429: Growth from within with Raji Sankar


In this episode with Raji Sankar, we discuss:

  • Freedom by way of discipline.
  • Anything being possible.
  • The story behind Choolaah.
  • Creating jobs where people meet their full potential.
  • Buying into a franchise model to learn the business.
  • What Raji learned from operating a 5 Guys Burgers and Fries franchise.
  • The result of growing too fast and desperately.
  • Not sacrificing your values.
  • Growing slowly outward.
  • Growth from within.
  • Using competency charts with monetary incentives.
  • Never ending learning.
  • Outsourcing and surrounding yourself with the best.
  • Getting people aligned with the same cause.
  • Creating systems and tracks for training.
  • Educating your guest especially when you’re doing something strange or unfamiliar.
  • Educating your team.
  • The importance of everyone buying into your mission, vision, and values when scaling.
  • Using success stories from your team to grow your brand.

Raji Sankar left a life of science, tech, and consulting to pursue the life of a restaurateur. In 2004 they started Wholesome International, the business entity that would start opening 5 Guys Burgers and Fries throughout PA, and Oh. It didn’t take long before her own vision for Choolaah began to sprout. Today, Wholesome International operates a total of 20 5 Guys locations and they’re opening their 5 Choolaah Indian BBQ Location.

Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“In discipline, there is freedom.”

Today’s Sponsor

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • Always learning.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Stubbornness.
  3. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    •  Ask
      • How can you contribute and elevate our team?
      • How can we contribute to elevating your life?
  4. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Challenge: Creating brand awareness in multiple markets at the same time.
    •  Solution: Grassroots engagement with the communities.
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.

    • Integrity.
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?

    • Delight your guest.
  7. Share an online resource or tool.

    • Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast… BOOYA!!
  8. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  9. What’s one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

  10. If you got the news that you’d be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?

    1. Relationships are everything in life so don’t forget to say, “I love you.”
    2. don’t take life too seriously.
    3. Just be yourself.

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Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to RAJI SANKAR for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!