Aurelio Sanchez, the general manager of the Payson Burger King, knows how to turn around a fast-food restaurant.
"We were No. 14 in the chain and after only 10 months, we're No. 3," Sanchez said of the changes he made in the Payson store.
The Payson Burger King is one of 15 stores owned by MCL Enterprises, Inc. Sanchez came to the store Jan. 1, 2003. The stores compete with one another for top marks in sales, speed of service and cleanliness, he said.
Since his arrival, the Payson Burger King has seen about a 13 percent increase in sales. The store he opened for the company before coming to Payson, located in Chandler, has the highest volume in the chain.
His success as a troubleshooter earned him a trip to Anaheim earlier this week, where he addressed 800 Burger King managers. Sanchez has worked with Burger King for 13 years, starting as an hourly employee in Los Angeles.
"Aurelio has many great qualities. He is hard working, honest and experienced," Sanchez's district manager Troy Hackmeister said, as he introduced Sanchez to the crowd. "Most importantly, he is passionate about his restaurant, his employees and his guests. He sets the example every day and helps others achieve their full potential. He has developed more managers than anyone else in our company ... He is an outstanding person and a terrific general manager."
Sanchez spoke to the California group about the changes instituted to succeed.
"We made a lot of changes, including improving the quality of our food," he said.
In addition to increasing sales, the Payson restaurant has developed many returning customers.
"I love to help the people develop their lives," he said. "If they put in the effort, they can do anything."
Sanchez has hired and trained 10 of the company's managers.
His work with MCL Enterprises takes him to restaurants where there are problems. He has been at five different sites in seven years, but he'd like to see that change.
"I love Payson. I really don't want to go anywhere else," he said.
Sanchez said there will be some good changes in the future, plans that were made at the meeting in California this week. He said they are going to start focusing on customer satisfaction and giving people an opportunity to tell them whether the service was good. It is actually something he has been teaching his 24 employees all along.
"I always tell them if we don't have a guest to serve, we don't have a job," Sanchez said.