Top-to-bottom teamwork makes a win for Goering Center member

UC Goering Center news

Gold Star was on pace to have quite a year before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, with sales up 9.7% over the same period last year.

But thanks to the company’s advanced planning it was able to quickly change how it served customers when Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana implemented new restrictions for restaurants. From May to June, Gold Star surpassed last year’s sales by 7.4%.

“Our team stepped up,” said Roger David, the CEO of GSR Brands, the parent company of Gold Star and Tom & Chee. “And when I reflect on [the word] “team,” I’m thinking of both our frontline workers, our franchise owners and our corporate support staff. [They] really came together in a moment of crisis to put together a plan [and] an approach to try to get the wheels back on the bus, because when this hit, it hit hard.”

GSR Brands’ operations staff closely followed updates from state and federal authorities. It created a system to deliver updates and changes to Gold Star’s franchise owners and general managers, including specific information for locations in each of its three states about their respective state’s regulations and the company’s protocols.

GSR Brands committed to additional measures beyond what local, state and federal authorities recommended. For example, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended masks, GSR Brands required workers to wear them ahead of state orders. The company also mandated temperature checks for employees.

The company also required tamper-proof tape for drive-thru, carryout and delivery orders to ensure food safety and tamper-proof bags for third-party delivery orders, and they checked on their locations to ensure the new measures were enforced.

Finance and development teams worked with franchise owners to obtain government help such as the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Gold Star’s vice president of operations wrote scripts for franchise owners to request relief from lenders, landlords and others.

GSR Brands’ marketing team communicated changes to service in real-time to help the brand and individual franchise owners. Media spending was halted to save money to help with reopening communications.

Gold Star also helped the community. A portion of sales from its Coney Crates were given to eight nonprofits. In total, $35,969 was raised. Also, Gold Star raised $11,814 for the Cure Starts Now from sales of its chili cans and it raised $9,700 for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center from the company’s “Milkshakes for Children’s Sake” program.

Despite the challenging times, GSR Brands plans to add five new franchises by the end of this year across Gold Star and Tom & Chee.

Featured image at top: GSR Brands CEO, Roger David, will a lead team in the opening of five new franchises by the end of 2020. Learn more about Gold Star Chili and Tom & Chee's online.

GSR Brands is a Goering Center core member, and the Goering Center is sharing this content as part of its Business Courier supplement for the 2020 Family & Private Business Awards. View more of the digital supplement here.

About GSR Brands
Linwood-based GSR Brands operates the Gold Star and Tom & Chee restaurant franchises. Four brothers started Gold Star in 1965 as a single restaurant serving hamburgers and Cincinnati-style chili. The brothers’ spice blend is still used today at Gold Star’s 75-plus locations in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Gold Star added the Tom & Chee brand in 2017. Tom & Chee, serving sandwiches, soups, salads, side dishes, and other items has 10 franchise locations. 

About the Goering Center for Family & Private Business
Established in 1989, the Goering Center serves more than 400 member companies, making it North America’s largest university-based educational non-profit center for family and private businesses. The Center’s mission is to nurture and educate family and private businesses to drive a vibrant economy. Affiliation with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati provides access to a vast resource of business programing and expertise. Goering Center members receive real-world insights that enlighten, strengthen and prolong family and private business success. For more information on the Center, participation and membership visit

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