Women in Leadership: Kelseys Original Roadhouse Franchisees

Women in Leadership:
Kelseys Original Roadhouse Franchisees

According to Restaurants Canada, in 2020 58% of the restaurant workforce in Canada were women, but how many were in leadership roles? In the U.S. only 7% of women held head chef or manager titles this year which is why Recipe continues to push for more inclusivity and diversity at all levels of our business. We’ve committed that by the end of 2023, 40% of our Recipe Leadership Team and above will be from diverse backgrounds including women, BIPOC, individuals with disabilities and 2SLGBTQ+, further increasing that number to 50% by the end of 2025.

Kendall Causyn

Kelseys Tillsonburg, Ontario

Alana Tsilikas

Kelseys Toronto, Scarborough, Kitchener, Georgetown - Ontario

Connie Fillier

Kelseys St. John’s, Newfoundland

Shelina Khamis

Kelseys Guelph, Ontario

Connie, Shelina, Kendall and Alana are four women who own and run their own Kelseys franchises. They’re fierce leaders who exemplify Recipe values each and every day. Franco Tascione, the Chief Operating Officer of Recipe’s Social Division said, “I want to thank them for their ongoing leadership. Their drive and commitment has inspired other female leaders within their own restaurants and across the Kelseys brand. Connie, Shelina, Kendall and Alana prove that leadership is not about gender, but the impact you make on others that supports the achievement of a common goal.”

We had the pleasure of speaking with the four restaurant owners about personal growth, challenges and learnings that come with running your own business.

Do you think being a woman has had any sort of impact on your career within the restaurant industry?

Alana: I’ve been with Kelseys Original Roadhouse since 2009. I started as a hostess when I was 17. Today I’m a franchisee of four stores. My motto is, use negative energy as a stepping stone on your way up to the top. Along the way it was sometimes hard for me to find my place, especially as a woman amongst many male peers, but I led with confidence. Working hard and being yourself is always enough.

Connie: I’ve been a franchisee for five and a half years and I always work to support the women on my team. I know what it’s like to feel like you need to work a little harder than your male peers sometimes and I’m happy to now be in a position where I can uplift others.

Do you have any advice for other women interested in owning their own restaurant or business?

Kendall: From a young age I knew hospitality was in my blood. After graduating college I worked in management positions at 5-star hotels in Ireland and St. Maarten and joined the Kelseys team in 2008. I later joined the ownership team in 2017. I’ve been able to share my own experiences, skills and management background with future hospitality leaders in the Hotel, Restaurant and Casino Management program at Westervelt College. For women owning a restaurant, I would say letting your voice, ideas and opinions be heard is most important, all while showing strength and determination as a leader.

Alana: I would say to not let other people’s opinions stop you from achieving greatness. There will always be people who don’t think you can do it or think someone else can do it better.

Connie: Be persistent in all you do and surround yourself with equally hard-working management and staff.

Are there any diversity initiatives you’d like to see Recipe implement?

Shelina: Being a franchisee for the last 12 years and a woman of colour has taught me to always go above and beyond and be confident in myself and my abilities. I’d love to see more women and BIPOC in Senior Leadership roles within the restaurant and am happy this is a goal for Recipe over the next few years.

Alana: We have a lot of women and people of colour running Recipe stores across the country. If you take a look around the room at any of our conferences you will see the diversity. Everyone can always do a better job, but having qualified women and people of colour in senior leadership roles should be a priority for Recipe.

You probably have many, but what’s your go-to order at Kelseys?

Kendall: Chicken Fried Chicken and a glass of Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio. I’m pretty biased, I love all our food! 

Alana: Definitely the Chicken wings. 

Connie: There are two. The Chicken Thai Curry Bowl and our Buffalo Chicken Caesar Wrap. 

Shelina: Balsamic Chicken, but I really have so many favourites that the list is endless. I feel Kelseys has done me proud with introducing so many new items that are fresh and delicious.

If you’re ever in their neighbourhoods, you can stop by for a bite to eat and some more chats on owning a franchise and female leadership at the following Kelseys locations: 

Kendall Causyn - Kelseys Tillsonburg, Ontario 

Alana Tsilikas - Kelseys Toronto, Scarborough, Kitchener, Georgetown - Ontario 

Connie Fillier - Kelseys St. John’s, Newfoundland 

Shelina Khamis - Kelseys Guelph, Ontario