Business News for Bellevue and the Eastside of Lake Washington

11 Questions with Justin Ford of Noble Food Group

1. What is your business background?
• I was a business consultant for Domino’s Pizza in the Northwest for 3 ½ years before taking a position with the International division. I moved to Amsterdam and spent 4 years assisting the master franchisees of several countries on developing their business.

2. How did you get started with Domino’s?
• I started in 2002 after several years in the restaurant business, in other brands. I saw delivery as the future of the restaurant business and no one does it better than Domino’s Pizza.

3. What was your first Domino’s store and how did you acquire it?
• My partners and I first acquired 5 stores in the Salem, Oregon area in May of 2011. By October of that year, we expanded to the Seattle area and grew to 17 stores. Since that time, we have had the opportunity to both build new stores and acquire others to reach our current store count of 38 locations. They weren’t all easy to do, particularly growing as fast as we did but it has been worth it!

4. Your partnership group now owns nearly 38 different Domino’s franchises. What are the future plans for your ownership group?
• My partners and I became Domino’s franchisees with the goal of reaching a count of 150 stores. This remains our goal and we intend to do so over the next couple of years. This presents fantastic growth opportunities for our team, and it is personally important to me to be an “employer of choice”. Without great people we will never realize our dreams. In order to achieve this we must always strive to be better than we currently are.

5. How did you form this ownership group?
• Our group has 4 partners. The founding members of our group, myself included, first worked together on building up the Domino’s Pizza business in Switzerland. After expressing my intentions to come back to the Northwest and franchise, we decided to partner so that we could achieve something big and fantastic together.

6. You spent a lot of time overseas working for Domino’s. What was the biggest lesson you learned from working outside the US?
• Wow, good question and it’s a difficult one to answer. I suppose the largest lesson for me was to understand how other countries view us as both a collective nation and as individual Americans, both good and bad. Ultimately, I came away with a much greater appreciation for our country and I try not to lose sight of how much better I can be. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the world at large, though there many places in the world I’ve not been to and would like go.

7. Who do you see as your biggest competition? Why?
• Honestly? Ourselves. If we do everything right, execute to our own high standards, innovate, take good care of our employees, customers and re-invest into our business, it won’t matter what our competitors do. If we are successful at always doing these things, we will dominate.

8. If one of your delivery drivers came to you and expressed an interest in owning a Domino’s franchise, what advice would you give them?
• I openly encourage all my employees to consider franchising if it is something they are interested in. The Domino’s Pizza economic model is one of the most advantageous for a new business owner to get started in. My advice to them is to save their money and have a solid business plan to own more than one.

9. What is the best piece of advice that anyone ever gave you?
• Be true to yourself and ignore the naysayers.

10. What is your favorite part of owning Domino’s franchises?
• Building a team of good people and watching them become great…and working to exceed our customers’ expectations. Our pizzas taste better than ever and we are able to interact with our customers more than ever, too, thanks to the new, open “pizza theater” style of our restaurants. It removed the barriers and puts us in a position to give best customer service.

11. You are well known for holding fundraisers for local community groups and causes. What is your personal philosophy about ‘giving back’ and what do you find so rewarding about it?
• We never say no when our community comes asking for pizzas or support. We enjoy being a part of the communities in which we have restaurants. I strongly believe in giving back.

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