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Freshii Founder's 5-Part Operating Manifesto

Matthew Corrin, CEO of Freshii, explains the basic principles that guide his restaurant business operations.
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Video Transcript

00:11 Matthew Corrin: We have five operating manifestos at Freshii that we lead our team by on a week-to-week, month-to-month, quarterly basis. And the first one is "Talk is cheap. Execution sets you apart." And I see too many entrepreneurs sitting in a boardroom talking about how they're going to launch some new innovative thing. And we think it's all about execution. And in fact, we don't even think you always have to be right. We just think it's more important to be executing than talking about executing.

00:39 Corrin: The second one is "Launch fast, fail fast, iterate faster." And that really is a dovetail from the first one, which is, "It doesn't always have to be right, but let's launch fast, test, learn," very much like a tech company would, or a bricks and mortar business. But tech companies do A/B testing all the time. For us, we try to think of our stores, at least the ones in our home market of Toronto, as incubators where we can actually launch fast, fail fast. Things like fresh-pressed juice. Things like adding quinoa and kales in the menu. If it sells great, we'll scale it, and if it doesn't, then we'll take it away. But we've only done it in a very small testing environment.

01:17 Corrin: Third one is "Numbers rule." So, the worst feeling in the world is being surprised by your month-end results. And by the way, pleasant surprises aren't good either. And I've had a few of those. And so, after the last time that happened three years ago, I said, "I'll never be surprised by numbers again." And a company that doesn't... We've only, we've got to date with very little capital. We've never done a venture capital round. We've never done a private equity round. And we'll be at 80 stores by year-end in seven countries and 35 cities. And so, for a bricks and mortar business, "numbers truly do rule".

01:54 Corrin: "Build a killer culture for your business, not a culture that kills your business." And I learned that the hard way as well with a couple of bad hires. In my youth, in my younger days at the business, I fell in love too fast. And I'd make hiring decisions that ultimately didn't last more than 12 months, and that's expensive. It's expensive on the culture, and it's expensive on the payroll, and the P&L. And so, we actually do a lot of our hiring now based on 90 days of, sort of, an unpaid internship, even for very high-level senior partners where we get to really learn about them and date before we marry. And it's worked really well, at least for the last three.

02:38 Corrin: And then the last one is "Pick your battles." And, again, picking your battles means sometimes you need to know when to roll over and just sort of roll with it. And sometimes you need to know when to fight back and be aggressive, whether it's negotiating a lease, or a new contract, or doing something with an employee.

02:59 Corrin: So, simply, those are the operating manifestos that we got our team by and we run our business by.

Last updated: Mar 28, 2013

ALLISON FASS | Staff Writer | Deputy Editor, Inc.com

Allison Fass is deputy editor of Inc.com. A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, she has also held roles in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy.




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