Congratulations Ben Meinen!

The challenge of rapidly expanding franchise companies is growing the staff to support expansion. vomFASS USA has been adding key support positions with the addition of ten new store locations in 2013. Ben Meinen, general manager of the Madison vomFASS store for the past four years, has been promoted to the newly created corporate post of Director of Store Growth. We recently took the opportunity to talk with Ben about his well-deserved promotion.


Ben Meinen Puts the Experience in Experience Day

Toni Jakovec: Congratulations on your promotion.

Ben Meinen: Thank you.

TJ: What is your background, Ben, and what led you to vomFASS?

BM: I went to culinary school in Portland, Oregon, in 2005. I have always been a foodie, so when I went into my first vomFASS store, I was just blown away. It was really the fruit vinegars that piqued my interest.

TJ: You have another degree, don’t you?

BM: Yes, I have a degree in medical chemistry. That’s the bio chemistry related to medications.

TJ: I heard that you have also studied pharmacy. Are the two closely related?

BM: Med chem is a more general topic, whereas pharmacy is specific to drugs. Med chem is the study of how different chemicals work inside the body. It covers not only medicine, but entire systems. It’s the integration of bio chemistry and biology.

TJ: Has this chemistry background proved valuable at vomFASS?

BM: Absolutely. Everything in vomFASS has at least a little bit of bio chem-from how the alcohols pick up flavor from the wood, the fermentation process when we make our vinegar’s, and how light and oxygen affect the olive oil.

TJ: Tell us about this new position you’ll be taking on, Director of Store Growth.

BM: The position was created to address the needs of the company and our partners as we grow. So I will be there to support the stores after they’re open and to become a liaison between the many departments of vomFASS and the franchisees. Additionally, I will help the new franchisees attain the goals they have set. I will coordinate the various marketing campaigns with each store. I will, of course, troubleshoot any problems that may arise for a franchisee, and will become a direct source of information and clarification when needed. I will set up the inventory metrics and provide support for that system when necessary.

TJ: I know that you’ve already done some field work for the franchisees. Is there an area where you have been particularly helpful to current franchisees?

BM: Inventory and Cost of Goods is always a challenge for the franchisees, especially those who have not been in retail before.

TJ: From a different perspective, is there an area you’ve noticed where new franchisees tend to excel immediately?

BM: Wow, that’s very subjective. But I have noticed that each franchisee I’ve already visited brings their very own talents and skills to vomFASS, making each store unique. Actually, there hasn’t been one partner yet that I visited where I didn’t learn something new.

TJ: Is there going to be a schedule of visits to the partners, or will it be on an as-needed basis?

BM: Typically how this will work is that I’ll show up to the store a month after they open to do the initial inventory. This first visit will also cover advanced sales training with the staff, offering complimentary products, and answering any initial questions they have. After that, a schedule will be designed based on the needs of the partners.

TJ: How long are the visits?

BM: The initial visit is two and a half days. For example, tomorrow I leave for our Crestview Village store in Kentucky and the store in Wilmington, North Carolina.

TJ: What are the qualities you want to bring to this new Directorship?

BM: One of the things I’m especially proud of and will take to the partners is the importance of building teams within each store. My main goal is to bring all of the partners together, opening the lines of communication between the partners, as well as with corporate headquarters. I want to make certain that we’re sharing information and that everyone is helping each other. I will accomplish this through regional franchise calls. I have divided the stores into regions, which will then receive corporate conference calls each month, keeping everyone informed and sharing ideas about what works best. I want every partner to “share the mike” and their ideas.

TJ: Now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite question… Do you have a recipe you’d like to share?

BM: I have a great fish taco recipe.

TJ: Thanks, Ben, and congratulations again!

Disclaimer: This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. Currently, the following states in the United States regulate the offer and sale of franchises: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you are a resident of one of these states, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your jurisdiction.