The taste of successPublished 9:48pm Thursday, April 11, 2013
By Stephen H. Cowles
Special to the News-Herald
Eddie Phillips grew up with the Hardee’s restaurant in Franklin, starting as a cook there at 18 years old.
Thirty-four years later, his work as a senior district manager for six Hardee’s restaurants, including three in Suffolk, has earned him a Founders Award, the top honor presented by Boddie-Noell Enterprises, which owns Hardee’s.
A plaque and cash gift were presented to him during a meeting in Nashville.
“Eddie’s a tremendous talent,” said Gene Dickens, regional vice president for Boddie-Noell Enterprises. “Over the years, we have seen him grow so much.”
“My group of six restaurants had the highest contribution bottom line in our company,” said Phillips, who’ll be 52 this July. He oversees Hardee’s in Suffolk, Franklin, Smithfield and Waverly. A Courtland location, currently under construction, also will be part of his district once it’s completed in June.
“I was thrown in certain situations — cash registers and things like that,” Phillips said with a laugh about the on-the-job training received within the first three years.
“I needed the job for gas money, because I was going to Chowan College in Murfreesboro. I was going to do newswriting/ad copy,” he said.
Phillips’ mother, Carol, worked as a cashier at the Franklin store, and an older sister and a younger brother and sister also came to work there. His father, Ed, was a health inspector and a regular visitor checking on the restaurant.
For three years, Eddie Phillips worked as an assistant manager at the Hardee’s on West Constance and Holland roads in Suffolk. After a year as general manager, he opened and managed a site in Newport News, then came back to Suffolk to work at the Hardee’s on Route 58 for about a year and a half.
“The career path took me to our management training program,” Phillips said, noting that he became a district manager about 10 years ago.
“At first I had a group of restaurants that included some Virginia Beach locations. I’ve also supervised in Chesapeake and Norfolk,” he said. “I’ve had this current group for seven, going on eight years.”
Phillips visits each of his branches at least twice a week, checking on all business facets with his general managers, such as Jackie Scott, the senior general manager at the Hardee’s on Pruden Boulevard in Suffolk, who was among those recently lauded for her work. Phillips said she’s won many times before on the restaurant level.
“I do have some great general managers. They’re a great group of professional leaders,” he said. “We’re a family. I’m blessed to be in the situation I am.”