Franchisee Kateryna Tserkovniuk’s journey with Sarpino’s USA began when she was hired as a cashier in our Fort Lauderdale location in 2018. Born and raised in Ukraine, she moved to the U.S. in 2016. Kateryna quickly rose through the ranks and today, just four years later she’s becoming one of our youngest franchisees and plans to open two locations in South Florida next year. It’s an incredible story and just one more reason why Sarpino’s USA is such a special opportunity. To read more, you can click on our story in the current edition of Franchising USA. Or scroll down to read below.
FRANCHISING USA: Can you share more about your background and journey to the USA?
I was born and raised in Ukraine and grew up in Chernivtsi. I began working in restaurants at 16 years old and grew a love for the industry. I eventually moved to Warsaw, Poland to study at a university and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management and recreation. Shortly after graduating, I moved to the U.S. in 2016 and have called this country my home ever since.
FRANCHISING USA: How did you get involved with Sarpino’s USA?
I started working at Sarpino’s USA in October 2018. Their Fort Lauderdale location was close to where I was living at the time, so I simply walked in with my resume and was hired a couple of days later.
Within a couple of weeks, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. I quickly fell in love with the brand and atmosphere and was pleasantly surprised to learn that several people involved with the company were Eastern European like me. My managers were very supportive during the onboarding and training process and through my first weeks of work.
I started out as a cashier, taking orders, and worked my way up to regional manager. One of the things I love most about Sarpino’s USA is when you want to improve your knowledge about something, they will teach you. Throughout my four years with the company, I’ve learned how to cook all our menu items, pack food, do deliveries, execute marketing tasks, place orders, take inventory, and so much more. When I expressed an eagerness to learn, Sarpino’s USA took the time to develop me from the ground up.
FRANCHISING USA: Working your way up from a cashier to area manager in just four years is impressive on its own. What motivated you to become a multi-unit franchisee with the brand?
I’ve always loved the restaurant industry and working around food and people, so when Sarpino’s USA invested in my professional development and I had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the business, it was a natural next step. Plus, they have been focusing development efforts on South Florida, which is a market I’m already very familiar with, so it was a win-win.
Over the course of four years, Sarpino’s USA has taught me many skills that helped me advance quickly in my career but there were still several little steps I had to take before signing my franchise contract: heading up marketing; becoming a shift manager, general manager, and then area manager; being trained on how to do payroll; etc. So while things moved fast, they were never rushed, and I can confidently say that I am fully prepared to be an owner and operator of my own restaurants.
FRANCHISING USA: What are your goals as Sarpino’s USA’s newest multi-unit franchisee?
Besides loving and believing in the Sarpino’s USA brand, I had my personal reasons to open my own restaurants and move forward in becoming a franchisee.
After war started in Ukraine in February, I began doing a lot of volunteer work and spearheading donation efforts to support people who have lost their homes.
With so many Eastern Europeans involved in Sarpino’s USA – from the leadership team to franchisees, managers to employees – it was a cause close to the brand’s heart and it has been assisting my efforts.
The three restaurants I manage in South Florida have been donating $1 from each order on Mondays and Tuesdays to go to St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Cooper City, Florida. The church provides humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees in Florida, medical aid for the army, as well as financial assistance to those displaced because of the conflict. Since beginning to collect donations at the end of April, we have donated thousands of dollars to help those in need through our two-day-a-week fundraising effort.
In the future, I want to donate more money to support Ukrainian refugees as well as hire them in my Weston and Pompano Beach restaurants.
FRANCHISING USA: Franchising has helped countless immigrants achieve business ownership. What advice do you have for fellow Ukrainians or other immigrants who want to become franchise owners?
There is a big wave of immigration not only from Ukraine but from other countries, as well. My advice to them – whether they want to own and operate their own restaurant franchise or another kind of franchise – is that they should learn how to work every piece of the business. Each workstation, each level, each touchpoint; learn the ins and out of the business. Franchising provides a proven system for success, so going through every step of that system is a sure way of being successful.
To learn more about franchise opportunities with Sarpino’s USA, visit www.sarpinosfranchise.com