Dreamlift Day pioneer sells franchises

John Tietzen is parting ways with Wendy’s restaurants in Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton.

John Tietzen is parting ways with Wendy’s restaurants in Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton.

But Dreamlift Day isn’t going anywhere.

Tietzen announced his decision to sell the franchises last week.

“I just need a new challenge,” he said. “I’ve been in the food service industry since I was 15; it was my 24th year with Wendy’s in the Southern Interior.”

He began thinking about selling the franchises last year; however, he wanted to stick around until the Wendy’s Dreamlift Day fundraiser, which Tietzen started in 1995, surpassed the $1 million mark.

“Ten years ago, we set ourselves a goal of getting to $1 million—that was really big for me.”

Stepping into the former owner’s shoes is Ken Park, a man that Tietzen is confident will be able to carry on his legacy.

“He’s…got four stores in Alberta. With this purchase he will become the largest franchisee for Wendy’s in Canada,” Tietzen said.

“I’m pretty comfortable because Ken wants to keep our legacies.

“He’s keeping all the staff, managers, regional office staff and area partners—the only person that’s leaving is me.”

Most importantly, Park has promised Tietzen that he will keep Wendy’s Dreamlift Day going.

He’s even done his homework to ensure that he knows what kind of promise he is making.

“He came up here last year undercover and experienced Dreamlift himself without telling anybody. He knows what it’s all about,” Tietzen said.

“I think because of that I have a lot more confidence that Dreamlift Day will be successful and still grow every year.”

Tietzen’s long-term future is still unclear, but immediately he will be involved with the Township 7 wineries he co-owns in Langley and the Naramata Bench.

“I’m still going to look for other restaurant opportunities, wherever they may be.”

When asked whether or not he will ever try to duplicate the Dreamlift Day effort with a different restaurant in the future, Tietzen said: “I believe as a businessman, if you’re successful, you should give something back to the people that help make you successful, so I would find something. But no, I would not try to take on (another) Dreamlift Day.”

He will, however, look to lend his assistance with Wendy’s Dreamlift Days in the future.

“I hope that they will include me. Even if I’ve got to go clean tables that day, I would still like to be involved in some fashion.”