Family matters. It's not something I learned as a CEO, professional or student, but as a young man growing up under the guidance of two of the best leaders in the world: my mother and father. The wisdom they imparted to me at a young age is invaluable and something I carry with me today.
My father built his own business over the years. He's a smart man, but that's not the most important trait I gleaned from him growing up. He was highly respected because he always tried to do what was right for others. My mom was always by his side, reflecting the same, in unity with her husband and to her kids. It was a team effort: my parents teaching me and my three sisters what it means to walk in light, strive for great things, seek accountability and help others. It's a philosophy that holds true to this very day. If we do right by others and treat fellow co-workers, peers and employees as members of a family, we'll create an encouraging and successful culture.
Family is a value embedded within the core philosophies of Scooter's Coffee. It all started with co-founders, Don and Linda Eckles. The couple envisioned a bold concept that would help customers "scoot in and scoot out" for a quality cup of coffee. They wanted to build a company that encouraged an entrepreneurial spirit while serving others in an inviting atmosphere. As CEO, I have the honor of taking that baton and leading Scooter's Coffee into the future while serving three key groups of people: our employees, our franchisees and our investors.
The specialty coffee industry has never been more competitive; but with our commitment to deliver a high-quality product in a fast and friendly manner, we stand out amongst our competitors. We have a brand promise: "Amazing People, Amazing Drinks…Amazingly Fast."
Notice, it all begins with "amazing people," from the smiling baristas to the neighborly franchisees. They remain the driving force behind our unprecedented growth. We have plans to grow Scooter's Coffee at a faster clip than any period in our history, while seeking like-minded franchise owners who will help us maintain our familial culture.
As a husband, and as a father of two daughters, my intentions are to treat everyone at Scooter's Coffee as I would want someone to treat members of my own family. Each person is much more than just a franchisee or employee. They are, first and foremost, people – someone's beloved husband or wife, son or daughter, brother or sister.
A core principle as a leader is stressing the importance of accountability. Growing up, my parents held me accountable for my actions, but their love was unconditional. In serving Scooter's Coffee as CEO, I hope to maintain this balanced approach with dignity and within the business and entrepreneurial environments of our company. Mistakes are going to happen, but it's about how we forgive, learn from and respond to those experiences.
My hope is that one day, I can look back and know that I, and other leadership, served these groups with integrity, humility, care and purpose. It won't be perfect, but I hope to learn in both success and failure, for their best interests.
This doesn't mean that we won't strive for the highest levels of success and growth. We certainly will. We'll just make sure that the path to success is walked in the light, with a higher purpose in mind, and with a focus to help others along the way.
About the author: Todd Graeve is the CEO of Scooter's Coffee, the drive-thru coffee franchise that roasts only the finest coffee beans in the world at its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Since becoming CEO, Scooter's Coffee has opened nearly 50 locations in the past 18 months in various locations across the United States.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.