It’s Harvest Time – Tips On Selling Your Franchised Business

You have used the franchise system, brand, and people to build your business. Don’t be afraid to use them to exit.
They have a critical interest in a successful transition. Use them to help you close the deal.

In today’s post, Tom Spadea, Founder and Partner in Spadea-Lignana Franchise Law shares his thoughts on the best way to sell your existing franchise business. As you might imagine there are steps that you need to be aware of while moving through this process. Working with your franchisor is just one way to expedite and ensure a smooth transition. Selling your business is a big decision. If you’ve worked with the end in mind then it should be a payoff, not an act of desperation. The payoff after years of smart work should be reflected in the multiple paid on EBITDA from an eager buyer who sees value. One thing I’ll remind you; Buyers want “potential” but they don’t often actually pay for it. Smart buyers will pay based on a specific set of guidelines to determine “valuation” or “enterprise value” which directly equate to selling price and price paid. This article explores best practices and tips when selling your franchise.

Franchise Attorney

Where Do I Start if I Want to Sell My Franchise or Buy an Existing Franchise?
By Tom Spadea – Spadea Lignana Franchise Law

If you have made the decision that now is the time to exit a franchise, you need to accomplish three critical things before placing your business on the market. If you are interested in buying an existing franchise, it’s also important to understand these three factors because it can affect how you move forward.

1. Discuss Future Plans
First, you should discuss with your franchisor what your plans are. All franchise relationships eventually come to an end. You are probably not the first and won’t be the last franchisee to exit the system. You have used the franchise system, brand, and people to build your business. Don’t be afraid to use them to exit. They have a critical interest in a successful transition. Use them to help you close the deal. If you have a specific reason why you think telling the franchisor will compromise your exit, then you should discuss that with your franchise attorney. If you don’t have an attorney that you are comfortable working with, please give us a call for a free initial consultation at 215-544-2452.

2. Gather Documentation
Second, you need to gather documentation and clean up any inconsistencies, errors or omissions in your paperwork. The list is extensive and you can never have too much documentation. Buyers will take lack of documentation or documentation they have to fight to get as a sign of trouble and it will break down the trust between you. Not only will it potentially affect your value, it will cause unnecessary delays.

In a small business transaction, the trust between the buyer and seller is critical. Without trust, the deal will not happen. The way you can build trust is by having all the documents readily available for any buyer who is serious about making an offer. You need to tell a story to the buyer, and that story has to be validated by documentation.

Read the entire article here: https://www.spadealaw.com/franchise-law/buying-or-selling-an-existing-franchise

===================================================
About Tom Spadea
Tom Spadea spent more than 15 years in corporate and entrepreneurial positions before completing law school at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. His undergraduate degree is in finance from Marquette University, where he graduated Cum Laude. Tom is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), a non-legal designation earned from the International Franchise Association. He has also been named a “Legal Eagle” by Franchise Times, a distinguished award recognizing Tom as a leader among his peers in franchising.

Tom is the founding member of the Philadelphia Franchise Association and is the current President and Chairman. The Philadelphia Franchise Association holds quarterly networking and educational meetings, bringing together franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers.
Read more about Tom here: https://www.spadealaw.com/attorney-profiles/tom-spadea
===================================================
If you’re considering selling your business or buying a business contact Franchise Growth Solutions.
We can help you sell you business quickly and at the highest possible price.
Contact: [email protected] and visit: www.franchisegrowthsolutions.com. We can help!

A Roger Lipton Update – Chicken Salad Chix

A Roger Lipton Update – Roger is an investment professional with decades of experience specializing in chain restaurants and retailers, as well as macro-economic monetary developments. He turns his background, as restaurant operator and board member of growing brands, into strategic counsel for operators and perspective for investors.

By Roger Lipton -with Permission
An archive of his past articles can be found at RogerLipton.com.

Chicken Salad Chick, based in Auburn, Alabama, was formed in 2008, by Stacy Brown. Stacy was a stay-at-home mom and self-proclaimed connoisseur of chicken salad who began the business by selling chicken salad made from her home kitchen. She was eventually shuttered by the local health department for selling food from an un-approved facility. She then joined her future husband, Kevin, who left a career in software sales, to help build the foundation for multiple corporate locations and future franchise growth.

In terms of equity ownership, in early 2015, Eagle Merchant Partners (“EMP”), an Atlanta, GA based private equity firm, purchased the majority ownership of the company. Kevin Brown, tragically, succumbed to colon cancer in 2015 at the age of 40. Before his death however, Kevin was instrumental in negotiation of the PE transaction, and he also helped establish the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation, which raises funds for cancer research and feeding the hungry.

In conjunction with that transaction, Russ Umphenour and Scott Deviney become chairman and President/CEO, respectively. Both are highly respected industry veterans. Mr. Umphenour was the CEO of Focus Brands (parent of Moe’s, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, and others), and before that ran RTM Restaurant Group, the Arby’s franchisee that he founded.

Mr. Deviney was CEO of SDZ (a multi-unit Wendy’s franchisee) and SVP with SunTrust Bank, specializing in the restaurant industry. Over the last several years, the management team has obviously been broadened further to support the ongoing rapid growth. Stacy Brown, the cultural creator of Chicken Salad Chick remains a prominent spokesperson and brand voice, as well as a shareholder.

Originally a drive-thru and takeout only operation, the menu was expanded and sit-down facilities were added as additional stores opened. With franchise operations beginning in 2012, 29 units were open by the end of 2014, with contracts for an additional 114 locations.

The comfortable family oriented decor is combined with a creative and modestly priced menu, featuring over a dozen varieties of made from scratch chicken salad plus pimento cheese and egg salad, as well as fresh sides, salads, soups and sandwiches.

The primary meal special called The Chick includes a scoop of sandwich of chicken salad with a choice of a fresh side, salad, soup or another scoop of chicken salad, egg salad or pimento cheese. All meals are accompanied by a pickle spear, wheat crackers, a selection of breads for sandwiches and a small cookie. The menu also offers chicken salad BLT and turkey club sandwiches, though over 85% of sales come from chicken salad, which is also sold in large and small grab’n go containers called Quick Chick. Upwards of 70 percent of guests are women and the chain prides itself on being “chick friendly.”

Chicken Salad Chick ended calendar 2018 with 104 locations operating—74 franchised and 30 company operated. There were 21 franchised locations and five company stores opened in 2018. When EMP purchased the business in May 201, there were 32 stores in the system, so growth has been dramatic over the last four years.

The 104 locations are now located within twelve states—ALA, GA, FLA, NC, SC, TN, MS, LA, TX, KY, AK, OK. It is expected that 45 locations will have opened in 2019, 13 of them being company operated. It has so far not been necessary to advertise for franchisees, as the curb appeal of the physical unit combined with the menu and employee culture, as well as attractive unit level economics have generated more than adequate franchise interest.

According to the most recen Franchise Disclosure Document: The stores are about 2750 square feet in size, generally located in strip malls, costing an average of about $450,000 in total to establish, including up front franchise fees.

Much of the franchise appeal is the operational simplicity, which in turn generates attractive unit level economics. The equipment package is basic, with a steamer to cook the chicken (everything is prepared daily in the restaurant), food processors, refrigerated sandwich tables, a walk-in cooler, reach-in freezer, water filtration system, toaster and Quick Chick refrigerated case.

The absence of fryers (which must be vented) reduces construction costs, creates site flexibility as well as relative desirability as a tenant. The entire package of furniture and fixtures cost around $120,000. The up front franchise fee is $50,000 per unit, the ongoing royalty is 5% of sales with an additional national advertising contribution of 1.5%.

Last twelve months’ AUV was $1.2M in 2018, growing by about 9% in 2016, 13% in 2017 and 11.2% in 2018. Same store sales were up 15% in 2016, 8% in 2017 and 4% in 2018. Traffic has also been up consistently, most recently up 2.9% in 2018. The sales improvement is especially impressive within a restaurant industry that has been challenged in this regard.

Cost of Goods Sold has averaged about 30.5% with fully loaded labor at roughly 25.0%. Stores are open from 10am to 6-8pm (depending on the market) and closed on Sundays, taking a page out of Chick fil-A’s playbook, and allowing operating management to “have a day for family life.”

It is noteworthy that only about 45% of sales are dine-in, the balance being takeout (25%) and catering. Dine-in and takeout sales combine to provide a ticket average of $14.82. Also important: Drive through locations generate 27% more sales than without. 31% of the current system has drive through windows, and 40% of the planned locations will have them.

While the company makes no unit level profitability claims, our analysis indicates that franchises are likely earning at least 15% EBITDA (after royalties) at the store level. With sales now running at about $1.2M per unit, that would generate a “cash on cash” return of $180,000, or 40% on the $450,000 investment including franchisee fee, among the best returns in the franchised food industry. We emphasize: this is our analysis, not their claim.

Chicken Salad Chick continues its smart and rapid growth with no obvious impediments. While still relatively small, with only 104 units system-wide, franchisees are “voting with their pocketbooks,” and opening stores at a rapid rate. The concept seems “defensible” in terms of product line differentiation, combined with an employee “culture” reflecting the “chick” founder, but an operational simplicity that allows for fairly rapid growth. We look forward to following this company’s future development.