New College Scholarship Program Helps Launch Careers in Franchising

Welcome to another episode of Atlanta Franchise Today with host Leslie Kuban, expert franchise consultant and owner of FranNet Atlanta. Atlanta Franchise Today is dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs and business owners the best practices and tips for their franchise goals. Today, Leslie is joined by Dr. Kathy Gosser, Assistant Professor of Franchise Management and the Director of the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence at the University of Louisville. She is currently leading and teaching education on the franchise model. And prior to her encore career as a professor, she spent 35 years at Yum! Brands in various roles, all working with franchisees.

Transcription:

Leslie Kuban:
Kathy, I’m delighted to have you. Welcome to the show.

Kathy Gosser:
Thank you so much for having me, Leslie.

Leslie Kuban:
Tell us a little bit about your dream career. You talk about having this wonderful career at Yum! Brands, and many of us don’t know the brands of Yum! Brands, so maybe educate us a little bit on who are the brands under the Yum! Brands umbrella that we would all know.

Kathy Gosser:
Oh, yes, I’d love to talk about that. So right now there are four brands, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Habit Burger Grill. Now, when I was there, we had the three brands and then we had two others for a while, and then we went to three and now they’ve gone to four. But they are the largest restaurant company in the world, with being the largest franchise organization. And I had a fantastic career there. I did a number of things from compliance programs to customer satisfaction, mystery shopping. In my last seven years, I was able to lead learning and development, as well as the KFC Foundation, and along the way, developed my love for franchising because I got to work with franchisees. I led a franchise advisory council focused on operations, excellence, and really learned about franchisees and how much they add to brands.

Leslie Kuban:
And how did that influence you to take on this new and exciting encore career in teaching that you’re now engaged in?

Kathy Gosser:
And I’m so glad you picked up I love to call it the Encore career, because it’s the best for last. That’s what an encore is. You know how when you’re growing up, you always know what you want to be when you actually grow up? Well, I always thought I want to be a college professor, but I had this great career at Yum! and they gave me all kinds of opportunities, paid for all kinds of education, which so many employers do. It’s a wonderful thing. Took advantage of that.
Once I got my PhD in 2011, I started teaching at night and I realized this is my passion. Well, along the way, I was teaching masters in HR curriculum and the dean of the college of business recognized the need for franchise content. He is quite the innovator, Dr. Todd Mooradian. And he realized that there is a gap in education when it comes to the franchise model. So he asked me and a colleague of mine, Dr. Denise Cumberland, if we would create a strategy and actually put together this program. I’ll fast forward that, and I started doing that about a year before I retired, and he said, “Let’s talk about you coming onto the university,” and the timing of that just worked beautifully. So I retired the same time that I started at U of L.

Leslie Kuban:
And now you are spearheading this really cool, first of its kind opportunity, the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence. So tell us a little bit about the program and the mission behind the organization.

Kathy Gosser:
Leslie, I’d love to. So Yum! Brands, during the period of all of the racial strife, really wanted to make a difference in this world, so they pledged 100 million dollars to unlocking opportunity around the globe in education, entrepreneurship, and DNI initiatives. Well, with education, that’s what we had. So they partnered with us to establish this in order to really empower communities to grow, build, and sustain generational wealth through franchising. And with that, we have a special focus on those historically underrepresented populations in franchising. So that’s really our mission. So they provided an endowment to start that. And we had education at the graduate level, we have education at a non-credit level, if you will. So if somebody who’s in franchising now wants to get more education, they don’t necessarily have to go to college, they can take this bootcamp, and then we have the undergraduate, which has been the sweet spot for me, seeing how many undergraduates are excited about this education.

Leslie Kuban:
And with the mission of elevating underserved communities and presenting opportunities for growth and the opportunity to build generational wealth through business ownership, through franchising, how are you guys reaching the communities that you’re really trying to impact the most? What does that outreach effort look like?

Kathy Gosser:
And that outreach is something I’m working on all the time. And actually, I was thrilled you asked me to be on this show because it provides us a chance to share our message again. So there are a couple things that we’re doing. One is we’re launching some scholarships in late July, early August. So we have a board of advisors and through their generous donations we are able to have a nice pot of scholarship dollars. So we are going to give scholarships to the graduate, undergraduate, but also the bootcamp. So we’re reaching different places to say where can we actually give scholarships?
The second way is Yum! took a very focused approach this spring, and we partnered with Howard University, which is an HBCU, one of the most renowned, and we created the Yum! Franchise Accelerator. And we had 10 MBA students, four from U of L, six from Howard, we worked in a cohort together, and two of these two young women were actually chosen to start working with Mike Cole, who’s the largest KFC franchisee, and he is going to carve out some restaurants for them. So you’ll see an announcement coming about that. But they’re very serious, so they put forward this educational experience, entrepreneurial exercise, and it’s pretty phenomenal. But outreach is something we’re still looking to do, so I’m open to all ideas.

Leslie Kuban:
It’s like you’re starting a business and you’ve got to go out and do business development for your new business.

Kathy Gosser:
You’re right. And now I’m looking for scholarship recipients, which is much more fun than asking for scholarship donors.

Leslie Kuban:
Exciting. Well, Kathy, what does the curriculum look like? Is it classroom? Is it on the job? Just what will the students learn and what will that prepare them for after their graduation?

Kathy Gosser:
The core curriculum is focused on the franchise model, because many franchise orgs will teach you how to make their product, how to run that particular business, but they don’t teach you the franchise model. So we have a fundamentals course. We go through all the legalities, which of course includes the franchise disclosure document, franchise agreements, et cetera. We talk about how to build an HR infrastructure, because in today’s world, joint employer law prevents franchisors from providing that. We talk about leading teams. We talk about that relationship between the franchisor and franchisee, and then how do you grow, and where do you get the capital, where do you get the money. So we discuss that. All of our content is online, asynchronous. Now, asynchronous is a fancy academic word for saying that you can get on anytime you want. There’s not a session like this.
But we also on the undergraduate side, the last course is experiential. So that will either be problem solving in a franchise system or an internship. So they will have an experience where they’ll take all of that and apply it. Now, how this will help a student be prepared for the future is that if they already have all this knowledge, they can work for a franchisor, be much more effective from day one, a large franchisee. They can also work for a supplier to our industry. There are tons of those. But also they can become a franchisee. And you probably know this from your own business, Leslie, but the growing trend is that many millennials are now jumping in to become franchisees because the cost of entry has become lower with many of these new emerging franchises.

Leslie Kuban:
Kathy, what are the students saying? How are they responding to the program so far?

Kathy Gosser:
That’s where I get my joy. You just hit my hot button. One of the things, one of the students actually put on LinkedIn last week that just made this old professor’s heart saying, he got an internship working for Yum!, So he thanked a bunch of people in a LinkedIn post, but when he said, he thanked me, and this is what he thanked me for, for discovering his love of franchising. Okay, that’s all I needed. I’m like, “I’m good for the month. I’m recharged for the whole month just on that.” So a lot of them always thought that franchising meant a fast food restaurant. And it’s still the predominance, but they had no idea that so many different types of concepts are franchise. So opening their eyes to that and opening their eyes to the fact that there is capital available, and that sometimes you don’t need as much as you think if you go into one of these smaller ones.
So my thrill has been seeing my classes that are full in the undergraduate. Typically, you’re lucky with an undergraduate elective to get maybe 10 out of 40. I’m at 40 with waiting list. So they are excited about it. And I love teaching it. I teach it through podcasts and online content, as an e-learning format, and it’s just really been exciting.

Leslie Kuban:
I’m so excited about this that most of us in franchising stumbled into it. Not necessarily looking to get into franchising, but once you’re there, you never leave. It’s like Hotel California for many of us.

Kathy Gosser:
I love that analogy. And also it’s a family. Everybody in franchising helps everyone. And that’s what I learned and helped me develop my love. I always say I’m the accidental franchise executive. I had no idea when I started, as a mystery shopper, that I would end up loving this franchise world, and I just do.

Leslie Kuban:
And it’s proven to be such a wonderful career path in all kinds of ways, entrepreneurial or through a corporate track, so now there’s an intentional way for young adults, new in their careers to start off on a pathway where there’s all kinds of advancement and growth opportunities for their whole career, if that’s what they want. That’s so exciting. Kathy, how can potential students or their parents who might have interest in the program, how will they learn about it? What’s the best way to find out about it.

Kathy Gosser:
We do have a website at louisville.edu, and they can go to louisville.edu and just Google franchise, and they’ll come up with all of our content. So, as I said, we do have a website, it explains all of our courses, all of our curriculum, podcasts that we have, it’s all available there, but that’s the fastest way.

Leslie Kuban:
And please do keep us informed of the scholarship opportunities that come forth. I’m sure we have many viewers who would be interested in taking advantage of those.

Kathy Gosser:
I will take you up on that. Thank you.

Leslie Kuban:
Well, thank you so much for joining today, Kathy. This has been fascinating. I’m really excited for our viewers to learn about what you guys are doing and all the benefits that it can provide to new and budding franchising, entrepreneurs, and executives.

Kathy Gosser:
Thank you for the opportunity.

Leslie Kuban:
Folks, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and I look forward to seeing you next time on Atlanta Franchise Today.


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