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Celebrating Success

Celebration of Operational Excellence Awards Ceremony
Top: Franchisees-of-the-Year Hu Odom, Pam Baker, Gary Carter, Bernice Edgerton, Tony Michalick, Matt Ross, and Kathie Sewell pictured with General Manager Tom Taylor, and Kitchen Managers Pat Brooks and Labi Hyseni. Bottom: Operating Partner-of-the-Year Vance Weldon pictured center with his District Manager Stephen Karos. 

Congratulations to our #1 2017 Golden Corral Franchisee
and Operating Partner-of-the-Year!


During the 2017 Golden Corral Convention and Trade Show at the Marriott Marquis in New York City over 1,000 attendees learned about Golden Corral’s plans for 2018, and received inspiring takeaways from presentations by NFL Hall of Fame Inductee Tony Dungy (Motivating for the Spirit and Success), Marilyn Sherman (Front-Row Leadership) and Deion Sanders, NFL Hall of Fame Inductee and the voice of Golden Corral. 

The year’s most prestigious awards, Elite Twenty and Top Ten, were bestowed upon Golden Corral’s deserving franchisees and company operators during the Celebration of Operational Excellence awards ceremony. The 2017 top honorees were Franchisees-of-the-Year Hu Odom, Pam Baker, Gary Carter, Bernice Edgerton, Tony Michalick, Matt Ross, and Kathie Sewell for their Hanover, MD, restaurant and Operating Partner Vance Weldon of Odessa, TX.

For the third time in six years, BOTH, Inc. Franchisees Hu Odom, Pam Baker, Gary Carter, Bernice Edgerton, Tony Michalick, Matt Ross, and Kathie Sewell earned the prestigious honor as the top franchisees in Golden Corral’s franchise community for their Hanover, MD, restaurant. The Hanover restaurant led by General Manager Tom Taylor, earned a spot in the Elite Twenty for the past nine consecutive years, including earning the top spot two previous times in 2012 and 2013.

“Success like this does not just happen,” says Division 2 President David Webb. “There has to be a magic recipe. The recipe starts with hiring employees who put the guest first and understand the importance of a great guest experience. However, that is just half the battle. Tom constantly trains and sets expectations for sustaining an environment where the guest always comes first. The Hanover management team leads by example and a culture of excellence is the result.” 

Hanover’s consistency breeds success. They achieved incredible annual sales this year, growing their sales by nearly 6% over last year. Giving back to the community is also part of their core beliefs. This year, they raised nearly $30,000 for Camp Corral.

This recipe for success is not limited to just Tom and his Hanover team. It is a part of the culture throughout BOTH, Inc. and one of the reasons they have six Elite Twenty restaurants this year. Their restaurants have appeared in the Elite Twenty every year since 2002. Their passion for guest satisfaction and the time and effort it takes to create a culture of excellence is driven by Hu and his entire team. However, their commitment to their guests is only second to their commitment to their team of employees and managers.

The 2nd place Franchisees-of-the-Year award was presented to BOTH, Inc. for their Largo, MD, restaurant operated by General Manager Howard Daley. The 3rd place Franchisee-of-the-Year award was presented to Franchisee Rick Holland for his Colorado Springs, CO, restaurant operated by General Manager Matt Roach. Fourth place was presented to Franchisees Mike and Shirley Petroline, and Director of Operations Joe Leary for their Glendale, AZ, restaurant operated by General Manager Kristi Hutchings.

Vance Weldon, Operating Partner of Odessa, TX, was honored as the “best of the best” when he was named the #1 Operating Partner-of-the-Year.

“Vance’s passion for our Golden Corral brand is unwavering,” says Vice President of Company Operations Michael Wilkerson. “He is a dynamic, high impact, focused, and seemingly endless high energy leader.” 

Since taking over the Odessa restaurant in April 2015, Vance earned five Super Achiever awards, five Star Achiever awards, two Notch-in-the-Gun awards, and two local "Best Of" awards. He also increased ROC by 27%, saw a 9% increase in meal count growth, and grew their annual sales by over 12%. The Odessa team raised the most money among company restaurants in 2017 for Camp Corral with $17,359 and raised the second most for DAV in 2016 with $12,300.

When you talk to Vance about his astounding success, you will quickly see a glimmer in his eye as he begins to talk about his employees. Vance genuinely loves people and believes that when he puts them first, they will put the restaurant first. He will also share his passion for helping organizations that support the most underprivileged individuals. His most recent involvement in a local organization provided assistance to a homeless, single mother and her children. Through reclaiming her life, she now has a job that provides a way to support her family and bring them a very bright future.

“Vance isn't just making a difference in his restaurant's results, he is impacting lives in his community,” says Michael.

Santini Saygidia, Operating Partner of Grand Prairie, TX, and Vicki Matthews, Operating Partner of Mobile, AL, were awarded 2nd and 3rd places, respectively.