Women in Pizza: Lori Mourlam - From Intern to Vice President

Posted by Miriam Robinson

Miriam was a Marketing Content Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions from 2019 to 2020, and was always on the hunt for great topics to share with restaurant entrepreneurs all over the world.

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How many people do you know still work for the same company as they did in high school? Are they Vice President now?

Lori Mourlam is what some people call a “lifer.” She’s dedicated her career and over 40 years of her life to working from an entry-level high school position to the top—Vice President. However, working her way up the ladder was not her goal—it was a natural progression that resulted from her genuine passion for her work, and her dedication to the Godfather's Pizza chain.


Getting Noticed

A local student job program connected Lori with her first job in 1978—at a Godfather’s Pizza restaurant that had recently been opened by ROC Management in Estherville, Iowa. She split her time between working at the restaurant and going to school. She made pizzas, waited on customers, took orders, operated the cash register, sliced a lot of meat (as they had to do in those days), and cleaned tables. Her job consisted of countless smaller jobs and responsibilities, which is not so different from her work today as Vice President.

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Her Journey to Vice President

So how did she do it? In 1981, a few years after graduating high school, Lori was offered a manager position at a new Godfather’s Pizza location that was opening a few hours away in Le Mars, Iowa—which she accepted. A few years later, in 1984, Lori was transferred to a new store opening in Humboldt, Iowa, to be the manager there. Not only did she accept these life changes wholeheartedly, she also helped open the Humboldt store and got everything up and running smoothly. She was only there for a few years before she moved back to the Spencer, Iowa, location. That store already had an owner and manager, so Lori became the assistant manager. She began to take on training responsibilities; making sure that new staff were knowledgeable and prepared.

When the manager at the Estherville location left, she moved back to the restaurant where it all began. She was now the manager of the same restaurant where she had once bussed tables and cooked pizzas. This turned into a training manager role, in which Lori supervised training for the whole ROC Management corporation. Not long after that, Lori became the district manager for multiple stores. Learning the business from the ground up proved to be valuable, as she began to progress more rapidly in the company. She hired staff and continued training at the store, focusing on teaching, opening more stores, hiring, and training new people. Before long she had moved to training out of head office, and was promoted to Vice President at ROC Management.


A Busy Role

To Lori, her journey to Vice President always felt like a natural progression—and it became easier as she went. Lori is still in the same position today, years later—respected by her peers, appreciated by franchisees, and a go-to source for POS system and online ordering information. 

Lori says her role “keeps me hopping.” ROC Management has 11 stores, and all the managers report to her. Her main priority is to make sure all 120-180 employees have everything they need. When she’s not directly communicating with franchisees, she’s working on the store menus, communicating with vendors, and implementing offers into the SpeedLine POS system and online ordering service. 


Training the Godfather's Staff Herself

As a SpeedLine Certification Program graduate, she can tailor the installation and training process to fit Godfather’s Pizza's needs perfectly. Instead of having SpeedLine trainers come and train staff on the POS system, Lori can teach Godfather’s Pizza staff herself, in the way she knows will have the most impact.

SpeedLine offers a certification program for precisely this reason. She says the certification program “helps to know SpeedLine inside and out, and really  understand it.” Since she understands the programming side of the POS system, if Lori wants to add a new pizza, she knows exactly how to go through the software, add a new pizza to the menu, and release it for franchise use. She can also install the equipment and software herself, and set up everything required to run a successful operation. 


Technology in Pizza

Lori explains that when she first started, technology in the restaurant industry was nowhere close to where it is today. Writing on tickets by hand and ringing orders in on a cash register has now been replaced by tickets displaying instantly on a POS system. Instead of chalk boards on the sidewalk, new digital boards can be updated automatically with promotional items, and even display calorie counts. Finally, online ordering and delivery has changed the restaurant game. 

Since Godfather’s Pizza adopted SpeedLine in the very beginning, they have grown alongside each other as technology has evolved. From menu design, to delivery, table service, and presentation screens, Godfather’s Pizza has been able to take advantage of new technology as it’s been released, and has stayed ahead of the game. 

Read more about how Godfather's Pizza uses SpeedLine here.


Standing out in the Pizza Industry

Lori says there are three important keys to standing out in the pizza industry today:

  1. Customer service
  2. Quality pizza
  3. Taking care of customers

So what was it about Lori that made her stand out and achieve multiple promotions? She attributes her success to being very organized, committed to her job, and having the flexibility to move into new positions. She has always worked well with both customers and employees. Most notably, after all these years, she still loves her job: “Lots of people are AT their job, but they don’t LOVE their job. I’ve always loved my work; I still love what I do.” 


Recognized for her Work

Each year, Corporate Godfather’s Pizza presents a “Person Who Matters” award that employees of the company can be nominated for. Lori won in 2017. She was praised for dedicating her life and career to Godfather’s Pizza. It marked her 40th year of service to the company, and she was commended for still making a difference every day. Lori’s voice beams with pride as she reads aloud from her award letter. “Her personality and knowledge is the perfect pairing for her role as Vice President. Lori is immeasurable. Her work traits are vital to the company’s smooth operations. She is very deserving of the Person Who Matters award.”



Posted on Wed, Mar 04, 2020 @ 07:03 AM.
Updated on June 22, 2022 @ 6:34 PM PST.

Tags: Case Study, Franchise, Restaurant, Restaurant Management, Women In Pizza

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