Franchising Adds Special Meaning for Father-Son Family Business Owners

These Franchise Founders Reflect on Their Father-and-Son Business Partnerships

On Father’s Day, dads are celebrated for being providers who offer indispensable advice and guidance. Fathers in franchising have the unique opportunity to inspire their children with an entrepreneurial spirit. Through franchising, countless families have created a legacy that can be passed onto future generations. 

Here, father-son family business owners reflect on how franchising has impacted their lives and relationship. We begin with Jeff Oddo, whose father, Frank Oddo, founded the City Wide Maintenance Company in 1961. With hard work and dedication, Frank grew the company and eventually included Jeff and his brothers in the family business.

Jeff went on to start the City Wide Facility Solutions franchise in 2002. Not only would it become synonymous with building maintenance in its home Kansas City market, but it has grown nationwide. Since then, Jeff has included his three daughters in the family business. Jeff discusses the importance of continuing his father’s legacy and the meaning of including his children in the family business. 

Jeff and Frank Oddo, City Wide

Frank and Jeff Oddo, City Wide franchise
Jeff Oddo (left) and Frank Oddo (right)

I think one of the greatest things a father could hope for is to eventually go from being ‘just a father’ to being a father and best friend.

When was City Wide founded, and when did it start franchising?

Jeff: City Wide Maintenance Company was founded in 1961 by my dad, Frank Oddo. In 2001, I started the City Wide franchise, and we opened our first franchise location in 2002.

What has working in a family business taught you? 

Family is more important than money, which can divide families quicker than anything else. Proper rules and protocols need to be documented before family members are allowed to join the company. Working in a family business has been the greatest experience I could have ever asked for. Yes, it can be challenging at times, but at the end of the day, our family is better off for being part of City Wide and working together. With that being said, it is not for everybody, and I would highly encourage owners to really think through their decision as to whether they allow their children to join the team.

How will you carry on your father’s legacy to the next generation?

My father is an amazing, wonderful, warm, and generous person who also happened to be a fantastic businessman. He was able to separate work from family, as well as work from charity. Those three things were clearly defined and kept in their own individual spaces. My father successfully brought his three sons into the family business and helped all three become independent business owners who have been able to successfully lead three different companies, which will be able to be passed onto future generations. 

What does it mean to you to include your children in your father’s business?

Having three daughters is a blessing in and of itself. But having all three of my girls working with me as the third generation of leaders is something I have hoped and prayed for my entire life. My job as a father is to educate them, love them, and help raise them to have the morals, values, and ethics. This would allow them to be independent young women who would be great members of society. I think one of the greatest things a father could hope for is to eventually go from being “just a father” to being a father and best friend. I feel so fortunate to be in both roles with my daughters and believe that one of my highest priorities is to teach them how to run the business. More than 30,000 families are dependent upon the success of City Wide, and we have the opportunity to positively impact countless lives. My daughters know the company is not something they are entitled to, but something they must earn. 

The Oddo family, City Wide franchise 
The Oddo family (from left to right): Karen Oddo, Jeff Oddo, Alyssa Oddo, Olivia Oddo, and Savannah Oddo

What advice would you give to other fathers who work with their children?

My best piece of advice for fathers who work with their children is to treat them as if they were their most important, highest producing, most respected leader in the company. Too often parents treat their children at work as they did when they were growing up. I think that is a recipe for disaster. If parents would treat their kids, in the working environment, like their most important business leader – the employee you cannot afford to lose, I suspect their conversations would be totally different. There would be more education, more dollars invested in professional development, more patience, more respect, and probably a different tone altogether.

Another piece of advice to parents working with their sons and daughters is to have well-thought-out job descriptions and compensation plans, and weekly meetings — just like you would with other critical leaders. Yes, it is important to start with the end in mind and define what happens if things don’t work, to have a buy-sell agreement, non-compete, etc. But between now and then, it’s the father’s responsibility to clearly articulate to his children that inside those four walls they are an employee. Just like every other employee, unless they are as good or better than anyone else in that position, they are not entitled to a job just because they have the same last name.

Matt and Adam Cahill, SUPPLY POINTe

Matt and Adam Cahill, SUPPLY POINTe franchise
Adam Cahill (left) and Matt Cahill (right)

The nice thing about having a partner that is family is that we share similar values and outlooks on life. 

When was SUPPLY POINTe founded, and when did it start franchising? 

The concept was founded in 2002 in Cincinnati, Ohio, by me (Matt), and I (Adam) duplicated it in late 2011. We started franchising in 2018.

SUPPLY POINTe franchise
The SUPPLY POINTe franchise is a network of pallet and packaging, freight forwarding, and trucking companies.

What is your favorite part of working together? 

Given that we are eight hours apart, franchising has allowed us to work together and talk almost daily. This has had a positive impact on our relationship and allowed us to grow even closer.

What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned from each other? 

The nice thing about having a partner that is family is that we share similar values and outlooks on life. We truly believe in the concept of treating people the way we want to be treated. Working together has reaffirmed that.

How has franchising impacted your relationship?

Franchising has brought us even closer by allowing us to connect and synergize on a daily basis. We strategize and goal-set all the time, and it is even more fun to achieve success together.

What advice would you give to other fathers and sons who work together? 

Never mix personal matters with business, and never take business matters personally. We did not get into business together to do anything other than grow and be successful. Remember your original motivation as to why you started working together and most importantly, how you envision what the finish line looks like, and who you want standing there with you when you cross over it.  

Young and Christian Lee, Flame Broiler 

Young and Christian Lee, Flame Broiler
Young Lee (left) and Christian Lee (right)

We see franchising as a platform for greater impact. 

When was Flame Broiler founded, and when did it start franchising?

The first Flame Broiler restaurant opened on January 2, 1995. Our first franchised location opened in 1999.

What is your favorite part of working together?

The alignment of values and shared vision are what we are most proud of. Our family is equally bought into our mission of providing access to healthy food in our communities and doing it through our values: We Exemplify Love and Help Others Win with Fanatical Excellence to Feed Communities. It’s both motivating and rewarding to work together when we have the same “why” that we are striving towards. 

What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned from each other?

Christian: My dad started one of the few successful Asian-inspired health restaurants in the ’90s. He taught me not to be bound by industry standards or trends, but to build a company based on a vision. Despite the odds being stacked against him, he created something that didn’t exist at the time because he believed wholeheartedly in the need around him.

Young: Christian has taught me what it looks like to embrace change. He does a good job of understanding what’s going on in the world and bringing change into the company to evolve and move forward. It’s all about maintaining the core heart of the brand while also adapting to changing consumer needs and demands. He’s always looking at how we can care for and serve our people and customers better.

Flame Broiler franchise 
Flame Broiler is an Asian-inspired health restaurant. 

How has franchising impacted your relationship?

We see franchising as a platform for greater impact. Franchising was a way for us to replicate the successful model of our first restaurant and allow others to participate and benefit from it. It’s all about people – what we can share with the world rather than keep as our own. That has been an important reminder to us that it’s not just about our family, but what we do impacts other entrepreneurs and families within our system. It gives us so much more purpose in what we do and helps us come together as a family.

What advice would you give to other fathers and sons who work together?

Multigenerational leadership is incredibly valuable. Being born and raised in different countries, cultures, and generations, we see the world very differently. This can cause tension and challenges, but if done right, can bring incredible strength to the relationship. This strength is harnessed through the power of empathy — and starts with listening. You need the genuine belief that you can actually learn from each other. It’s easy to assume you already know everything there is to know about each other because you’ve known each other so long, but continuing to cultivate curiosity for each other is game-changing. The insights we’ve gained as a result of bridging our generational gaps has been invaluable to our company.

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Haley Cafarella is a passionate journalist and writer for IFPG. In her role as content and marketing specialist, she creates original articles for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine. Her specialties include educational articles about buying a franchise and franchise consulting. She also reports on franchise professionals who were recently promoted or hired through FranchiseWire’s popular HireWire series.

Haley has contributed to a variety of regional publications, including Quo Vadis, New Brunswick Today, and the Trenton Monitor. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Rutgers University.
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