Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue II, 2017 - Page 50

ADDING NEW BRANDS Eric Werner demands of corporate life. She launched her franchise search with a mission to bring a brand with entertainment value to her hometown of Clayton, N.C., a small town undergoing a downtown revitalization and planned development not far away. Owens opted for Wine & Design, based in nearby Raleigh, and opened her first franchise in 2013. “The Internet was my main go-to tool,” she says. “From a personal perspec- tive, I reached out through social media to gauge interest in our market and the experiences of those who had attended an event of a paint-and-sip franchise. I was able to research other models’ FDDs and compare.” And of course before signing, she had her business attorney review the brand’s FDD. Owens, who now operates three Wine & Design territories in North Carolina, was drawn to the concept, the initial train- ing, and the franchisor’s focus on contin- ued support. The network operated more “like a family of franchisees and expressed a hunger to evolve and keep innovating,” she says. “Day-to-day expectations to create a cohesive experience across all units was equally important. I also knew that Wine & Design was a fairly young model, and that there would be potential for growth outside of our initial studio.” 48 MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE I SS UE II , 2 01 7 How bad do you want it? When Todd Fetter began looking to buy into his first franchise brand, the Ohio en- trepreneur and father of five was certain of two things: “We loved sports and we loved wings,” says Fetter, who now owns seven Buffalo Wings & Rings, with three more slated to open this year. No stranger to weighing the risks and rewards of an investment, Fetter’s ventures include mortgaging everything, even a lawnmower and his wife’s van, to buy his first company. While money re- mains the bottom line in any deal, Fetter’s initial move into franchising was out of his comfort zone. “I’m not that guy to find something you love to do and make money,” says Fetter, who signed with Buffalo Wings & Rings in 2009 and spent the next four years looking for the perfect site. “I’m the guy who buys something to make money and then love it. This was me stepping out of my norm.” Fetter narrowed his list after discov- ering Buffalo Rings & Wings during an online search. He found territories avail- able in his own backyard, and a franchisor with a home base just two hours away in Cincinnati. Along with financials, Fetter checked out the competition and what customers were saying about the brand on Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. And, before even attending a discovery day, Fetter and his wife spent plenty of time eating the food. “You’ve got to do your reconnaissance,” he says. Amanda Owens Evaluating the brand Werner recommends would-be franchise investors look for innovative brands with consistent results. Along with his 48 Sub- ways, his portfolio includes Wingstop, Little Caesars Pizza, The Catch, LA Sunset Tan, and Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center (his most successful franchise investment to date). When Werner evaluates a new brand, he considers current trends and whether the concept is growing within its sector. Then there’s the question of established versus emerging brands. “There are two ways to look at it: the high risk of getting in at the very begin- ning on a newer concept, or the low risk of proven concepts,” says Werner. “There are pros and cons to both.” Newer con- cepts, he says, provide opportunities to dictate better franchise agreement terms for future growth and territories if the brand takes off. Established brands may mean growth is more limited, but they offer a track record of proven success and name recognition when entering new markets. Once Werner locks in on a specific franchisor, he conducts a kind of SWOT analysis, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the potential investment, competitive threats, if a brand must do a lot of volume to make money, and the percentage and number of multi-unit franchisees in the system. “If that is high, it means they are so successful that people want more,” he says. When assessing a brand, due diligence