Episode 020 of Garage to Goliath is a great conversation with Rich Reinis, a partner at Thompson & Coburn LLP, who also found himself selling doughnuts and scaling quickly. In addition to practicing law, Rich is also the owner of Great Circle Family Foods, a major Krispy Kreme franchisee.

Rich experienced many highs and low lows in his adventure with Krispy Kreme and our conversation is one of profound leadership lessons in courage, transparency, tenacity, and grit.

Our conversation can be summarized in this quote from Rich:

When you get knocked on your butt, get up punching. Don’t just get up, get up and do something positive. Don’t find some consultant to take over for you; get up and do it yourself, you know what the problems are. There’s an old saying, that when you’re in a hole stop digging, but to me that’s only half the story—you have to get up and do something positive in your life and in the lives of your employees, your customers, and everyone else involved.

You have to be positive and proactive. It’s easy to think the world would be better off without you, but when you finally stop wallowing in self-pity and realize help is going to come from within, then you get up punching.

Rich authentically speaks about leading a business, teams, employees, customers, and his family through really challenging times. He shares about a moment when he realized he was leading through intimidation as on overflow from a place of fear.

Rich’s story is a fount of knowledge and I urge you to listen to episode 020 of my leadership podcast to hear Rich talk about:

  • Mistakes made, what he learned, and lessons for you

  • What makes Wendy and Roger, his daughter and son-in-law, great leaders of the business today

  • Why he chose Bret Garlinghouse as his first hire

  • His advice for being a lifelong learner and staying fresh inside and outside his industry

  • The courage to understand your limits and knowing the balance between the sky’s the limit and the reality that the bottom could fall out at any time

  • And how in the end it’s all about human beings and the positive impact you can make on their lives

It’s addicting to be around Rich Reinis. He’s a problem solver, not an excuse maker. This episode is chock full of leadership lessons.



Lead well,

p.s. – Thanks for listening! Please rate, review, and subscribe to my leadership podcast on iTunesSpotify, and/or SoundCloud.

Show related links:
Great Circle Family Foods LinkedIn

Reinis, Richard. “A Cautionary Tale: How an attorney-turned-franchisee emerged from a doughnut hole.” Franchise Times. 01 June 2011. 

Show Timestamps:

  • What is Rich’s favorite Krispy Kreme doughnut [1:24]

  • The type of law Rich enjoys [2:36]

  • How Rich decided to risk everything for a doughnut [3:22]

  • Rich talks about the dynamic of owning and operating a franchise [5:49]

  • Rich’s involvement in the strategy piece of a franchise [7:21]

  • Rich’s advice for scaling a company [8:18]

  • Rich talks about what it looks like to build a business culture within a franchise [10:03]

  • Rich talks about what he learned from the wholesale experience with Krispy Kreme [13:03]

  • Rich shares what it was like to lead his family and company through a bankruptcy [16:59]

  • Looking back with perspective, Rich shares what he would have done differently [20:37]

  • Rich shares why his first hire was Bret Garlinghouse [24:33]

  • Rich shares why his daughter Wendy is such an asset to the business [25:36]

  • What this whole Krispy Kreme experience talk Rich [27:29]

  • How Rich procured funding to develop Krispy Kreme in Southern California [30:05]

  • The most impactful lesson Rich learned from the Krispy Kreme experience [31:30]

  • The things Rich does to make sure he’s learning and staying fresh as a leader [33:09]

  • Why transparency is so important to Rich [36:39]

  • Advice Rich would give to his 20-year-old-self [38:05]

  • How does Rich remain present at work and at home [39:20]

  • The advice Rich would give to his children and grandchildren [40:12]

  • What would make Rich more fulfilled today [40:50]

  • How Rich wants his children to describe him to his grandchildren [42:01]