Ruszkowski is Enthusiastic About the Innovative Brand’s Growth
Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii, a popular coffee franchisor, promoted Chris Ruszkowski to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). As CMO, Ruszkowski will oversee marketing communications, brand vision, advertising planning and more to foster national growth. He was previously senior vice president of marketing.
After Royal Aloha Coffee, LLC, purchased Bad Ass Coffee in 2019, Ruszkowski found out about the position and thought it was a marketer’s dream. “I already had a love for coffee and saw this as an opportunity to work on a challenger brand that was ready to take off in the category. I loved the idea of being part of the transformational team that is leading this brand with ownable messaging and positioning in the market.”
The excitement around the brand’s differentiation in the market appeals to Ruszkowski. To him, there is nothing comparable when Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii enters new markets and energizes the entire franchise system. To continue this differentiation, the coffee franchisor is going to continue playing to its strengths and never losing sight of the Aloha experience, he said. He is also optimistic about the coffee franchisor’s new partnership with two pro surfers from Maui. This is the first sponsorship of influencers since Ruszkowski joined the company, and he looks forward to seeing where the program goes.
The Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii leadership team is thrilled to have Ruszkowski on board. “Chris has been such an amazing asset to this business from day one as our first strategic hire in early 2020,” said Scott Snyder, CEO of Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii. “His promotion to Chief Marketing Officer is more of a recognition of what he has already demonstrated – especially his ability to transform a shared vision to a tangible reality for what has become one of the hottest emerging franchise brands in the coffee category. I look forward to continuing to work with Chris as we write the next chapter in this great brand’s evolution.”
Ruszkowski started his career working for Frankel, a large advertising and promotional agency in Chicago, Ill. During this time, he had the opportunity to work on a marketing piece that was launched at the McDonald’s Worldwide Convention in 1997. This was Ruszkowski’s first experience in franchising, and he was amazed at the immense franchise ecosystem that supported the restaurant business. Later in his career, Ruszkowski led the advertising strategies and execution for Quiznos in the U.S. His favorite aspect of franchising is working with the franchisees and getting to know what motivates them. He also enjoys seeing local store marketing positively impact their businesses.
How to Succeed in Franchising
Ruszkowski urges prospective candidates to love what they do and research a brand before investing. “Interview other owners, competitors and staff. Essentially, this will be a marriage and breaking up won’t be easy, so date the brand and category!”
He urges franchisors to start from the inside out to improve marketing initiatives. For example, if a franchisor is missing the mark on product consistency, customer service, etc., then advertising dollars are wasted, he said. Ruszkowski also suggests that franchisors understand their customers.