John Maguire of Johnny Rockets
John Maguire was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of FIC Restaurants, Inc. (Friendly’s) in May 2012 and was named the President and Chief Executive Officer of Johnny Rockets in July 2016.
Maguire is an accomplished business executive with more than two decades of experience in fast casual restaurant operations. He brings a wide range of operating experience and management expertise to both companies and has an in-depth knowledge of the restaurant business and food processing industry.
Previously, Maguire was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Panera Bread. An operator at heart, he held positions of increasing responsibility over his 19 years there, managing many different functions, including restaurants, franchising, commissary operations, bakery supply chain, manufacturing, catering, and joint venture operations. Maguire previously held positions with Au Bon Pain Co., Inc., Bread and Circus/Whole Foods Supermarkets, and Continental Baking Company.
Since taking the helm of Friendly’s, Maguire has engaged every level of the organization, from the founders of the company – the Blake Brothers – to franchisees, restaurant general managers, and support center employees. Now, as President and CEO of Friendly’s and Johnny Rockets, Maguire develops new business opportunities for each brand through increased purchasing power and greater product distribution
Maguire attended Kansas State University and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. A Massachusetts native, Maguire is an avid sports fan and a student of American history. When he’s not at the office, Maguire enjoys spending time with his four children, Katie, Matt, Reid, and Greyson. Maguire currently is a Director on the Board for the South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, and serves as a Board Member for Farm Boy, a Canadian grocery chain.
1. Tell us about the Johnny Rockets concept
Johnny Rockets is an international restaurant franchise that offers high quality, innovative menu items including fresh, never frozen 100% beef cooked-to-order hamburgers, crispy fries and rich, delicious hand-spun shakes and malts. Johnny Rockets offers friendly service and upbeat music contributing to the chain’s signature atmosphere of relaxed, casual fun. Founded in 1986, Johnny Rockets operates more than 370 franchise and corporate locations in 28 countries around the world.
In celebration of its 30th Anniversary, Johnny Rockets unveiled in April a brand refresh that builds on the brand’s heritage and creates a modern evolution of the iconic images, style, food and experience that have been associated with Johnny Rockets for thirty years. Johnny Rockets Diner 2.0 -- is an updated restaurant design with a modern twist on our classic diner and a new logo that better represents what the brand is today and for the future – all part of the evolution of Johnny Rockets which also includes opening new restaurants with drive-thrus, Express locations, and kiosks in places like malls and airports. A brand new experience but the same great food.
2. How and when did you become involved with Johnny Rockets?
I was named President and CEO in July, 2016 in addition to my position as President and CEO of Friendly’s Restaurants.
3. What was your background prior to joining Johnny Rockets?
I have been President and CEO of Friendly’s Restaurants since April, 2012 and prior to that I was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Panera Bread.
4. What are some of the advantages in being a Johnny Rockets franchisee?
Food-Johnny Rockets serves a simple menu based on classic all-American comfort foods. Our menu offers both light and hearty food options, as well as both hot and cold entrées, classic sides and beverages including our world famous hand spun shakes
Flexibility- Johnny Rockets offers a multitude of options based on venue and area. Our business model is successful in a variety of footprints in a wide range of venues, ranging from 700-2,500 square feet. We are in malls, strip centers and street fronts, and Johnny Rockets restaurants can also be found in airports, aquariums, casinos, amusement parks, campuses, military bases, cruise ships, sports arenas and seaports. We have a business model consisting of popular menu items and an easy operating plan that allows our concept to succeed in almost any environment.
Reputation- Johnny Rockets is an international superstar with outstanding brand recognition.
5. Who is your ideal franchisee?
Our ideal franchisee (or partner) would have at least two years of restaurant owner/operator experience and a net worth of $500,000 per unit, and available liquid capital of $200,000 per unit, or more, (net worth of $1.5 million per unit, and available liquid capital of $500,000 per unit, or more, outside of the U.S.), in order to qualify for development of up to five units. Development of six units or more will be considered on a case by case basis, pending their net worth and available liquid capital.
6. Tell us a little about the restaurant industry?
Often times I think people complicate the restaurant industry with too many strategies, marketing plans, when really none of that matters - what does matter is having GREAT people, delivering a GREAT experience each and every time.
7. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
It’s all about strength and quality of the people we partner with as franchisees. Guests don’t know the difference between a Johnny Rockets Company restaurant and a Johnny Rockets Franchise restaurant, they only know us as Johnny Rockets. So we need to have great consistency in experience that is what is most important.
8. Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
Yes, I do, his name is Ron Shaich, the founder of Panera Bread.
9. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
I would say that the person opening a Johnny Rockets franchise would have to have a passion for the restaurant business and would delight in serving people. It’s a people business! If so, anyone interested can contact our Domestic or International Franchise program -- Franchise Sales Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. In your opinion, why do you think that Johnny Rockets would be a great opportunity for someone?
The burger and ice cream category is seeing much success. Johnny Rockets is truly differentiated against the category in two huge ways. First, with the quality of food - - namely our fresh never frozen burgers and handspun, signature shakes. Second, is our flexibility as we have a multitude of options based on venue and area. We are in malls, strip centers and street fronts, and Johnny Rockets restaurants have drive thrus, and can also be found in airports, aquariums, casinos, amusement parks, campuses, military bases, cruise ships, sports arenas and seaports.