ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In her debut book, Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others, Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen CEO Cheryl Bachelder describes how a counterintuitive and countercultural approach – Dare-to-Serve leadership – has driven the turnaround of a once-ailing restaurant chain and turned it into a pace-setting competitor. Sharing her personal and professional experiences, Ms. Bachelder illustrates the power of Dare-to-Serve principles to drive results in organizations, large or small.
“The old model of power and ‘me first’ leadership no longer works in today’s workplace,” said Ms. Bachelder. “People want to be led to a daring destination that inspires, by a leader who genuinely listens, cares, and serves the team well. It is this dynamic tension between the daring and the serving that creates the conditions for people to perform their best. Any organization with the courage to embrace this approach will find their team delivering superior results.”
When Ms. Bachelder was named CEO of Popeyes in the fall of 2007, restaurant guest visits had been declining for years, restaurant sales and profit trends were negative, and the company stock price had dropped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, and relations between the company and its franchise owners were strained.
The difference maker, Ms. Bachelder says, was a conscious decision to lead in a new way. Using the tenets of servant leadership, Popeyes leaders created a workplace where people were treated with respect, yet challenged to perform at the highest level. Silos and self were set aside in favor of collaboration and team play. Results were measured with rigor and discipline. Servant leadership is sometimes derided as soft or ineffective, but this book shows that it’s actually challenging and tough-minded. Ms. Bachelder takes you firsthand through the transformation of Popeyes and shows how a leader at any level can Dare-to-Serve.
By 2014, average restaurant sales were up 25 percent, and profits were up 40 percent. Market share had grown from 14 percent to 21 percent, and the stock price was over $50 per share. The franchisees were so pleased with the turnaround that they reinvested in the brand, rapidly remodeling restaurants, and building hundreds of new units around the world.
“Dare to Serve describes the kind of leadership so desperately needed in the 21st century,” said Stephen M. R. Covey, #1 bestselling author of The Speed of Trust and coauthor of Smart Trust. “A powerful blend of courage and humility, Ms. Bachelder’s engaging story offers a clear path for leaders to follow, and what makes her message so compelling is the tremendous results she’s produced. I highly recommend this book.”
Cheryl Bachelder is the CEO of Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., a multibillion-dollar global chain of more than 2,300 restaurants around the world. She has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times and was recently named by CNBC’s Jim Cramer as one of his “21 Bankable CEOs.” In 2012, she was recognized as Leader of the Year by the Women’s Foodservice Forum and received the industry’s highest award, the Silver Plate Award, from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. Cheryl has enjoyed thirty-five years of leadership at Yum! Brands, Domino’s Pizza, RJR Nabisco, the Gillette Company, and Procter & Gamble. She serves on the board of Pier 1 Imports. She is married thirty four years to husband, Chris, and they have three grown daughters.