Here’s a fascinating story about serendipity, hard work and franchising.
Regular readers might remember a post I wrote a few months ago about a CBS TV show called ‘Undercover Boss’. The concept was simple enough: a CEO of a popular business works on the ground floor of a business to get a flavor of how the business functions at a grassroots level. 7-11 were one of the few franchises that participated, and remarkably, the whole program has created a franchise opportunity for one of the featured workers.
7-11 CEO Joe DePinto stepped out of the boardroom to see how a 7-11 franchise worked. He worked incognito and spent a night shift working alongside Igor Finkler, a 7-11 delivery driver and an immigrant from Kazakhstan. As the video below shows, Igor has remarkable passion for his job.
It’s a hugely heartwarming story. Here we have a man working the graveyard shift who only sees his wife on the weekends completely fulfilled by his job. DePinto was so excited by Igor's work ethic that he rewarded him and his wife with a resort vacation. But now 7-11 have gone one step further and given Igor his own 7-11 franchise.
As the Dallas Morning News reported:
"So impressed was DePinto that he waived the franchise fees, worth about $140,000, for Finkler to open his own store. (Finkler was still responsible for a down payment, estimated to be several thousand dollars, on the inventory in the store.)
So through his own hard work, Igor has gone from being an immigrant who arrived in America with $50 in his pocket to a franchisee with one of the biggest companies in the world. And just because he’s running his own business now, it doesn’t mean that Igor has lost his unique approach to business.
Still, Finkler's enthusiasm was apparent. He beamed and opened his arms wide to every newcomer who walked in.
“Would you like a donut?” he asked. “Maybe some coffee?”