Q&A with Kelly Roddy of Schlotzsky’s

September 21, 2010 – Kelly Roddy was named president of Schlotzsky’s in December of 2007, the same month the “great recession” began. Since taking the helm of the sandwich chain, Roddy has led the company to strong financial results through strategic changes and strong marketing. Prior to Schlotzsky’s, Roddy was with H-E-B Grocery Company, a 102-year old retailer with more than 300 locations throughout Texas and Mexico. Roddy also worked in business development for Scholastic Corporation, the national book publisher and he also spent eight years with Wal-Mart stores. He currently serves on several boards including Baylor University’s Marketing board, Hankamer School of Business board and the Caritas board.

You joined Schlotzsky’s in December of 2007, just as the “great recession” started. How did you deal with the poor economic conditions as you tried to move the concept forward?
We made the decision to Zig when everyone else Zagged. At that time, many companies were setting up a defensive position, trying to brace themselves for the recession. We have charged full speed ahead on a major brand reinvention. We worked on our company culture, strengthened our business model with the advent of Cinnabon Express, we launched a new brand position, “Lotz Better”, and redesigned all of our packaging and launched more aggressive marketing. We also developed a new prototype and we put in place a very aggressive development plan to grow the company. Instead of focusing on the poor economy, we focused on what we could do to provide more value to our guests by moving to a table delivery model. We have done all of this and had positive comps for 2007 through 2010 so far. Some have said to me that I should walk before I run. I say to them, see you in the rearview mirror.

What have been the biggest challenges that you have faced during your time with the brand?
We have been in a constant state of change since 2007. Change is difficult for some but we have made it part of our culture. Everyone now understands that if we are not in a constant state of evolution then we will become extinct. Read more.

Source: The Food Channel