Company: Buffalo Wings & Rings
Title: Franchise Marketing Consultant
Function: Works with franchisees to deliver individual marketing plans for their restaurants
Education: BBA in entrepreneurial studies from St. Mary’s University, MBA in marketing from the University of North Texas
EHC: What is your daily schedule like?
It depends if I am on the road or at home. If I’m home, I have a flexible schedule, but I typically answer emails, compile data on the stores in my region, or even some graphic design. If I’m on the road, I’m visiting stores and getting to know the needs of each franchise owner.
EHC: What is your favorite part of your job?
I really like working with the franchise owners and figuring out how to help them achieve success.
EHC: What were the steps you took to get your job?
A former boss connected me with my current company a while ago because she thought I’d be a great fit for one of their job openings. At the time, I was getting ready to move to a different part of the country, and the timing just wasn’t right, but now that I am back in Texas, I reached out to my connections. As luck would have it, they were still looking for someone to fill that role, so I sent in my résumé.
EHC: What is your best piece of advice for girls interested in this field?
Don’t be afraid to do the jobs that no one else wants to do. The best way to find respect in the industry is to be knowledgeable about every part of a restaurant and be willing to step in and bus tables or help behind the bar if it is needed. You can always learn something from everyone, and you’re not above anyone else.
EHC: What inspired you to pursue this career?
I like food. I love the fact that restaurants are places where people meet. They have special occasions and create memories while gathering over a meal together.
As a franchise marketing consultant for Buffalo Wings & Rings, Shannon helps franchise owners in the Rio Grande Valley build marketing plans specific to their local needs. To accomplish this, she visits the seven stores in her area, getting to know the community and considering what kinds of marketing strategies might help them reach their goals. Prior to consulting, Shannon worked in sales at Dave & Buster’s before transitioning to marketing at Hard Rock Café, Edible Arrangements, and later Locals 8 Restaurant Group.
One of the best feelings in this job is when the franchise owners see the results of a well thought-out marketing plan. Whether the desire is an increase in revenue or better visibility in the community, there are strategies to try and achieve those targets. By getting to know the franchise owners in their local areas, Shannon can really build an understanding and deeper connections with everyone. This requires her to be on the road sometimes three or four days a week, but when she’s not on the road, she has the flexibility to organize her schedule however it benefits her. You need to have a lot of discipline in a job like this because there is no one telling you exactly what to do or when to start work.
Marketing is More Than Just Social Media
People often think that Shannon only eats buffalo wings and posts on social media all day, but that is not even close to the whole story. While social media is a big part of her job, she also utilizes traditional and more creative marketing approaches. At her last job, she was involved in the creation of a beer brewed by a national brewery exclusively for her restaurant group. She had input in the name of the beer and in the creation of the logo as well as organizing the launch party. Being creative is a big part of creating successful campaigns in addition to being able to analyze things like income and customer numbers to determine if it was successful.
The restaurant industry has been dominated by men for a long time. Even though this is starting to change and more female chefs and restaurateurs have begun to gain visibility, there is a long way to go before women have an equal playing field. If you want to pursue a career in restaurants, you need to be willing to negotiate on behalf of yourself because no one will do that for you. Shannon was lucky enough to have worked with some great people who have zero tolerance for harassment or discrimination, but there is still an overwhelming number of people in the hospitality industry who are not as vigilant.