Jonathan Massey’s Rise to Director of Franchise Development

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In our latest podcast episode, we had the privilege of speaking with Jonathan Massey. Jonathan is the mastermind behind the strategic growth at Wingstop as their Director of Franchise Development. His journey from operations at Burger King in 2014 to Director at Wingstop in 2024, showcases his expertise in franchise operations across a diverse range of franchises.

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Jonathan Massey’s Rise to Director of Franchise Development at Wingstop

Jonathan’s career trajectory to becoming the Director of Franchise Development at Wingstop was a climb through the ranks of the fast-food and franchise industries. It started with foundational roles at Burger King, where he managed field operations. His initial responsibilities laid the groundwork for his expertise in operational efficiencies and employee training protocols.

His move from Burger King to Krispy Kreme as a Market Manager marked the beginning of an upward career trajectory, where he took on challenges related to managing employee turnover and optimizing operational processes. 

However, it was his subsequent role at Mu Sigma, a data analytics firm, that significantly shifted his career path. Here, Jonathan was exposed to the power of data-driven decision-making. It was an experience that deeply influenced his approach to franchise development and operations management.

He then returned to the fast-food industry as Sr. Manager of U.S. Franchise Growth at Pizza Hut. This is where Jonathan embraced roles that blended operational oversight with strategic development. In his next role as Director of Franchise Development at Wingstop, Jonathan generated a record-setting pipeline of development agreements and directly reports to the SVP of US Development, showcasing his leadership and strategic planning capabilities. 

Jonathan’s career showcases the importance of using analytics and strategic planning in the competitive field of franchise development.

How Jonathan Reduced Employee Turnover by 20%

Jonathan reduced employee turnover by 20% within his market at Krispy Kreme. His success in decreasing turnover can be attributed to his ability to leverage data to find the real cause of the issue. Jonathan focused on the outlier locations and found there to be a strong correlation between turnover and overtime at these sites. This led him to examine the labor scheduling patterns, overtime trends, and roster sizes. Through this work, he identified understaffing as the root cause. Addressing this directly, Jonathan took measures to balance the staff workload. He ensured employees were not overburdened with excessive hours that, while providing additional income, negatively impacted their work-life balance and overall job satisfaction.

By following a data-driven approach, Jonathan was able to get at the root cause of the issue: the need for flexible scheduling for team members. By digging deeper to understand the underlying factors contributing to high turnover rates, he was able to implement targeted interventions that addressed the core of the problem rather than its symptoms. This methodical approach to problem-solving is indicative of Jonathan’s broader management philosophy, which values data-driven decision-making and strategic thinking.

In addition to addressing overtime through better scheduling practices, Jonathan advocates for continuous recruitment and cross-training as essential practices for labor optimization. Keeping a pipeline of potential employees helps to quickly fill vacancies, ensuring operational continuity. Meanwhile, cross-training staff enhances flexibility and resilience, allowing for a more agile response to changing staffing needs.

Jonathan also highlights the role of incentive programs in employee retention, suggesting that both formal and informal recognition can significantly impact morale and loyalty. From referral bonuses to celebrating perfect attendance, these initiatives serve as tangible acknowledgments of employees’ contributions, reinforcing desirable behaviors and fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation within the team.

How to be a “Great” Franchise Operator

According to Jonathan, excelling as an operator in the franchise industry is more nuanced than simply managing daily tasks; it is about leveraging the right blend of people, processes, and data to drive growth and operational excellence. 

Jonathan, reflecting on his extensive experience across various roles, distinguishes between good and great operators by their ability to work “on” the business rather than “in” it. This distinction is crucial, emphasizing the importance of strategic oversight beyond day-to-day management.

Great operators, according to Jonathan, implement systems that allow them to step back and assess their business from a strategic viewpoint. This involves not just having the right team in place but empowering them with the necessary information and authority to make decisions and drive the business forward. It’s about asking the right questions, informed by accurate data, which in turn fosters a proactive rather than reactive business environment.

He noted that routine is central to operational success. Daily team calls, weekly meetings, and regular audits create a rhythm of accountability and continuous improvement. These routines are not just about oversight; they’re opportunities for learning, sharing best practices, and addressing challenges collectively. By fostering a culture where feedback is constant, and performance metrics are transparent, operators can identify areas of improvement and celebrate successes.

Embracing Data for Future Franchise Success

Jonathan Massey’s analytical acumen, honed through his tenure at Mu Sigma, underscores the critical role of data in modern franchise management. His ability to translate complex data into actionable insights has been pivotal in navigating the competitive landscape of the fast-food industry. By emphasizing the significance of data in decision-making processes, Jonathan advocates for a culture of continuous improvement and strategic foresight within Wingstop.

Furthermore, his approach to franchisee engagement and team empowerment reflects a deep understanding of the operational nuances of the franchise model. Through collaborative problem-solving and data literacy initiatives, he encourages franchisees and their teams to embrace analytics as a tool for operational excellence and strategic growth. This ethos of knowledge-sharing and capacity-building is fundamental to fostering a resilient and adaptable franchise network.

Jonathan Massey’s story is not just a career narrative but a compelling case for the essential role of data in crafting successful franchise models. His insights serve as a beacon for current and aspiring franchise operators, emphasizing that in today’s competitive landscape, leveraging data and analytics is not optional—it’s fundamental to achieving sustainable growth and operational excellence.

FDS provides robust analytics that have helped multi-location businesses achieve remarkable results: on average, 5 new openings per year, a 6% increase in profitability, and 15+ hours saved weekly.