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Q&A: Fred LeFranc Explains His New CEO Position

Sep 22, 2020

This month, RTS co-founder and Chaos Strategist Fred LeFranc became Chief Executive Officer of a wholesale bakery operation based in Atlanta. It was a short step, really; he was already on the board of directors for Engelman’s Bakery. Fred, whose entire career has been in the restaurant industry, isn’t leaving it. In the following Q&A he explains that he’s expanding his skillset to include the vendor side of the foodservice equation.

Q: How does this experience enhance your ability to help restaurant clients?

Fred: I have seen firsthand how this pandemic has affected restaurants. As a board member of Engelman’s Bakery, I saw how the Atlanta market was impacted, and was then asked to support company efforts to better understand how we could help customers. So we’re creating a new website that includes a recipe database to help restaurants add profitable items to their menu.

What exactly is your role as CEO?

The vision is to build a baking platform across the Southeast region of the country. We’re in the process of implementing systems that will allow us to scale to achieve that end. So there’s a big investment in technology. We have identified various bakeries in the Southeastern market for possible acquisition. We may also build a new facility in a greenfield market.

Why take this position in the first place?

I saw it as an opportunity to help a company I am invested in, and I understand the customer base. [Founder] Sammy Engelman built an amazing brand and I’m excited to see it grow.

Why did Engelman Bakery’s majority owner, Shoreline Equity Partners, tap you for the top spot?

Well, you’ll really need to ask them. I worked with Managing Partner Michael Hand when he was at PNC Riverarch Capital, and I ran GoldCo’s Burger King franchise for him. I was CEO there for a year and stayed on the board for three more.

How do your restaurant management skills transfer to a wholesale bakery operation?

Understanding the business model isn’t complicated, though, like restaurants, executing it is what’s challenging. I understand how to digitize a business for scale, lead talented people and fulfill the vision.

Finally, what do you now know about bakeries?

A lot more than I did four months ago. I have always worked with food manufacturers and toured many of their facilities. So I was familiar with the basic process. Many cultures across the globe have some form of bread product as part of their heritage. I have also experienced them throughout my travels. It’s just that now I’m able see baking processes thoroughly from the other side.

If you’d like help finding solutions for challenges relating to technology, menu development, labor modeling or any of your restaurant company’s problems, please call us at 888-812-2150. We’re happy to help.


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