Member Spotlight by Deborah Masse, Senior Vice President
Provide us with a brief summary of your business’ services.
Cottage Inn Pizza is a hometown brand that’s been run by the Michos Family for more than 65 years. In that time, the menu has evolved into an impressive offering of Mediterranean favorites, including more than 30 different styles of pizza, as well as subs, salads, hot wings and desserts. And while all of our food is delicious, we’re best known for our pizzas and signature crust made from a proprietary flour mix. When I talk with customers, I often hear how much they enjoy the experience of dining with Cottage Inn, whether it was our quick service, ease of ordering or our friendly staff – it’s great to hear!
Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
It’s our mission to be the number one gourmet pizza franchise in the nation by providing the highest quality and the largest variety of gourmet pizzas on the market.
What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?
We’re looking forward to networking with the local business community, and meeting folks who might be interested in bringing Cottage Inn to the Columbus market. We’re hopeful to meet passionate, qualified locals that may have an interest in learning more about a business opportunity with Cottage Inn.
How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
Ask questions and talk to people. It’s important to network at events on both the local and national level and to be a voice among other leaders in the industry. Our team frequently attends trade shows and expos to stay current on industry news and topics. And while we have team members dedicated to keeping our corporate headquarters up to date on what’s on the horizon in the pizza world, we all have a responsibility to keep a finger on the pulse through social media, news stories, newsletters and more.
What is your company culture like?
We’re a pretty tight-knit group at Cottage Inn. Our corporate team is like one large family. There’s tremendous respect for each other and our strengths, and there’s a lot of passion for the brand. Our franchise network is also very connected to our corporate headquarters. Through regular communication with the home office, they’re able to feel supported and empowered to effectively run their business. Our franchise owners bounce ideas off of each other and have even developed a community amongst themselves, so even though they each own and operate their own store they never feel alone. We also enjoy getting involved in the communities we serve, whether that’s at our headquarters or in the neighborhoods where our franchises operate. We always look for ways to give back with local charities, programs and organizations.
What does it take to be a successful employee at your company?
You need a desire to help and work with others. At Cottage Inn, it’s all about creating positive memories for guests. We want customers, employees, franchisees and anyone else that touches our brand to have an experience they’ll never forget, whether they’re celebrating something special or just picking up a carryout order. We accomplish that by hiring hard-working individuals who are enthusiastic and kind. We want franchisees and employees that are connected to their communities and are looking for ways for Cottage Inn to become even more involved in local events, programs and more.
What makes Columbus such a great place to do business?
Columbus is full of opportunity. More than 75 percent of Ohio voters are in favor of government policies that promote and support local ownership of stores and restaurants. Plus, according to the Franchise Business Economic Outlook for 2017, it is anticipated that the number of franchises in Ohio will number more than 27,000 by the end of the year, priming the area for growth. We’re excited to make Cottage Inn a part of that growth.
What pieces of advice have you found to be the most helpful since starting your career?
There are three critical things I’ve learned over the years. Listening is more important than talking, observe with everything for yourself and consider the source of information you receive it from and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
It’s important to determine boundaries and follow through with them. For instance, I don’t answer emails on the weekend or in the evenings, and I encourage my staff to do the same. Everyone needs to have a life outside of work in order to be happy.
Where is your favorite place to have a meeting outside the office?
We like to be in our restaurants to see the fruits of our labor. We sit amongst ourselves and take time to enjoy great food, service and the overall experience that each of our team members works so hard to provide.