No, Woodburn wasn’t too late.
When he started with the Freddy’s steakburger chain six years ago, he remembers asking one of his new bosses: “Is it too late? Did I miss out on anything big?”
He recalls now: “We only had eight stores at the time.”
On Wednesday, the 79th Freddy’s opened in Loveland, Colo. This week Woodburn was in Philadelphia, where the chain’s easternmost franchise will soon open.
“It’s neat,” he said of working with franchisees. “My wife says I’m a people person. This Philadelphia trip was just that – meeting a lot of new people. This was my first time on the East Coast. There’s sense of family out there. It’s a little different.”
Born and raised in Wichita, the 35-year-old Woodburn earned a degree in sports administration from Wichita State University. He interned with the Kansas City Chiefs and then returned to Wichita to take a job with the YMCA. He sought a job with Freddy’s because of “how much fun some of my friends were having over there.”
Woodburn rose from supervisor to general manager to operating partner of the El Dorado Freddy’s before he was asked to become the company’s first franchise field consultant.
“It’s not glamorous,” Woodburn said of the travel involved. “It’s a lot of airports and hotels. They said, ‘Talk to your wife. That’s the most important one. If she says yes, let’s do it.’ ”
Woodburn was named senior franchise business coach last year and was recently promoted to director of franchise support, meaning he continues to help franchisees develop, build and run their locations.
Woodburn and his wife, Kristen, have four boys: Gary, 13; Will, 11; Roch, 2; and Henry, 1.
“That’s my hobby – their lives,” he said. “Just being at home with them. And helping my wife stay sane when I’m away.”