Inspire Brands is a young company, just five years old, but it’s made up of several mature restaurant chains—Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, and Sonic Drive-In—that, together, make it the second largest restaurant company in the U.S. by sales. “Mature restaurant chains, young company—it’s definitely been a learning curve and a great opportunity for us to move forward,” says Chris Polito, director of food safety for Inspire.
It's not been without its challenges, as Polito detailed for attendees of a food safety forum hosted by Commercial Food Sanitation (CFS) as part of the Intralox NEXT event this month in New Orleans. Inspire Brands has a shared service model today, but early on, its various brands were working in their own silos. As Inspire brought each of those brands together for joint efforts and learnings, it used both reactive and proactive lessons to move the organization forward as a whole.
“Designing for greatness [CFS’s theme for the forum] is best done proactively, right? But sometimes something rears its ugly head, and we have to learn the hard way,” Polito says. “The key is to embrace those learnings and really focus on building the walls taller and stronger. In other words, focusing on prevention for the future to try and mitigate those things from occurring again.”