Jun 27, 2016 10:42 AM EDT

Food Franchise: A Career Started From A High School Job

By Jane Reed

Some people started working when they were in high school. Some start out as assistants or customer service representatives in fast food joints or even retail stores. Bot one man decided to do something different back in high school.

John Gulledge was 15 years old back then when he took a full time job at Stevi B's pizzeria. He did not know that his job in Georgia would be something bigger.

It was not a fancy job. He was a dishwasher at the pizzeria. According to Entrepreneur, he moved up to a position as a line cook. In time, he eventually worked his way through every position in the business. But when he was there for only 7 months, he became the assistant manager. For a teenager, that is something huge. Why did he become successful at such a young age? One could say he was career-hungry.

"My greatest personal qualities I possessed during that time were my availability and eagerness to learn," Gulledge says. "I used to gobble up hours from other workers that had other plans or simply did not want to work." He made sure he spent his tome wisely. When he left home to attend college, he never failed to keep in contact with his former bosses - Richard and Bob Stoll.
Eventually, the owners sold the pizzeria and opened up a burger joint. It was a build-your-own-burger restaurant. They called it "Cheeseburger Bobby's." And they had one person in mind to become their first franchisee.

Gulledge accepted. He said they saw something in him and he learned about the food service industry.

But most importantly, he was taught "to be a good person." "The most unexpected challenge was the unknown," he says. "I knew how to smile, be nice, cook, clean, pay bills, learn from mistakes and take charge. ... But the unexpected nature of food service and the ever-changing landscape threw me through a loop. The ability to juggle family and business took effort as well."

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