A family approach to business means caring for your staff
Jimmie Beavers built his career the old fashioned way. The Alabama native dropped out of high school to join the Navy then made his way from one industry to another before eventually opening an Arby’s restaurant in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, in 1986. By the time his son Scott came on as Chief Financial Officer, Beavers Inc. was one of the largest Arby’s franchise holders, with dozens of restaurants across the Southeast.
But Scott, now the company’s President, who works alongside his brother Kenny, says his father isn’t the company’s only rags-to-riches story.
“Our COO Greg Thompson started when he was a teenager as a back line cook,” Scott says. One of their top supervisors, Nancy Conrad, worked in a Dothan, Alabama restaurant to pay for nursing school, but eventually quit a full-time hospital job to work for Beavers once again.
“We have so many stories like these, I could keep telling them forever,” Scott says. “Most of our executive staff started out as crew people and worked their way up to where they are today. They’ve all had different backgrounds, but many have been here since high school.”
Beavers Inc. maintains the business model of a major franchise, but it is also built on a foundation of familiarity, loyalty, and trust, not MBA-studded resumes. This rare balance has been key to the company’s continuing growth and stability.
“We do hire from outside, we’re a big business, we have to. But people who have grown with us, they know how we operate, they know our philosophy,” Scott says. “Numbers are important, the bottom line is important, but how you treat people is just as important…Nancy, as a supervisor, she molds lives. Your first job as a teenager, that’s where you grow. And she loves what she does.”
Taking care of employees is a something Beavers Inc. takes seriously.
Payroll is another area that Beavers Inc. takes seriously. Cougar Mountain Software is one of the company’s long-time partners. Beavers Inc. adopted a DOS version of their accounting software in 1986 and has since relied on Cougar Mountain for its financial operations.
“We have a thousand employees in over 53 stores, with two departments to every location, hourly and management. Since it is the fast food industry, we take on 20 to 30 new employees every pay period. We’re also processing payroll in five states. We pretty much have every scenario in payroll that you can have.”
Scott oversaw the upgrade of Beavers Inc. to Cougar Mountain’s Denali platform about a year ago. He says it was a transition, but Denali rose to the challenge. “We can process payroll from start to finish within a couple of hours with no paychecks missing. We can track seniority days, we can track pay raises, we can track deductions, and we can process our hourly and management departments together. Our entire payroll process is Tuesday morning through Thursday afternoon every two weeks, and the reason we can do that so efficiently is because of Cougar Mountain’s Denali Payroll.”
This is really clean and efficient!’ and ‘This is exactly what we’re looking for.
Denali also helps Scott organize all of these variables into a comprehensive financial picture, whether within one of the restaurants near South Mobile or across the entire state of Alabama.
Beavers Inc. also has restaurants in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Each state has unique tax codes, and each tax code can be long, complex, or downright cryptic. Fortunately, Denali Payroll helps Scott navigate the legal maze of requirements and codes. “Once you learn how Denali works, it’s easy to keep up with all the states. Their matrix keeps tax codes up to date, so the different laws are never an issue. You can have each state assigned, or more than one state assigned, and with Denali you just have to click one button and it updates every single tax table.”
The staff aren’t the only ones who appreciate Denali.
“Government agencies love the software,” says Scott, who makes full use of Denali’s Audit Trail Reports in the General Ledger module when it’s time to produce financial reports to the menagerie of state, local, and federal governments. “It makes the auditing process easy. Everything is so flexible and presented so clearly. They always give us comments: ‘This is really clean and efficient!’ and ‘This is exactly what we’re looking for.’”
The Family Business
“At Beavers Inc. we say, ‘People leave, but they always come back because we take care of them.’”
Indeed, that philosophy is how Jimmie Beavers acquired his current President. Scott grew up around the business but left for Nashville after college to work in the music industry.
As to why he came back: “I don’t want to say the word ‘calling’ because that sounds hokey, but I just felt it was time to come home… Growing with each other through the good times and bad times, that’s what family is, and that’s the nature of our business.”