HBI Makes a Difference

HBI had the immense honor Sunday, January 13, of presenting New Liberty Missionary Baptist Church a $5,000 grant from the Arby’s Foundation.  New Liberty MBC was nominated by 7279 GM Ismail Outlaw for their work with the most at-risk families and kids in their area.  Pastor Brooks runs a mentorship for young men at the local high school and has fostered partnerships with Ivy Tech and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum to identify families in crisis.  The church currently runs an intermittent food pantry to serve the food-insecure at times of highest need and are working on securing a larger facility that will accommodate a year round food pantry.  These funds will help them achieve that goal and better serve their community.

On January 17th, Michaela R and John Gast from 6714 had the honor of presenting another $5,000 grant from the Arby’s Foundation to the Columbus, Indiana Foundation For Youth.  The FFY mission is to strive daily to “Inspire and Enable Our Youth, Our Community”.  They see their role as very simple: Foundation For Youth exists to serve their youth and their community through their programs and services.  The FFY family is made up of high quality youth and community programs and a dedicated staff that‘s always willing to learn ways to improve their services and provide a better experience to all those–young and old–who participate in their programs.  The Foundation runs the Columbus Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as local programming that includes #FFYteens, a community aquatic center, Columbus Youth Camp, “mommy-and-me” style gymnastics, and more.  The center serves about 2000 distinct kids every year, with a rotating 190 every single day.  They, like HBI Arby’s, often serve as their employees’ first ever jobs, giving the older youth in the area the skills and experience they need to be productive, working adults.

Heartland Beef is honored to be a small part of the amazing work these organizations are doing in their communities.  HBI thanks nominators Ismail Outlaw, John Gast, and Michaela.

NKH Finalists


For the past many years, HBI has nominated a whopping ONE organization each year for a No Kid Hungry (aka “Community Connection”) Grant.  In 2017, we nominated a grand total of 15 deserving organizations. Those include local food pantries, after school programs, ministries, shelters, soup kitchens, hospitality networks, and backpack programs.  Nominators ranged from hourly managers to GMs to office staff.  Our team went above and beyond.

Once nominated by an HBI Arby’s employee, those organizations were sent a form to complete offering more information on their work to fight childhood hunger in America.  Of the 15 nominated organizations, only four completed that paperwork and the associated training required.  Of those four, all received grants.  In fact, all organizations across the country who watched the training webinar and submitted the completed paperwork received grants.

Of HBI’s four, two organizations were nominated by employees at the store level.  Those two awesome organizations are Manna Mission Operation Outreach and Southwest Indiana Powerhouse Inc, nominated by Amber Chirpas and Betsy McGhee respectively.  These two gals represent our finalists, and one will be joining us in gorgeous Nashville, TN this November at the Arby’s WFC.  We will announce the winner as the time gets closer.


Very well done to Betsy and Amber as well as all the other nominators including Joyce Bolton, Dawn Evans, Gayle Johnson, Jeff Daugherty, Tracey Regenwether, Susan Briseno, and Chris Smith.  Special shout outs to Chad Park and Ellen Meierkort.

8485 Making a Difference

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8485 is at it again! This awesome group of individuals heard about a need in their community and made it their mission to help out their local Red Barn Pantry by holding a food drive to replenish their nearly depleted inventory.  GM Amber Chirpas and her employees–plus a few members from the community–really pulled through and made a huge difference.  Amber and Shift Manager Danielle delivered it yesterday:

“The ladies said it came as such a blessing because they were in such need for food for families… My crew totally amazed me by the amount of food we collected in just 4 days! We even had people from the community help donate! The pictures do not show even half of the food we were able to donate. When we walked into the Red Barn the lady asked, ‘Who is all this food from?’ I just said, “Arbys!!!” She replied, ‘You are that Chirpas girl, aren’t you?’ Haha I simply said, “Yes. Arby’s has your back!!!’ My favorite line!” says Amber.

We are so proud of the work Team 8485 is doing and honored that they chose to do it in the HBI: Arby’s name. Thank you, Amber, for setting the tone and going above and beyond. Thank you to the rest of Team 8485 for getting in the spirit so wholeheartedly. You are quickly becoming our Make a Difference leaders!

HBI Increases its Arby’s Foundation Nominations 1500%

NKHWatermelon2017 marks quite the milestone for Heartland Beef Incorporated.  HBI has a rich history of working hard to make a difference and was even honored with the Arby’s national Make a Difference Award in October.  The company went on to exceed its 2017 fundraising goal, breaking its previous record with a whopping SIX DIGITS across 34 Arby’s at the conclusion of the 2017 National Restaurant Fundraiser: No Kid Hungry.

Just raising the funds isn’t quite enough though.  The Arby’s Foundation, partnered with Share Our Strength (the creator of the No Kid Hungry campaign), needs to know to whom to disperse this money.  Every year after the fundraiser concludes, a nomination window opens for any employee of the Arby’s brand (assuming your organization partook in the NRF)–from opening prep person and frontline closers to the CEOs–to submit any 501c3 nonprofit that is fighting childhood hunger in America.  After the simple nomination process, most of the organizations are awarded grants ranging from $1000-$3000 on average the following spring.  Sadly, out of 2500 participating Arby’s the Foundation typically only sees about 60 nominations.  HBI has historically made a single nomination each year.

But HBI’s hard work didn’t end with the fundraiser this year.  With a little motivation and a lot of passion for the good work the Arby’s Foundation and Share Our Strength do to fight childhood hunger across America, HBI submitted an impressive 15 nominations by 11 unique employees!  Most of those organizations should go on to receive a grant of some size in the spring–one of whose nominator will win a trip to the Arby’s Worldwide Convention in fall 2018 in gorgeous Nashville, TN.  Well done to each and every one of the HBI employees who submitted nominations!  That includes:

Ellen Meierkort (the only Shift Manager submission) from Store 5463

Chad Park (the only Assistant Manager to make a submission) of Store 6158

Joyce Bolton, General Manager of 7646

Betsy McGhee (who placed multiple nominations), General Manager of 5838

Dawn Evans, General Manager of 730

Gayle Johnson, General Manager of 6550

Amber Chirpas, General Manager of 8485

Jeff Daugherty (who placed multiple nominations), General Manager of 970

Tracey Regenwether, General Manager of 7939

Susan Briseno, General Manager of 6998

Chris Smith, Executive Assistant and general Superwoman of the office

Becoming a Nationally Certified Training Restaurant

After our latest bout of NCTR recertifications, I requested some insight on the journey to becoming a Nationally Certified Training Restaurant.  Marissa and her Assistants kindly provided the following:


What is a good starting place for those looking to become nationally certified?

First and foremost all of your management team has to be on the same page, and they all have to want it as badly as the General Manager.  You cannot succeed without a strong, unified management team that is on board and ready to do whatever it takes to get there. They have to know, understand, and be able to train the Arby’s standards, uphold the core values, and work the systems everyday.  They set the example for the team–the crew looks up to all management, not just the GM. Uphold the standards and have fun while you do it!

After that, what are some good first steps?

Hire friendly, outgoing people–people who smile easily and laugh often throughout the interview. When interviewing be very clear as to what you will expect from them if they are hired. I tell them upfront, “We are a training store–the best of the best for Arby’s and our franchise–and when I hire, I try to hire the best of the best.  If you don’t start out the best, we will train you to do the best you can do–you just have to be willing.”  I go over what is expected again during orientation and let them know how important is it for us to be a training unit and what their roll will be in that.

Keep up on maintenance duties EVERY DAY!  As simple as it seems, it is a system that often gets missed in many stores.  It takes follow up and a lot of it, but eventually it becomes something that your team will just KNOW to do.  Making sure these daily and weekly duties are being completed will help ensure you have a clean, organized store, and you won’t have to have a “cleaning party” before any scheduled visits.  This in turn ensures higher scores on unannounced visits.   

Coach rather than scold. I came from a business that yelled, screamed, and degraded their team and managers instead of training, coaching, and explaining.  They had high turnover because of this, and they also had a lot of “dead weight”.  People don’t care about their job if they are constantly being yelled at.  Coaching is everything!  Talk to your team members, don’t degrade or belittle them.  Coach them on the how and why.  Even if it’s the tenth time that you’ve gone over it with them.  Coach, train, and retrain!

Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go right the first time. I saw Donna and Beth (our Corporate Business Consultants) two or three times before we finally got certified.  Between that we saw Karen and Craig quite often.  Every time they came in there was something else to improve, but instead of getting discouraged I used those opportunities to push myself and my team harder.  It’s nice to look back now and see how far we have come.

The Ops Checklist, again like maintenance duties, seems simple enough but really is a major tool and great resource to have day in and day out.  If you are actually checking the items on the list, and really looking at your store during your rush-ready checks, it makes for a smooth organized shift every time. Use the closing check list as a training tool for your closers.  Make as many notes as possible and then go over it with them when they come in the next day.  My team will actually go get the book and bring it to me now.  They love to hear the feedback we have for them.

What was your biggest or best resource in becoming an NCTR?

Having a great Area Supervisor of course is #1.  Someone who is always there to help you out and answer any questions you have. Karen is a great resource to have!

What’s your favorite part about being an NCTR?

A couple of things we love about being a Nationally Certified Training Restaurant is being able to train people “close to home”.  The managers we train don’t have to go too far to get good training.  We love to meet new people, and we LOVE to instill the Arby’s standards, values, and just the Arby’s way.  It’s always fun to see their reactions when they come to our store vs their home store.  And I love that they get to take a little piece of our store back with them.

As for Heartland Beef, I love the fact that the “office people” come down and visit! I feel like when Craig, Tom, Mike, and Ashley come to visit it’s just like someone else who works with us. It feels like you’re working right along with us day in and day out. I love that everyone is so hands-on from the company stand point.  It makes us feel like we are not alone.

What now?  What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is for more and more stores to become leading, Triple Ace training stores. I’d love to see more management teams excel and become the crème of the crop for our company!

Ed Yaw: Highly Valued Worker, 970

This month is Disability Employment Awareness Month, the theme this year being “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”  On Sunday October 8th, Ed Yaw was acknowledged in Terre Haute’s Tribune Star newspaper as a highly valued worker.  Ed Has been our maintenance man for 16 years.  He works six days a week (rain, shine, or snow) and has only missed ONE DAY OF WORK in that entire time frame!  Our restaurant thrives because of employees like Ed.   Ed always greets our customers with a smile and friendly conversation; they appreciate the clean restaurant from the parking lot to the bathrooms thanks to Ed.  He is an integral part of our success at 970.

Jeff Daugherty

2017 Nat’l Franchise Conference: Level Up

HBI was represented by Tom Browne, Craig Truelock, and Ashley Davis at this year’s Arby’s National Franchise Conference in Atlanta, GA–headquarters of Arby’s Restaurant Group.

With a theme of “Level Up” Tuesday, October 3, offered a day full of speakers including brand CEO Paul Brown, Arby’s President Rob Lynch (former CMO), the current CMO Jim Taylor, COO John Bowie, the one-and-only Chef Neville Craw, Chief Information Officer Darla Morse, Chief Development Officer Greg Vojnovic, and others.  Attendees learned about topics ranging from the new Point Of Sales system (currently Panasonic/SMP or Aloha/RDS), smart equipment, the importance of Brand Purpose Scores to updates on an official Arby’s mobile ordering app, new sandwiches debuting soon, marketing calendar for early 2018, and more.

Perhaps most relevant to team members in the stores was the change in tone surrounding the future marketing agenda.  Whereas in the past ARG has focused on what’s worked–cranking out killer LTO’s–its leadership seemed to take notice of the real struggle and slow-down this free-standing tactic has caused the backline.  Though they acknowledged the burden before, they are now shifting strategy to more heavily include Operations in marketing decisions.  Our teammates in the stores will appreciate the consequences of this move, including seeing more monthly promotions showcasing core menu items and limited time offers that involve SKU’s already available in stores.

The general session ended with a presentation by Arby’s Foundation Executive Director Chris Fuller.  Chris started by noting the phenomenal work the Foundation is doing to fuel dreams (via fighting childhood hunger), expand dreams (by supporting youth leadership initiatives), and support the pursuit of dreams (with career readiness initiatives) and thanking all entities represented (franchisee and Corporate alike) for all they do to make that possible.  He then announced this year’s Make a Difference Award recipient: Heartland Beef Incorporated.  He highlighted both outstanding performance in the annual National Restaurant Fundraiser as well as HBI’s independent community service leadership, exhibited by the annual Heartland Give Back Day.  After the session ended, Chris shared additionally that it was a unanimous and quick decision.  This was HBI’s first ever national award at an Arby’s conference or convention.

Next year’s Worldwide Convention will be held in Nashville, TN in early November.

HBI Feeds Boys & Girls Club Kids

Heartland Beef Incorporated fed approximately 75 youth at the Boys and Girls Club Crestmont location this past Friday, September 22, at the Huse Culinary Lab’s inaugural supper.

After a long day at school, the roughly 75 kids of the new BGC Crestmont location dined on deconstructed beef Manhattans (a la juicy Roast Beef Classic sandwiches and savory mashed potatoes and au jus gravy) with Salted Caramel and Chocolate Chip or (the preferred option…) Triple Chocolate cookie, apples, and milk in the first of two meals provided by HBI.  They also went home with chicken parmesan over a bed of penne noodles, side salads, breadstick, and milk.

These children all receive free or reduced lunches at school and often go home for the weekend not knowing if they’ll eat again until Monday.  HBI had the privilege of serving this wonderful group of very polite, colorful young ones for the very first Friday Meal served out of the Huse Culinary Lab (see here for more on the HCL).  If you would like more information about feeding the club one Friday during the school year, you can reach out to Crestmont Unit Director, Jon York, at 812-332-5311 ext: 231.

HBI would like to thank Chris Smith for coordinating, Jaimie Schwartzman for assisting, the 1043 Team for ALL of their help, and the office crew for making this happen!

A Message from the Arby’s Foundation

Dear Arby’s Franchisees,

Today marks the official kickoff of the Fall National Restaurant Fundraiser. Since 2011, thousands of Arby’s restaurants across the country have raised more than $20 million to help end childhood hunger in America. Your participation in the Fundraiser makes a difference for kids in every community across the country. Thank you!

Below is additional information you may find helpful throughout the program.

• Incentive Program: We are excited to offer an incentive program for restaurants that go above and beyond during the Fundraiser. Full details can be found in your latest ARG Brand Update

• Local Grants: By participating in the Fundraiser, you are eligible to nominate local non-profit organizations to receive a Community Connection grant through our partnership with No Kid Hungry. Organizations must have 501(c)3 status and be working to end childhood hunger. To nominate an organization, please [contact Ashley Davis]. The deadline for nominations is November 17, 2017 and grants will be awarded to selected organizations in April 2018.

We are incredibly grateful for your support of the Arby’s Foundation and your commitment to kids in your community. The funds raised over the next few weeks will provide critical support to No Kid Hungry and other organizations that are working every day to ensure kids have access to the meals they need.

For more info on the work done by the Arby’s Foundation, please visit

Craig Truelock Honored by ARG


Earlier this month, we were surprised at our Annual GM Awards with a special presentation from ARG.  Matt Garrett, Director of Franchise Operations, awarded one of our own with a special honor.  Read on for the transcript of that presentation:

We give out annual awards as well.   At a meeting in Dayton (a lot of your leadership was there, some of them were recognized) for the East Region.  Now that’s a big group of awards—we’re talking about around 1000 restaurants and at least 150 franchisees.  So we give out sales awards, turnover awards, EcoSure awards—all the great things you guys have done too—but we also give out a few leadership awards.  And they’re hard to earn!  Think of the competition with 150 other franchisees and about 1000 restaurants.  But we weren’t able to give this one out at our meeting in Dayton earlier this year so it just worked out great when Tom said we could present it here today.

This award is about leadership, and here’s the criteria for the award:

It’s based on the vision of the leader, the integrity of the leader.  We measure the experience of the leader.  We measure the work ethic of the leader, and (my favorite) the speed of the leader who’s moving the organization ahead as fast as they possibly can…

So what are those leadership traits?  We know leaders come and go, right?  We’ve all worked for different leaders in our career, but the ones that stay and the ones that continue to inspire us are those leaders who practice the values.  So I want you to say those values with me.







So when we recognize this leader, you’ll know this was a leader who is still here, a leader who still inspires, someone we still look up to as having the best overall values in, really, what amounts to half of the Arby’s brand.  I wish Scott Boatright and some others who really selected this award could be here today from the ARG leadership, but I’m proud to present it and Donna here is proud to present it.

So for 2016, Franchise Community with Best Overall Values: Craig Truelock.