Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, known for its delicious fresh never frozen fried chicken and homemade sides, has been a staple at many tables for over five decades. With 131 franchise and corporate locations in the United States and Canada, Lee’s has successfully defined career paths for many by creating a culture where employees in entry-level positions have full scope to reach the highest levels possible within of the company. Since opening its doors more than 50 years ago, the company’s core value has been to hire and develop talented employees, helping them achieve key training and education.
David Adkins and Kristi Comstock are two Lee employees who both started their careers in entry-level positions with the franchise; but through hard work, perseverance, and lots of training, Adkins and Comstock now work for Lee’s at the corporate level. What’s even more interesting about each of these stories is how Adkins and Comstock were able to follow their own unique interests and talents – Adkins rising and excelling through hands-on experience, and Comstock following a slightly different path and obtaining many certifications. , his bachelor’s degree and soon a master’s degree in business administration.
Both Adkins and Comstock started their careers with Lee years ago and neither expected it to turn into lifelong careers.
“I was only 15 in 1985 when I started working for Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken in Xenia, Ohio,” Adkins explained. “I was a cook and worked in the kitchen for seven years. After that I became assistant manager, later store manager, then training manager and supervisor. other projects, but I’ve always stayed part-time with Lee’s.” When former Adkins boss Bill Sparks returned to the company, Sparks convinced Adkins to return full-time, and he began working for Lee’s corporate office in 2014.
David Adkins started working at Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken when he was 15 years old. He is now the regional franchise manager. Provided.
For Comstock, her career at Lee’s began in 2009. “I took a part-time job as a cashier in my hometown of Piqua, Ohio,” Comstock said. Prior to working as a cashier, Comstock was a stay-at-home mom. For three years she worked hard and in 2012 Comstock was asked to move to another location nearby and become an assistant manager.
“When the general manager of the store decided to leave, I started running this store,” she said. “After that, I had different management positions, but the position at Lee’s head office opened up and I started in 2019. I had just finished my bachelor’s degree, so it was perfect.”
While working for Lee’s and taking on additional leadership roles, Comstock decided to return to school.
“While I was working, I first received my certificate in business management, then my Associates of Applied Business, my bachelor’s degree, and soon I will be getting my MBA from Northwestern Ohio University,” Comstock said.
Today, Adkins and Comstock work as regional franchise managers. They work together to train owners and employees for optimal success at the various Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken locations. They each have a large territory, encompassing around 70 stores.
“We do inspections, help with various trainings, and help prepare new stores,” Adkins said. “As the liaison between the company and the stores, we understand where the owners are from because we’ve been there ourselves.”
With such a large platform within the Lee’s brand, Adkins and Comstock really appreciate their ability to encourage and connect with other Lee’s employees. They both work for their trainees to reach their full potential.
“There’s a development culture when you start with Lee’s,” Adkins added. “Across the franchise, stores have a great reputation for developing their employees and promoting their own employees,” adds Comstock. “Lee’s has a great team member training program. You can progress as much as you want. You just have to be willing to work hard and learn.”
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