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The first restaurant they worked with was Kneader’s Bakery & Café, which started just down the road in Orem, Utah, in 1997 with a big emphasis on the bakery. “I looked at it and it was a very popular brand locally, it had a cult following but they had only grown four units in 10 years which is slow in my mind, especially coming from the tech world,” said Smith. “I saw that there was something supremely broken.” So Andrew and Shauna started implementing systems one after another and replacing those that didn’t work. They put in systems for staff training, onboarding and leadership training, then worked their way up to vendor contracting for substantial savings because of the company’s scale and empowering leaders to push the brand further. “Thinking back to those days and where we are now, almost every system either needed to be refined or completely replaced and it’s all by now been completely replaced,” said Shauna Smith.

There’s a restaurant renaissance happening in a suburb of Salt Lake City. Much like the wealthy Medici family that bankrolled some of the greatest Renaissance artists, Four Foods Group is empowering early-stage restaurant concepts to become the next Leonardo da Vinci of fast-casual or Michelangelo of sandwich sculptors.

Andrew K. and Shauna Smith pretty much define the phrase, "power couple." The husband-and-wife duo started their entrepreneurship journey 10 years ago by opening a single Kneaders Bakery franchise in Utah but have since created a franchising empire netting more than $190 million annually. Their brand development and franchise company — Four Foods Group — oversees 155 restaurant locations, including Little Caesars Pizza, Kneaders Bakery & Café, Swig, R&R BBQ and Mo'Bettahs. With two to five additional sites in development or under construction every month, FFG has ranked among Inc. Magazine's 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America for seven consecutive years and employs more than 4,000 people.

Josh James and Andrew Smith both grew up in Chicago — just one school away from each other. They wrestled and played soccer (and there’s a prize for anyone finding a pic of them in uniform going against each other). These two are known for their flowing locks, and they both say “freaking.” They’ve each been on the cover of BusinessQ, and this year they’ve both earned a Triple Crown in our 2018 UV50 — which means their companies have appeared in all three categories of our annual list: Startups to Watch, Fastest-Growing Companies, Economic Engines. This feat has only been accomplished by one other company (Nudge) in BusinessQ’s 11-year history of naming the valley’s top businesses. Set aside your MBA rulebook to hear these two car lovers talk through the stages and lessons of the ages.

“It is definitely parallel with our original quest when we selected Kneaders Bakery and Café as one of our brands,” says Andrew Smith, CEO and founder of Four Foods Group. “We looked for a brand that had support locally, had what I would call a cult-like following, where people would talk about it in high regard…"

“Dale Cheney, Senior Managing Director, Head of Opus’ Merchant Banking Division, said, 'We are enthusiastic to partner with a very talented executive in Andrew Smith, and we look forward to supporting Andrew and all of the dedicated FFG employees in growing and realizing their aspiring vision for the company."

“A little bit of Silicon Valley has made its way to the world of franchising. No, some upstart isn’t going to disrupt the business model into oblivion, but Four Foods Group and CEO Andrew Smith have certainly come to the industry with a fresh set of eyes."

“We are excited to welcome Kneaders to Kaysville as they are true examples of social stewardship, helping to strengthen both the economy and entire community,” shares Mayor Steve Hiatt or Kaysville City."