The next time you dip a chip into some Mrs. Renfro’s salsa, it might have been packed by a congressman.
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Arlington, recently took a shift at Renfro Foods, the 77-year-old family business located on Fort Worth’s Southside.
Renfro produces a line of gourmet salsas, sauces and Texas-inspired food products. During his shift on April 24, Veasey labeled the company’s famous hickory-smoked barbeque sauce, boxed completed salsas for distribution across the country, and “matched” bulk ingredients for the next day’s production, ensuring that the proper ingredients were set aside for the correct salsa. Veasey also learned the precise science behind each of Mrs. Renfro’s signature products by meticulously measuring seasonings for different salsa recipes.
“Learning firsthand about the history behind Mrs. Renfro’s salsa increased my appreciation for the work a family must invest to take an idea and convert it into a successful business with national reach,” said Veasey. “As the conversation in Washington continues to center around how policy makers can make business ownership more attainable for the average American, I will take the lessons I learned and share them with my colleagues to ensure we are aware of how our decisions affect family-run businesses like Renfro Foods.”
Veasey apparently enjoys Mrs. Renfro’s medium salsa on his breakfast tacos.
According to his staff, Veasey noted as one of the most surprising things during his work day the high level of productivity that goes on behind the scenes at the salsa company.
NORTH TEXAS BUSINESS OWNER
NAMED CEO FOR TGI FRIDAYS
Aslam Khan, who grew his Westlake-based company into the largest Church’s Chicken franchise in the country, has been named CEO at Dallas-based TGI Fridays, the company announced April 26.
Khan replaces John Antioco as CEO of the casual dining restaurant. Khan has been chairman of the multibrand franchise company Falcon Holdings LLC, which he founded in 1999, in partnership with Sentinel Capital Partners. Sentinel is the majority shareholder in TGI Fridays. Along with Church’s Chicken, Falcon also operates Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., Long John Silver and Piccadilly Cafeterias. Falcon has 350 restaurants and manages 150 more.
Khan said he will remain an owner of Falcon. About 80 percent of TGI Fridays’ 470 domestic restaurants are franchised following some corporate changes in 2015.
Khan’s road to success began in a remote village in northern Pakistan. At 14, he took a job at a bakery, working nights, to put himself through college. He began his career in the food service industry at the American Club at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, working his way from waiter up to manager in seven and a half years.
He came to California in 1987 and tried to land a managerial position with Church’s but was turned down by the district manager. He started washing dishes, earning $3.25 an hour. Within three months he was managing a money-losing store, turning it around. He eventually landed in the corporate office of the franchise group, rising to marketing director, vice president of operations and chief operating officer. He left in 1995 for a stint with KFC, where he also transformed regional store performance. A year later he returned to Church’s and helped restore operations for a franchisee of 48 underperforming stores.
Khan has received a number of awards as a franchisee, including the International Franchise Association’s Ronald E. Harrison award for his commitment to diversity and the IFA Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014.
GOFF DONATES $6M
TO UT BUSINSS SCHOOL
John Goff, chairman and CEO of Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate LLC and the managing principal of Goff Capital, has donated $6 million to the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.
The gift from Goff, a ’77 graduate of McCombs, will be used for three strategic growth initiatives at the business school, complementing the activities of the school’s Real Estate Finance and Investment Center and its 250-member council.
“This gift will catapult forward a real estate program that is already among the world’s elite,” said Jay Hartzell, dean of the McCombs School. “We will be second to none in our ability to provide experiential learning for our undergraduate and graduate students, complementing the analytical foundation we’ve always given them.”
Goff’s donation will be split into three areas. He has donated $2 million to the Real Estate Investment Fund and will match any additional donations up to $2.5 million, for a total gift of $4.5 million. Once completed, this will bring the total value of the fund from its current $3 million to $10 million.
McCombs is the only business school in the country where undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to oversee investments in public and private real estate funds, according to UT.
Second, $1 million of Goff’s donation will fund a new chair in real estate, allowing the school to hire a tenure-track faculty researcher or a professional fellow with significant real estate experience.
Third, Goff’s investment in real estate initiatives will fund the creation of the John Goff Labs in Robert B. Rowling Hall, the new graduate school for business at UT Austin. These will include a real estate lab to support experiential learning projects, practicums and events, as well as any additional “theory-to-practice” rooms for use by graduate business students, faculty members and corporate partners.
“Being a graduate of the McCombs School of Business has been extremely meaningful to my career,” Goff said. “I am thrilled to make this gift to enhance the real estate program at McCombs. Jay’s personal background and passion for real estate were catalysts in my decision, and collectively we intend to make this the No. 1 ranked real estate program in the country.”
In late spring of 2015, a group of real estate finance Texas MBA candidates approached Goff with a feasibility study to expand the Real Estate Investment Fund. Hartzell accompanied the students to Fort Worth to pitch their idea to Goff directly.