Clausen Enterprises (Bigs Pizza & More)
Some people grow up in a family with siblings, but in the case of Craig Clausen, he was raised right along with the pizza dough back in the early days of Shakey's Pizza Parlor. Clausen was a single child, born to the original franchisee owners of numerous Shakey's locations in Southern California, and, later, Texas, Oklahoma and Illinois. He grew up working in this family-friendly restaurant environment, which was thick with passionate people and a mom-and-pop culture that distinguished the Clausen's establishments from other pizza joints of the day. He grew up working in the family business, which he ultimately came to own in 1985. For years Clausen carried on the family tradition - sort of. The Shakey's franchise was being poorly run by its Singapore-based owners, so in 2000 Clausen made a bold, executive decision to drop the Shakey's brand and franchise fees, and build his own pizza empire: "Bigs Pizza & More." The day he did this, however, Bigs lost 25 percent of its top-line revenues and a series of challenges commenced, most notably the difficulty of aligning strategic goals with core values. More of an operations versus strategic sort of guy, Clausen struggled with maintaining alignment, managing the fuzzy line between boss and buddy, and creating and implementing employee accountability.
Clausen was referred to MAP through his stepson, a former attendee of the MAP 2.5 Day Program. Through this referral, Clausen connected with one of MAP's full-time consultants, and per the MAP consultant's recommendation, Clausen started holding monthly Vital Factor Team Meetings for the company's management team. During those meetings, the MAP consultant addressed various challenges, assisted in setting goals and controls, and asked the toughest questions, all the while coaching Clausen in creating goal alignment and greater accountability for all. To properly reinforce the new culture of accountability he was creating, Clausen and his entire management team attended the MAP 2.5 day Program in Newport Beach in a year's time. This action helped build sponsorship and buy-in from his entire leadership team.
In the case of Bigs, "success" wasn't all about profit and revenue, but more about passion and people. With MAP's coaching, Clausen became a stronger leader. Specifically, Clausen developed easy ways for his employees to grasp the company's core values and goals. He then inspired them to embrace the company's philosophies and objectives, instituting greater alignment among all. Success was also less about money and more about getting up everyday and doing what's right, no matter how hard it was or how long it might take. Through this business approach, Clausen saw revolutionary change in the company culture. Still a family-friendly, mom-and-pop business, Bigs evolved into a more solid team of passionate, proud and professional workers. And the proof was in its people - In July 2008, when Clausen decided to sell back his restaurants to a growing Shakey's franchise (now owned by a U.S. franchisor), sales jumped 75 percent. The hardworking staff was rewarded in this opportunity through strong dividends and increased opportunities for professional growth. As for Clausen? He'll never get the taste of pizza out of his mouth - now a real estate guru of sorts, he still owns some of the land beneath several of his previous restaurants and visits regularly with his former cohorts. Converted and "MAPtized," Clausen takes MAP to heart. He still operates under MAP's strategic and powerful coaching, as well as the MAP philosophy.