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Executive Chat - Michael Mabry Won Life Brands - July 2023


Executive Chat with Rebecca Patt

Featuring Michael Mabry, Managing Director of Won Life Brands Michael Mabry joined Won Life Brands as Managing Director in 2022. Won Life Brands owns, operates, and franchises a growing portfolio of brands including Famous Toastery, Big Burger Spot, Flour Power, and Cartridge World. Michael’s previous roles include President of Famous Toastery, CDO of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, and President/COO of Mooyah Burgers & Fries. Can you tell me about the history and founding principles of Won Life Brands? Robert Maynard and I set out to create a company that focuses on growth and development and much like Won Life, this is a double entendre. We all have ‘one' life to live and we want to ‘win’ at that life. We are in the business to grow and develop people that grow and develop brands. What sets Famous Toastery apart from other breakfast restaurants in terms of menu offerings, customer experience, and overall brand identity?

Famously Fresh. That is what sets us the brand apart. Not because the ingredients are Famously Fresh, but because of the FAMOUS sentiment behind it. The care Mike Sebazco, Brand President, and his team take in ensuring every server is your server, the attention to detail when crafting their dishes with only the highest quality of ingredients, the ability to customize a dish for a guest so that it is one of one for them are all in place to make all guests feel Famous. They then add the Franchisee/GM layer where they strive to have owners that are pillars in their communities. They donate 100% of profits from Friends & Family weekend to a charity in the immediate community. These aren’t just ‘things we do,’ they’re the brand identity, culture, and voice. What about Big Burger Spot: how does it stand out from other burger offerings? I could talk about the quality and breadth of the product or the great team members or the fact that our flame-broiled burgers are cooked to order as all of those are the reality, but our magic comes from our guests. Big Burger Spot, or BBS as we like to call it, has a true cult like following in the greater Greensboro market and we feel an obligation to allow new guests in new markets to join in. Nick Marien, our Operating Partner, has been charged with this task. In an increasingly digital and paperless world, how does Cartridge World adapt to changing customer needs and industry trends? What steps has the company taken to diversify its offerings? Great questions and fortunately there are easy answers. Greg Carafello, Cartridge World’s President, has a clear vision of what it means to be a Cartridge World franchisee and customer. Two examples of this are his Executive Office Model (EOM) and ‘No cost printer’ program. EOM allows franchisees the liberty to operate without a brick-and-mortar location while still having access to all of Cartridge Worlds offers. The technology behind this is the game changer. The ‘No cost printer’ program is exactly as it sounds. We offer printers at no cost to all individuals and businesses of all sizes; we just ask that they buy their cartridges from us.

How has Flour Power evolved since its inception, and what significant milestones has it achieved so far? The most important and first milestone was the hiring of Sarah Moritz as President. Her leadership and vision are exemplary and has set the overall tone. Flour Power Cooking Studios is a lifestyle brand with one mission for the young and young-at-heart: to improve overall wellbeing through culinary experiences. Acquired by Won Life Brands in August 2022, Flour Power has enacted innumerable operational improvements and enhancements to position the brand as the fastest growing cooking studio franchise in the United States. Highlights include: creating a new branding platform and mission to serve people of all ages; updating offerings price structure;  formalizing a construction/appliance relationship with Lowe's; hiring both a VP of branding/marketing strategies and Director of Culinary Experiences; enacting an event/class mobile app; introducing a new class management tool to streamline and improve customer experience; increasing social media engagement by 27%; enhancing studio kitchen build-out with a more sophisticated vibe and color palette; hiring a dedicated PR firm facilitate more earned media and consistent company message; enacting B2B inbound marketing and sales enablement protocols. Could you share some recent successes or milestones that Won Life Brands has achieved? Besides the fact that we have grown from one brand, Famous Toastery, to four brands (Famous Toastery, Flour Power, Big Burger Spot, Cartridge World) since August of last year I would say our successes are the people we have brought on board. Each brand has a true leader with real ownership, and it shows daily. Can you share any upcoming plans or exciting developments that are in the pipeline for Won Life Brands? While we are always on the lookout for the next brand, the current focus is ensuring our teams are well supported and that they feel empowered to grow.

Need to recruit top talent for your executive team? Contact Rebecca at rebecca@wraysearch.com

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