As the director of franchise recruitment for Hungry Howie’s, Ardag Tachian is helping to take the brand to new heights.
Ardag Tachian’s path to franchising wasn’t exactly a direct one.
After obtaining a graduate degree and opening a private practice as a licensed psychotherapist in Southern California, Tachian realized he wanted to pursue something a little more entrepreneurial.
“I was always an entrepreneur at heart, and I always appreciated folks who took a risk and invested their own resources to create employment for others and help others achieve the American Dream,” Tachian said. “I thought, ‘what better way to be a part of that process than getting involved with franchising directly?’ I wanted to help people create opportunities for themselves and their communities.”
After attending a franchise trade show, Tachian discovered an opportunity with Quiznos. The brand only had five or six restaurants in L.A. at the time, so he moved into a development agent role to help Quiznos expand.
That role eventually led him to MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, and it wasn’t long until he had acquired development rights for the Midwest. Tachian eventually became the vice president of development with MOOYAH, helping the brand achieve an important milestone recently—100 units.
Today, Tachian has taken that experience to Hungry Howie’s, where he works as the director of franchise recruitment. Tachian’s ties to Hungry Howie’s run deep—since the restaurant opened its very first unit in 1973 in Detroit, Hungry Howie’s has served as his favorite hometown pizza joint.
We spoke with Tachian to learn more about his passion for helping franchisees achieve their goals, and the plans he has for his new role with Hungry Howie’s.
What makes Hungry Howie’s franchise development process tick?
Validation. Without franchisee validation, we do not have an effective development process. Over the last several years, the team has focused on servicing our current franchisees and striving to exceed their expectations. When a brand has a happy base of franchisees who are implementing a business model that works, it creates a more fertile and pleasant climate for new business development. It also helps to have 25 consecutive quarters of same store sales increases; quite an impressive achievement!
What have been some of your brand’s major milestones?
We introduced a new corporate identity that featured an updated store design, fresh advertising and more. We implemented a state of the art online ordering system and strive to continuously improve the way we use technology to engage with our consumer base. Tech initiatives appeal to millennial employees and consumers, and also streamline and simplify operations.
Hungry Howie’s Online Management Exchange (HOME) is a really amazing piece of technology. Our HOME App provides all franchisees and franchise support personnel with real time reporting and management tools. The system allows franchisees access to all key performance indicators pertinent to running a successful business.
What are you most proud of?
Our team. Hungry Howie’s core focus is to provide people the opportunity to enrich their lives and community and we strive to do that each and every day. Together with our franchise support team, our franchisees across the country have worked tirelessly to build this brand. We find ourselves in a very competitive industry and I can confidently attribute our success to the passion that exists across our system for our brand. Hungry Howie’s Pizza has experienced leaders in every aspect of the business from operations and marketing to distribution.
Success is often preceded by hard work and a staunch commitment to quality, excellence, and integrity. It’s a very special brand led by a special group of people, who, since 1973, have emphasized quality, integrity and family.
What specific steps do your most successful franchisees take in order to build and grow their respective businesses? And what do you do to set them up for success?
There is a difference in being a restaurant operator and a business owner. To truly grow their businesses, the most successful Hungry Howie’s franchisees balance both, by hiring to fill the voids where they may exist. We like to say that we give each franchisee tools to add to their toolbox, which in turn sets them up for success. Hungry Howie’s provides each franchisee with a field business consultant who supports, challenges, and speaks frankly to franchisees about their business. We have developed and implemented many turnkey marketing solutions, from point of purchase kits to local store digital marketing campaigns, which allow our franchisees to focus on building their respective businesses. Since we have one unified point of sale system, we are able to provide our franchisees with metrics such as key performance indicators, which they can use to gauge how their restaurant compares to the rest of our system. The intent is to provide our franchisees with support at multiple touch points, thus creating the opportunity for improvement and enhancement of all facets of the business.
What are your goals for your Hungry Howie’s in the next few years and how do you plan to grow the brand?
Growth is best achieved when desire and momentum are created to be a part of something special. Our goal is to continue to support our most focused and enterprising franchisees by creating the opportunity for them to grow and develop. We will also continue to recruit and attract new franchisees for new markets, as multi-unit development opportunities are still available in most states.
What’s your go-to order at Hungry Howie’s?
The BBQ Chicken Pizza is out of this world!