Applying Navy Principles to Franchise Employees

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A soon-to-be Navy veteran and his wife aim to hold their own franchise employees to the high standard the United States Navy holds its members, hoping it will help lead them to success.

Dan and Julie Truckenbrod invested in their Pinot’s Palette franchise in November of 2013 and started operations in San Diego, CA’s Liberty Station in August 2014. Julie said she heard about the fun and unique business concept from a highly reliable source.

“My friend in Tulsa actually introduced me to Pinot’s Palette,” Julie said during a recent interview from the couple’s Pinot’s Palette franchise in Liberty Station. That friend of Julie’s had high praise for the Pinot’s Palette in Tulsa, OK where Julie is from originally. Julie herself had been to an independent paint-and-sip style business and liked the concept, so she knew it would be something she’d be interested in pursuing as a business.

Lots of Support

Julie, who used to work for a utility company and who was also a senior manager for a Direct TV call center, said they received a lot of support and training from Pinot’s Palette, including “boot camp” training with the organization at its headquarters in Houston.

After they did some research about where they wanted to be located and prior to actually signing a lease, representatives from Pinot’s Palette came out and viewed the couple’s proposed locations to figure out which one would be the best.

From the time the couple purchased their franchise until it opened, Julie said, they were privy to extensive start-up support, marketing training, marketing calls, operations calls and training, and a whole host of other aspects of running a franchise business.

“There was extensive support and training prior to opening,” she recalled. Continuing support is offered in the form of special marketing calls each month and ‘all hands calls’ that include participation from all of Pinot’s Palette’s franchise owners.

Having minimal opportunity to develop an established business while experiencing the frequent moves with the Navy, Julie was swiftly able to pick up the workplace management, marketing and employer compliance responsibilities to turn Pinot’s Palette – Liberty Station into a profitable operation within the first three months of opening. It’s a lot of work to start a business, even if it is a franchise, she said, and with Dan also working full-time, it makes for a busy household. Ultimately, though, she said, owning and operating their own business is extremely rewarding for the couple.

Julie said they have learned a lot about entrepreneurship since opening their studio. The support they’ve received from Pinot’s Palette’s corporate headquarters has been invaluable, she added, as they always answer questions in a timely manner.

“I also feel like a team with the other franchise owners,” she stated. “Everyone shares their successes and what’s working for them. So, I would recommend [Pinot’s Palette] if someone were interested in opening one.”

Preparing for the Future

Currently, Dan is on active duty Naval Aviator. He is currently doing shore duty work performing financial management for the Navy’s naval aviation branch. He will be retiring from active duty next summer, and Dan said the couple wanted to be prepared for his eventual departure from the Armed Forces.

“We wanted to get something underway and have an income stream before we made that transition,” he said.

Aside from Dan being a currently-serving member of the Navy, the San Diego-based Pinot’s Palette has some other military connections. Liberty Station, where the couple are renting a space for their paint and sip studio, used to be a naval training center until 1996. Dan’s own father went through his naval training there. Also, scenes from the movie Top Gun — which is based on navy pilots — were filmed there.

Dan has been able to take some of his military training and apply it to the Pinot’s Palette business. For example, he said, the Navy has a passion for personal development among its members and Dan, who joined the navy in 1988, has been developing shipmates in the Navy for 25 years.

Because of his time in the Navy, Dan knows how to cultivate talent and wants to develop “characters with character,” just the way the Navy develops its members to have good character. Because of his background, Dan said, he’s always held himself to a high standard of morality and behavior and expects the same from the Pinot’s Palette team members the couple employ.

“Some of those leadership skills I’ve developed over a quarter century apply, some of them don’t,” he said. “In the military, sometimes you do things because you’re ordered to so, whereas we strive to motivate our employees to act for the benefit of the customers enjoyment and conduct business proper processes because it’s the right thing to do, not because the boss said so.”

Dan and Julie have eight employees on staff; six talented artist employees and two bartenders.Thus far,concentrating on their employees’ personal development has been working well for the couple and it promises to help them with their success in the future. Overall, with Julie’s employee management, Dan’s leadership experience and a franchise recipe for rapid success, the Truckenbrod family is poised to help San Diego “Paint, Drink, Have Fun” for years to come.

www.pinotspalette.com