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TOP CFO: Companies with $20 million to $50 million revenue

Jason Morgan, Zoes Kitchen

While numbers come easy to Jason Morgan, he wanted his career to add up to much more than just accounting.

That’s what helped him serve up success as CFO of Zoës Kitchen.

Morgan is living his career goal – to help grow a company.

“The majority of my career has been in financial analysis and strategic planning,” Morgan said. “I got lucky to get out of accounting early and started learning service-related businesses. I like the fact that I can strategically grow and shape where the business is going. You don’t get that in any role of the company other than CEO.”

When Morgan started at Zoës, the company had about 20 stores. Recently, the company opened its 52nd store in the south end zone addition of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Added restaurants, such as a new-look Vestavia Hills store due in September, help the bottom line.

The company’s got new accounting systems, new point-of-sale systems, online ordering and even demonstrations on how to run registers at new restaurants – all of which Morgan had a hand in.

The result is about $11 million in 2007 sales blossoming to nearly $50 million.

““What happened in this economy is that people who went to Chili’s or Applebee’s started trading down and going to less expensive restaurants,” he said. “We have a quality meal at a discount price and you don’t have to tip.”

Morgan’s multifaceted background with different companies is key at Zoës, which does it all with 15 employees in its corporate office.

His understanding of how corporations work in relation to control, policy and procedure, as well as the diligence required in decision making, has helped build the restaurant chain.

“It helps that we have a great team here,” he said. “We’ve done a good job in hiring people who all have a common goal. When they all have that initiative, it creates a good atmosphere. Because we’re so small and my hand is in everything, everyday could bring a new challenge. There are lots of details to keep up with.”
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