, I've been in the military within the National Guard. I'm just getting ready to finish up my military duties and retire from the service now, that way I can focus on our Lennys Grill & Subs location.
My brother was in the Navy and I had always been interested in the military growing up. It was always something I aspired to be. So, my first tour was in the early '90s. When I got out, I opened a franchise and ran that for 10 years, then after 9/11, I knew it was my duty to re-join the military and help any way I can, especially since I'm originally from Brooklyn. I've been in the military ever since.
How did you hear about Lennys Grill & Subs and what motivated you to join the team?
I wanted to do something after retiring from the military and I owned another franchise a long time ago and I just loved the simplicity of things, talking to people and serving them good food.
I had actually eaten at the Lennys location we currently own many times, since it was near where we were stationed -- we all loved it. It was a gathering place for all of us. I wanted one of these to own for myself one day and as it turned out, I got the exact same one. We actually took it over back in November of 2015, so it's been under our name for over a year now and since we've increased sales significantly and we've gotten a great response from the community.
What's helped make your location so successful early on?
Basically, we've added discipline to the program. We hire locally and get involved in our community and it's helped establish more of a family feel to the restaurant. My son, Ziggy, is actually the general manager at the store and was only 19-years old when we bought it. He was handling day-to-day responsibilities while I continued my service.
It's been a great opportunity for us and we're just trying to build the brand locally and develop a bigger presence in the area.
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