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Experiencing Growth as a Franchisor
Brands experience growth in different ways in different parts of their life-cycle. 1851 explores 'new to growth', 'middle growth' and 'legacy growth' strategies...

Your franchise off the ground and is running smoothly, now what? Many companies will start to plateau in sales and find difficulty growing or might be experiencing growth but are unsure how handle the growth. To help you understand how to foster this growth and use it for profitability, three companies in different stages of growth are highlighted.   

New to Growth – Mosquito Joe

Mosquito Joe has grown significantly over the past five years. CEO Kevin Wilson contributes most of the successful growth to the plan they set back when first buying the company.

“We bought the company in 2012 and spent the next six months just putting together a five-year franchising plan to take to investors,” said Wilson.

While some states have a more serious mosquito problem that others, the demand for the service of mosquito prevention was a something Wilson knew would be of interest in every state. With a solid service and attainable growth plan the only thing holding a company back from achieving the goal is the employees.    

“At a minimum, we needed five employees: myself as the CEO, a finance director, marketing director, development officer and operations manager. After that we filled in more people as we needed,” stated Wilson.

Wilson admits that in the beginning they under hired, but learned that once you know your growth potential and probability it is smart to hire in advance. Hiring the right people is always key to ensure success, especially with a new company.

“When I first interview potential employees, I screen for competency; that they can do the job that they will be hired for,” Wilson mentioned. “But what gets people hired is if they fit the culture of the company.”

With a new company, you need people who are really invested in the company, what it stands for and where it is going. With a solid plan in action and the right people to put it to work, a company can go from a small business to larger franchising just like Mosquito Joe.

Mosquito Joe is close to hitting their five-year plan of having 300 territories, they currently have about 290 territories.  

Middle Growth – Toppers Pizza

Wisconsin-based Pizza restaurant, Toppers Pizza, opened their first location in 1993 and in 1997 made the decision to become a franchise. Over the past 26 years, Toppers has consistently experienced growth even during the 2009 Recession.  Mark Cairns, Toppers Pizza Chief Development Officer, joined the team in 2012 and has been a part of their booming growth for the past five years.

“Our growth is a combination of having great customer appreciation and great franchisees,” said Cairns. “Having a lot of years working with franchisees, and once being a franchisee myself, I know how to relate and work with potential and existing franchisees to help push and assist them to grow with the company.”

While many franchisors are okay with signing on single store franchisees, Toppers Pizza looks for the needle in the haystack that have a goal to be a multi-unit franchisees.

“Potential franchisees usually come to us only looking to open one store but we really work hard to find the right people who have the potential to be the multi-unit franchisees,” noted Cairns. “Going in with a mindset that you will become a multi-unit franchisee will be a much different plan than the mindset of opening one and seeing how it goes.”

Finding the right franchisees has helped Toppers Pizza constantly experience growth. Toppers now has a proven development plan set in stone that is used to ensure profitability.

“Unlike many other companies our size who add on employees after they expand, we decide to be proactive and bring on the support to assist in growing and ensure everything runs smoothly,” said Cairns.

Toppers Pizza would not be anywhere without their driven corporate teams and franchisees. Passion is key for their growth.

“We are all in a business that we enjoy and are driven to succeed. It is important to be aggressive and consistent to grow, know where you want to be when you start and make sure to follow through on your goals,” Cairns said.

Toppers Pizza currently has 100 locations across the county and are actively looking for the right individuals who share their passion to move their company forward.

Legacy Growth – Dairy Queen

It is no surprise that Daily Queen has experienced an exceptional amount of growth since their founding in 1940. Mike Mettler, the Chief Development Officer for Dairy Queen, believes the differentiation of products, people, brand value and ownership has made the company so successful and still able to grow.

“Our products are a fan favorite, we have many multi-generational franchisees that have grown up with the company and our brand is really family friendly we are focused in on our relationship with our customers,” said Mettler.

Fifteen years ago, Dairy Queen rolled out the DQ Grill & Chill concept, which Mettler believed provided the foundation for the recent growth.

“DQ Grill & Chill was put in place to establish consistency throughout our locations,” explained Mettler. “Some locations served food and some did not. The ones that did were not serving the same food so we wanted to put something in place to provide consistency.”

It is important with a company as large as Dairy Queen to notice where you are most profitable and capitalize on those ideas or locations. When rolling out DQ Grill & Chill the company created a strong treat menu and paired it with the desired food of their clients to offer the best options. Dairy Queen also invests in research and analytics to find the best locations to expand.

“In our franchise agreement, we don’t have protected areas for our franchisees. However, when a prospective franchisee proposes a location we always consult with our development team and go through a site clearance process that looks at an encroachment study if there are other location in the area,” mentioned Mettler.

Although the company has been around for 70 years they are still finding locations to grow. Last year, they opened in 29 states.   

“Hard work and execution in every aspect of our company is the key to how we stay competitive and continue to grow,” said Mettler. “Our franchisees rely on the support from our corporate team to have success.  From site selection, to design, to construction and training it’s important that we work hard to help them so that they work hard to continue profits and growth.”

Leaning how to grow and how to foster profitability from growth as a franchisor is a key to long-term success. Every stage can be different but it is important to have a plan, find the right franchisees and provide support throughout the whole process.

 

  

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