When compared to a lot of other franchisees, Justin Griffith’s road to entrepreneurship followed a much different path.
While attending Mississippi State University, Griffith quickly made a name for himself in the world of college football. As a player for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, his impressive track record led him to being named the team’s most valuable player. It wasn’t long after until Griffith was recruited by the Atlanta Falcons in 2003—marking the beginning of his eight-year career in the NFL. He was a team member of the Falcons until 2006, and that same year, he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders. A year later, he joined the Seattle Seahawks.
Then, in 2010, Griffith suffered from a pinched spinal cord. The injury forced him to put an end to his career in the NFL. But for Griffith, that ending marked the beginning of the next important chapter in his life.
That same year, Griffith started a family. And alongside his wife and their newborn baby, he moved to North Carolina. It was there that he attended an Ascending Athletes meeting—a group that was founded in 1995 to help professional athletes make a successful transition into the business world—where he had the opportunity to talk to other attendees about franchising.
“I had always been intrigued about starting my own business, but I had no background. I have coached before, and in that experience, my main task was to follow and fit a system. I found that, in a lot of ways, franchising was similar,” Griffith said. “In franchising, the hard work has already been done and a system has already been designed around what works and what doesn’t work. It’s up to a franchisee to then follow those guidelines. The same can be said for being a coach and an athlete—we bring in players and follow a playbook. We teach them how to run offense and defense. And similar to franchising, if you follow it, you have a chance to be successful.”
While visiting the town of Concord, North Carolina, Griffith and his wife sat down at a Famous Toastery for brunch. The experience left him wanting more, so a few weeks later, he once again sat down for breakfast—and once again, it was a memorable meal. He decided to return a third time with his wife and mother-in-law—and, just as he expected, everyone was blown away. Those three visits inspired Griffith to check out the Famous Toastery website, where he was pleased to find that the brand was franchising. So he filled out the form online to learn more about the opportunity. Shortly after, he was contacted directly by Robert Maynard, Famous Toastery’s founder and CEO. After just one meeting, he was sold on the business opportunity.
Now, Griffith is preparing to open his first Famous Toastery restaurant this March in downtown Charlotte—his first of two. And he’s already eager to announce that he’d like to have many more restaurants in the pipeline in the years to come.
“What I really love about working with Famous Toastery is that it’s a brand that values the right work-life balance. In the football world, hours can be ridiculous. With this, I can be out of the restaurant by 4 p.m., which gives me the chance to finally have a life outside of work,” Griffith said. “And that kind of opportunity is priceless.”