With 30-plus years of restaurant experience, Bill Wilfong is primed to carry the Pita Pit brand toward its 700th store opening
In early 2016, Pita Pit, the fresher, healthier and more customizable alternative to fast food, reached an important milestone with the opening of its 600th location, and the brand’s trajectory has only grown since. Pita Pit plans to open 45 new locations by the end of 2016 in at least six new markets. At the core of this growth is Pita Pit’s Vice President of Franchise Development, Bill Wilfong. Wilfong has been in the retail food industry for more than 30 years, about 10 of which has been in the QSR industry. Pita Pit originally hired Wilfong to manage food contracts with suppliers, which he did for two years. The next two years he spent in an operations role, and the following five years were in franchise development. In 2014, he became the vice president of franchise development and continues in that role today.
1851 Franchise had the chance to talk to Wilfong about Pita Pit’s franchise development process and what has made Pita Pit grow so successful and so quickly.
What makes Pita Pit's franchise development process tick?
We’ve found that great experiences at our stores are responsible for 90 percent or more of our lead flow. Our best leads always come from our Pita Pit customers that have a great experience and naturally start thinking about owning one of their own.
What have been some of your brand’s major milestones?
We were thrilled when we opened our 100th store, then our 200th store, and just this past year, we celebrated our 600th global Pita Pit opening. Each of these milestones were equally as sweet!
What are you most proud of?
Changing people’s lives for the better on both sides of the counter. On one side, we’re providing better-for-you food choices for customers, and on the other side of the counter, we’re providing self-employment opportunities for driven entrepreneurs. It’s really the basis for all we do!
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?
The most successful operators manage their business by being a part of the community, by hiring great staff that knows our product and by really creating an experience for the customer. These things are very uncommon in the QSR world and make a restaurant memorable when it’s done right! We set franchisees up for success by training them and their new staff to offer that experience to their customers from the start. We also keep the quality of the food up and costs down, and of course we do our best to let the world know about Pita Pit through ongoing marketing.
What are your goals for the Pita Pit brand in the next few years and how do you plan to help get there?
Our goal is to keep putting the right people in the right locations, with what we believe is a winning concept. We believe the numbers will follow if we do just that.