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Richard Frost, Welcome Break KFC brand manager

27 January 2005
Richard Frost, Welcome Break KFC brand manager

Richard Frost became infamous at school. Not for poor discipline or chasing girls, but because he was one of the first boys at his Isle of Wight school to take a cookery O level in the early 1980s.

However, Frost's ambition wasn't the kitchen but the Royal Marines, which he joined in 1984.

His dream ended after he injured his back while training and was forced to leave.

After an operation he visited a career adviser, who suggested he make use of his O level and enter catering. In 1986 he began studying his City & Guilds at college and won the awkwardly named Best Effort Student award. This resulted in a referral from his lecturer to work at an acquaintance's restaurant in France.

Frost describes working as a commis chef at the 120-seat St Thomas restaurant in the Loire Valley under M Le Cos, as "bloody hard work, but a fantastic experience".

In 1989 he returned to the UK and became manager of the Jolly Roger pub in Gosport, Hampshire. By 1992, at his second pub in Poole, Dorset, he'd decided the environment wasn't right for his young children.

Something completely different was needed, and fast-food chain KFC was recruiting. The boy from the Isle of Wight was plunged into a new KFC drive-through in Manchester as manager in 1994 armed with just six weeks' training. He survived, and in 1997 became training manager at KFC, before moving on to a district manager position in 1999.

Then in 2002, motorway services company Welcome Break (WB) made Frost an offer he couldn't refuse: the chance to manage its £17.5m nationwide KFC franchise business. "It was a big, step for me, with a massive increase in responsibility," he says.

Frost takes personal responsibility for the brand, and has set about improving communication between restaurants. He's the go-between for WB and KFC, driving sales, operational standards and profit growth through the people in the business. Typically, Frost works 50 to 60 hours a week, although last year when five stores opened in three months he put in significantly more, driving the equivalent distance of a return trip to Bombay.

He's been rewarded for his efforts, because last year was the best ever financially for WB's KFCs, but it shouldn't be all work and no play.

"A lot of people on the career ladder have blinkers on and don't focus on their personal lives. But making sure you have a healthy balance between the two is perhaps the most important thing I've learnt," says Frost.

Career highlights

1997
Regional training manager

1999
District manager

2002
WB's KFC brand manager

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