On January 4th of 2016, we had a change in ownership of the franchise company. Often, a change like that can be negative, but in this case, it’s nothing but good. Now, Great Harvest is owned by our Chief Marketing Officer Eric Keshin, its employees (through an ESOP), and me. The significance of the company being fully owned by the people working there is huge. Now we can all make sure that we are growing the Great Harvest franchise and making it thrive.
Much of my time as CEO of Great Harvest has seen us debating whether we are a bread store or a cafe? Now is the time to put that behind us. The answer is: “yes, we are a bread store AND a cafe.” Our Freedom Franchise agreement allows for most menu decisions to be made locally, which we think is the best answer. But the brand must stand for something universal and ownable. This is the direction we will continue with our new ownership group.
Resolved: Great Harvest is a Bread Store AND a Cafe
What can you expect from this shift? Even more food that tastes great. A continued commitment to making real food that is safe, healthy, sustainable and, wherever possible, local. We will focus on emphasizing those qualities and make sure they are coming to you in the form of new product offerings at your neighborhood bakery cafe.
Also, look for us to further develop and push our new dual-store franchise concept which allows more cafes to be built as satellite locations in conjunction with a traditional bread store while we also shift to further embrace the public demand for the cafe side of our business.
What won’t change? Quality. We remain committed to making phenomenal whole grain products baked from scratch daily using fresh milled flour and the best ingredients we can find. No matter how we package things, that won’t ever change. We are passionate about what we do and how we do it. You won’t ever see us selling bread that is par-baked and frozen from a commissary.
The Dawn of a New Era
Things are in place for this to be a golden era for the Great Harvest franchise. Great products. Great innovation. Great people. A philosophy in line with who we are and how we do business.
While the future excites me, I am also quite nostalgic about our recent past. Our board chairman, Nido Qubein, has been nothing but a great friend and mentor to me over the years. I would not be half the leader I am without his wisdom and friendship. Fortunately, Nido is not leaving Great Harvest entirely. He will remain as our Executive Board Chairman. I will be stepping into his role as Chairman, and Eric will be taking my role as President. I will remain CEO. These are exciting times, and the future is now even brighter!
Get to Know the Great Harvest Franchise:
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