Back in 1978, Terry Smith developed the personal pan pizza concept for Pizza Hut, which helped grow the struggling company’s sales 30 percent the following year. From that experience, he realized he had a knack for helping companies in a bind.
He spent the next two decades overseas developing new food and restaurant concepts, but then he got a call from Tumbleweed Inc. that brought him back to the States.
When he came to the restaurant chain as president and CEO, he saw declining guests. He decided that if he could turn every guest into a raving Tumbleweed fan, he could turn the company around, and it started at the board level and went all the way down to the dishwashers.
Smith started a team concept to allow people to work on different tasks and participate in things they expressed an interest in to get them excited about his goals. He also revamped the menu and redesigned stores to stabilize and reposition the company so he could someday focus on growth. Sales are up, even with fewer stores, and he’s reaching the point where he can think about growth. He’s also managed to gain more money by moving Tumbleweed’s sauce manufacturing plant to a larger facility and allowing other companies to use it to make their own products.
On top of his Tumbleweed endeavors, Smith wanted to try something new, so he opened up a Sedona Grill in Lima, Ohio, and he plans to open more throughout Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky in the years to come.
HOW TO REACH: Tumbleweed Inc., (502) 893-0323 or www.tumbleweedrestaurants.com