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Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It: How Perseverance and a Little Luck Changed One Team Member’s Life

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By Kendra Rhim

At Inspire Brands, our greatest resource is our people. Guided by our values and behaviors, we strive to be a company that embraces inclusion and diversity in gender, race, background, thinking, and perspective.

In 2021, we rolled out People First @ Inspire, an initiative to ensure we attract, develop, and retain the best possible talent. Part of the People First initiative is Upward Mobility in Restaurant Operations, which involves showcasing team member success stories across our family of brands.

Today, we’re highlighting Jim Johnson, Franchise Business Consultant for SONIC in Atlanta, GA.

A man standing and smiling with his 4 children
Jim Johnson (middle) and his four children.

How long have you been in the restaurant industry and how did you get started?

I’ve been in the restaurant business for 51 years. I started when I was 13 largely because I was in high school and wanted to make some extra money. My older brother had always done pretty well in the restaurant business and suggested it, so I started as a dishwasher and worked up through a very long career in many different types of restaurants – of course, most recently here at SONIC for the past 20 years.

If you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give?

If I had the opportunity to talk to my younger self and guide myself in a different direction, I think I would’ve made the decision to continue my college education. I had completed about three years toward my degree, got married, had a kid, and then the finances kicked in. I kind of got out of the habit of reading and learning. So, I would try to instill in myself back then that you can’t grow without learning. It took me a while to finally figure that out and get back into that habit.

Watch the video below to learn more about Jim’s amazing career progression.

This story is part of an ongoing series that highlights the stories of our team members and their career growth as part of People First @ Inspire.