Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue II, 2017 | Page 48

BY HELEN BOND ADDING NEWBRANDS Successful franchisees tell how they do it S o you want to build your business by adding another brand? Maybe two? While the ROI must make sense, seasoned multi-brand franchisees say the key to franchise happiness begins with finding the right fit, from values and cul- ture to matching personal and financial goals with the brand’s. “I think you have to find brands you can be passionate about, brands you love. Not every brand is right for every place,” says Michael Solomon, who operates three Capriotti’s Sandwich Shops in Las Vegas with two more on the way, along with two Great American Cookies in Kentucky and another in Tennessee. The entrepreneur even launched his own brand, Wingtime, late last year. Michael Solomon 46 MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE I SS UE II , 2 01 7 Dallas-based multi-brand franchisee Eric Werner agrees that making the right choice of both brand and market is more important than ever, particularly in the restaurant business. “The QSR landscape today is significantly different than 10 or 15 years ago. There are a ton more franchises out there and it is more com- petitive,” says Werner, who owns seven different brands, including 48 Subway restaurants in Texas. He says an exten- sive market and competitive analysis is a critical element of a franchise buyer’s due diligence. The ability of today’s prospective inves- tors to find and evaluate data on franchise systems has been a game changer. Would- be franchisees can investigate brands in print and online to explore different in- dustries, gain valuable insights into the franchise world, and create a short list of brands to pursue. And FDDs provide invaluable information about litigation, franchisee obligations, turnover rate, fi- nancial performance, and more. Just ask Solomon, who purchased his first franchise in 1994. “The difference in the amount of information you can get yourself and from the franchisor from 1994 to 2017 is like a joke,” he says. “There is the ability for you to get anything you ever wanted to know about a franchise. But the important thing is you have to know what you are looking for. You can get lost in all the information.” Start with yourself Uncovering the right answers to the right questions begins with a little self- evaluation. What kind of franchise do you want to operate? Do you have the infra- structure in place to add new brands, or must you add overhead? What skill sets do you bring to the table? How much income do you need? How will that new brand fit in with or affect your current operation? Can you afford it today, or is it better to wait another year? Whatever the question, in addition to the financial aspects of adding a new brand, before in- vesting first establish your personal and quality-of-life goals. “It is very important to know how you want to be,” says Wine & Design multi- unit franchisee Amanda Owens. “If you want to buy into a franchise where you can be an invisible owner, that’s great. If you want to buy into something that you need to be involved in day-to-day, you need to be prepared to make those sacrifices.” With two small children, Owens was looking to step away from the grind and