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Krystal Taylor President of the USA Division for Gloria Jean's

Retail Food Group: Talking all things Flavor, Growth & People with Krystal Taylor

Retail Food Group (RFG) is a prominent global food and beverage company based in Queensland, Australia. With its headquarters in Queensland, RFG is the largest multi-brand retail food and beverage franchise owner in Australia, boasting a strong presence in the coffee roasting and supply sector. RFG’s extensive global network comprises approximately 1,300 trading outlets, making it a significant player in the food and beverage industry worldwide.

Within Australia, RFG manages and operates an impressive portfolio of 10 distinct brands, catering to a wide range of culinary preferences. These brands collectively handle more than 40 million customer transactions annually. It has nearly 700 outlets that are effectively serviced by a dedicated community of franchise partners and approximately 6,800 company employees, ensuring efficient and high-quality service.

“We understand the retail dynamics of our brands and are focused on providing Franchise Partners a clear picture of success supported by the systems, processes and tools necessary to maximize their businesses. We are excited to now focus on unlocking growth opportunities.” -Matthew Marshall, CEO.

Peter George, the Executive Chairman of the Board at RFG, emphasizes the company’s commitment to its franchisees and the support of a capable management team. This approach positions them to realize their growth ambitions for FY24 and beyond. He also mentions the establishment of the first of three new Gloria Jean’s drive-thru outlets in Texas, USA, which has prompted a closer examination of the American market.

RFG is the direct franchisor for the USA and this scrutiny has led to the initiation of a strategic initiative aimed at expanding the network in the USA. Their goal is to establish more than 100 outlets within a two to three-year timeframe and the implementation steps for this strategy are currently in progress.

About Gloria Jean’s Coffees

Gloria Jean’s Coffees journey began with a curiosity about how people worldwide enjoy coffee. This exploration involved experimenting with various coffee beans, roasting methods and innovative flavor infusions. However, it was not just the flavor of the coffee that guided the brand—it was the essence and character brought to the business by Gloria herself. Inspired by Gloria’s vision, the brand has opened its doors to the world and offered a diverse range of delicious coffees, Chillers, refreshing over-ice beverages, and well paired food options. The concept of “flavor” extends beyond taste; it embodies character, personality and individuality. Gloria Jean’s understands that by celebrating diverse flavors, it creates something more significant than just coffee.

Gloria Jean Kvetko’s philosophy, that the “right way to enjoy coffee is your way,” is the brand’s guiding principle. The brand takes immense pride in providing exceptional customer service and personalized experiences during each visit, fostering moments where every guest can truly be themselves.

The Inception Story

Gloria Jean’s Coffees, a brand known for its dedication to crafting exquisite coffee experiences, has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1979 by Gloria Jean Kvetko, a visionary entrepreneur from Chicago. Under her leadership, the brand rapidly gained recognition and expanded its presence across the United States. Gloria Jean’s innovative approach brought a delightful array of flavors to the world of coffee, setting the stage for a legacy that now spans fourty-four years.

With over four decades of expertise, Gloria Jean’s Coffees has meticulously handcrafted indulgent beverages and perfected the art of flavoring coffee beans. Today, the brand operates in more than 600 stores, reaching coffee enthusiasts in 32 countries worldwide. It’s important to note that Gloria Jean’s Coffees is not a newcomer vying for a place in the market; rather, it boasts the longevity and credibility that come from being a venerable purveyor of gourmet coffee in the industry.

In 2014, Gloria Jean’s Coffees became part of Retail Food Group (RFG), a move that significantly bolstered the brand’s growth prospects and global recognition. At RFG, every brand within the network benefits from an extensive reservoir of industry knowledge, with each brand boasting at least a decade’s worth of experience. Leveraging this collective knowledge and experience is a fundamental aspect of RFG’s identity. The organization continually reinvests in its brands and its people, creating an environment where franchisees have a voice and are a top priority.

One of RFG’s guiding principles is “franchisee first,” a commitment that is demonstrated by actions like the recent appointment of Michael (Mick) Bulley, a long-standing multi-site operator, to the parent company’s board as a Non-Executive Director. This appointment underscores RFG’s dedication to supporting its franchisees and driving the expansion of brands like Gloria Jean’s Coffees in the USA.

Leading Growth

Krystal Taylor, as the President of the USA Division for Gloria Jean’s, brings with her a decade of experience in the food and beverage franchising industry. Her journey began as a team member in a franchised store and she has since acquired a strong background in finance, including a master’s degree in accounting.

In the past two years, Krystal has played a pivotal role in RFG Ltd.’s major turnaround program. She held various positions within the company, including Commercial Manager for Company Stores, where she led a significant restructuring effort. Following that, she became the Group Strategy Manager, responsible for managing mergers and acquisitions, as well as exploring organic growth opportunities.

In her capacity as President of Retail Food Group’s U.S. operations (Gloria Jean’s USA Inc.), Krystal is entrusted with overseeing and implementing the growth strategy for Gloria Jean’s Coffees in the United States. She is a vital member of the company’s Executive Leadership Team and reports directly to the Executive Chairman of the Board. Krystal’s diverse experience and financial acumen position her to lead the brand into a new phase of business growth.

Staying Ahead of Industry Trends

During her tenure at RFG, Krystal has been a witness to the company’s remarkable evolution across various dimensions. The commitment to excellence has driven improvements in multiple facets, ranging from internal governance practices that uphold the highest standards to the adoption of innovative processes and systems. One of the most significant transformations Krystal has observed is the paradigm shift in the field of franchising.

RFG has transitioned from traditional brick-and-mortar establishments to providing each customer with a tailored and immersive digital experience. This evolution is powered by cutting-edge technology, which includes the deployment of online brand platforms, the integration of a sophisticated point-of-sale system and the introduction of a loyalty application, among other innovations.

The RFG brands share a common aspiration—to offer customers a distinctive and up-to-date experience by staying attuned to industry trends and fostering a culture of ongoing innovation. Every pivotal aspect of the business has undergone substantial changes driven by the integration of new technologies. These technological enhancements serve to streamline operations and enhance the overall return on investment for all stakeholders involved. Krystal’s insights highlight RFG’s unwavering commitment to progress and its dedication to delivering exceptional experiences to its customers.

Expanding the Legacy

Retail Food Group USA, Inc., known under the trade name Gloria Jean’s Coffees, has recently undergone a comprehensive refinement of its global brand identity and market presence. Within the United States, the brand has devised a robust strategy aimed at expanding its footprint, particularly in strategically identified regions that align with its brand.

To achieve this expansion, Gloria Jean’s Coffees will continue its efforts to cultivate and strengthen partnerships with multiple site operators. Additionally, the brand is actively seeking new entrepreneurial partners—individuals who aspire to own and manage their businesses while becoming part of a revitalized, globally recognized brand with deep roots in Chicago. With a legacy spanning forty-four years, Gloria Jean’s Coffees remains dedicated to delivering premium roasted coffee.

Collaboration with essential service providers will be instrumental in delivering a tailored approach to design, construction and back-of-house support for all franchise partners. This approach ensures that partners receive the necessary resources and assistance to drive success.

A cornerstone of the brand’s enduring success has been its unwavering commitment to training and operational support. Gloria Jean’s Coffees boasts a team of seasoned experts equipped with the precise skills required to offer a personalized, streamlined support system for its network. These industry leaders have demonstrated their dedication to the brand over many years, further solidifying Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ position as a leader in the field.

Leading with Passion and Purpose

Krystal emphasizes that regardless of the industry or gender, all young and aspiring leaders should have a clear understanding of their values and vision for their future careers. This clarity enables them to identify suitable opportunities for personal and professional growth. In the journey of one’s career, it’s essential not only to seize as many growth opportunities as possible but also to set specific goals and recognize the milestones achieved along the way.

Her advice extends to aspiring leaders aiming to become the kind of leader they wished for when they were in more junior positions. This involves incorporating the qualities and characteristics they admire into their leadership style. Modern leadership is about setting up teams for success through careful recruitment, thorough training and empowerment.

The era of autocratic leadership by an all-knowing individual is over, especially in dynamic industries like hospitality, which frequently undergo change. In Krystal’s role, which involves driving change across the business, empowering the team to take on leadership roles and embrace change is a crucial aspect of leadership.

To end, Krystal strongly recommends finding a mentor who not only provides opportunities but also challenges one to view the business from a different perspective. Mentors offer valuable avenues for skill development, insights into overcoming challenges, access to growth resources, lessons drawn from their own career journeys and the support of a reliable network.

Commitment to Employee Training

Krystal highlights that Gloria Jean’s Coffees places a strong emphasis on training and provides a comprehensive range of face-to-face and online platforms to support its employees in achieving growth and success. With a global presence, the brand recognizes the importance of utilizing different technologies in various regions to stay at the forefront of ongoing innovation, considering the rapid pace of technological changes.

The brand offers specific training modules tailored to address challenges relevant to the workplace in the coffee industry. An example of this innovation is the upcoming launch of a CI (Continuous Improvement) app, designed to provide real-time answers to questions for the field team and network. This technology aims to instill confidence in the field by providing instant access to information, reducing the time required to obtain information and enhancing overall efficiency while upskilling the workforce.

Beyond technology, Gloria Jean’s ensures that its employees have access to development plans and resources that empower them to advance in their careers. One of thebrand’s core values is a focus on its people, presenting new opportunities to expand skill sets and foster new interests and relationships within the organization. Recognizing the importance of employee well-being and mental health in all industries, Gloria Jean’s Coffees believes that these opportunities will contribute to a more flexible approach to longevity and retention within the brand.

Innovation for Coffee Excellence

As a division, Gloria Jean’s has recently undertaken the implementation of new platforms aimed at enhancing the overall experience for both customers and franchise partners. These initiatives include the introduction of digital menus, online ordering, in-app ordering, and the integration of tills and third-party arrangements. These efforts are geared towards providing faster, turnkey experiences for customers and generating additional sources of revenue.

The company places a strong emphasis on regularly reviewing the effectiveness of data results to ensure that data-driven decisions, both current and future, maintain the highest quality.

Gloria Jean’s is committed to cultivating a culture within its workforce that fosters an understanding of the reasons behind the ongoing changes within the business and the pursuit of growth. The organization is focused on achieving success while embracing technological advancements to improve overall business operations.

The overarching objectives include enhancing organizational operations and practices, fostering unity within the broader RFG business by eliminating siloed work environments and successfully expanding the network to encompass over 150 stores.

The strategic vision of Gloria Jean’s Coffees is centered on bringing flavor to the world of coffee while staying true to the brand’s personality. The commitment is to be unapologetically original and accessible to both loyal and new customers, with the goal of helping people discover their unique flavor every day through a diverse menu, a dedicated team, and ongoing innovation. This is achieved through a strong focus on customer-centricity, service, loyalty, and choice.

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