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In 1994, cousins Glenn, Jay and Gary Levins formed The Phoenix Organization to operate their 300,000 SQ of retail space on Long Island. Soon after, the Levins’ sought out a franchise partnership to add to the company’s portfolio in order to diversify and bolster their real estate business. After extensive research and due diligence, they partnered with Burger King Corporation®, and in 1997 the Phoenix Organization opened their first two BK restaurant locations in South Florida and New York. Since then, the company has grown from 2 to 20 Burger King Restaurants, as well as additional commercial properties, in both states. In 2009, Rachel Levins, Jay Levins’ daughter, joined The Phoenix Organization as an operating partner. In 2013 Russ Lo Bello joined The company as an operating partner with an eye toward overall expansion. In one year, The Phoenix Organization doubled in size from 7 to 14 locations, then recently added 6 more location to be a total of 20 Burger Kings by the end of 2016.
In 2015, Phoenix realized they had an opportunity to cultivate their teams differently than any other fast food company on the planet. Rachel Levins had recently attended an improv for business seminar in Minnesota and reached out to Sick Puppies Comedy. In January of 2016, Sick Puppies hosted their first “Key Holder” team building function for Phoenix. This included General Managers in restaurants as well as shift managers and anyone looking to be groomed for promotion. The results were astounding. Almost overnight, the metrics measured for customer service within BK corporate doubled for the Phoenix Organization restaurants. Moving from the company average, to a leader in the market, Phoenix immediately realized the benefits of incorporating Improv Training into their workforce. Sick Puppies and Phoenix realized the opportunity and put a plan in action.
After seeing the many successes of 2016, Phoenix hired Sick Puppies as a consultant for their Learning and Development platform for 2017. In addition to monthly team building sessions and seminars, SPC will also begin to operate inside of restaurants demonstrating the direct application of improv skills such as listening, emotional language and enthusiasm. Unique to any other training platform, the idea of leading by example, person to person, store by store will be installed to not only “tell”, but also to “show”. The Puppies will become trained in all things Burger King in order to begin “side-coaching” and in store improv installation. This concept mimics the sales coaching you might find in large financial institutions that jump start new associates into success by having their coach do the work right next to them.
The Phoenix philosophy is to develop their people above and beyond everything else. Even if that means losing team members because their development takes them on a new path, they take pride in making people the very best they can be. SPC also shares the same philosophy. In order to get the best performance out of a team, you have to empower individuals to become the best version of themselves. Phoenix has given SPC permission to encourage their team members to pursue their passions and goals and offer assistance.
We will be track profit, retention, customer service index as well as other internal indicators that we believe will move when working on empathy and enthusiasm. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first Improv/Fast Food partnership at this level and scale.
More to come. Do you have an improvmergency? Contact us. 954-667-7735 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s funny how serious we can get.
Anneliesa was our very first accompanist when we tried to dabble in musical improv almost two years ago. She’s always been into the “Yes and…” mentality and been so helpful to us. In fact she introduced us to our other accompanist, Carol Waring.
Anneliesa Trethewey (Music Director) is a versatile pianist and musical arranger in our local theatrical community. She has performed the following musicals: The Rocky Horror Picture Show with the Entr’acte Theatrix; Shrek and Young Frankenstein with the Palm Beach Day Academy; I Do I Do with Stage Left Theater; 9 to 5 with West Boca High; and How to Succeed in Business , and Damn Yankees with the Baywinds (TAG) Theatre Group.
We are so lucky to have to experience of two musical directors on our team.
I was able to stop David from circling the world and have him tell us his story. David Razowsky is THE guy. The Improv Guru, the Point of View Viewer, the man with the quotes, the empathetic beast… the damn good human.
After listening to his podcast (A.D.D. Comedy with David Razowsky) in 2013 where he had Steve Carell on his show, I knew I needed him down to Boca to teach the South Florida Improvisers. So after four visits to South Florida and 4 years of friendship, we get this podcast!
Razowsky is one of the original people to ever do a Harold at iO (Formerly Improv Olympic) and a former mainstage cast and tourco member at Second City along side some of the greats like Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell as well as the former artistic director of Second City Los Angeles for 10 years. He travels the world teaching improv and making people become the best versions of the themselves.
I’m certainly a better person for knowing him and I hope you will be too after listening to this episode.
Shame on us for not introducing you to our musical accompanist, Carol Waring. We’ve been asking her to play during our musical improv shows and rehearsals for almost 2 years, but it’s time to make sure she solidifies her place in Sick Puppies History.
She’s played at Nordstrom for about four years when they still had live piano, Breakers West country club for weddings, cocktail parties and special members luncheons and dinners. She enjoys the fun and challenge of playing with Shallow Howl, affecting the course of the musical while also following the lead of the actors.
Buy tickets for tonight’s show and see (hear) Carol in action! She’s fantastic. Stay tuned as we introduce you to our second accompanist in the near future!
Ahmed Bharoocha is primarily known as a Stand Up Comedian. He recently released his 30 minute special on Comedy Central and simultaneously his album “Almond Badoody”. You can find the album on itunes, spotify and amazon music.
He’s a super nice guy and someone to look out for.