In 2021, Riley Jackson was ready to retrofit his Crumbl location in Greeley, Colorado, with a drive-thru. He contacted Highmark to help him decide where the menu board should be located and to provide an estimate for the conduit he’d need to make the job work.
Christian Gonzales, Highmark’s Director of Operations, met Riley on site to review the architect’s proposal, which included a build-out to add an outcrop for the drive-thru window.
Christian has had experience on job sites since the age of seven, while growing up and then running his dad’s contracting business. Putting on his old contractor’s hat, he realized that the architect’s proposal would be both costly and unsatisfactory. The build-out required twenty square feet of brick which would be expensive to match and install. In addition, Christian pointed out that with the outcrop, the remaining easement would be insufficient for cars to pass through. This would inconvenience customers and was potentially a liability risk.
“I’ve been at Highmark 14 years. We really care about our customers’ businesses, so I go above and beyond for them,” explained Christian. “In this case with Crumbl, I saw an opportunity to save them money – possibly as much as $15,000 to $20,000. It didn’t have anything to do with the equipment Highmark was providing. I solved something they didn’t even know they needed a solution for. Most guys would say, ‘Just follow the plans.’ But with my background in construction, I know how things are built and was able to say, ‘That’s not the best way.’”
Christian redesigned the architect’s proposal. He suggested instead that they cut out a window, remove a planter box and lamps, and cut some concrete. While this required paving repairs, the solution was substantially cheaper than the original proposal, and Christian’s revision provided enough easement to eliminate the need for a parking lot redesign. Riley was very happy with the idea and Christian met with the architect to have the new plans drawn up.
Highmark didn’t charge for any of Christian’s guidance. “It’s all part of finding the best solution for the customer,” explained Highmark CEO, Alex Vorobieff. “We are not a manufacturer, so we are technology agnostic and can present options objectively. We work for the customer and are always looking for what will help their businesses most.”
Highmark supplied the drive-thru equipment Crumbl needed including headsets, timer systems, and menu boards. They also laid out where to put boxes and where to run conduit. Less than five months from Christian’s initial visit, Crumbl’s new drive-thru was up and running – more efficiently and for a smaller investment than they’d expected!
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