The Benefits of Partnering with an Emerging Brand!

They’ve studied their competition’s successes and failures and taken that knowledge into account while building their brand.

The Benefits of Partnering with an Emerging Brand!
By David Whalen in Franchise Brand

Growth as an emerging brand is often looked upon as an uphill battle in today’s crowded marketplace, but it can be a distinct advantage! Here are a few reasons why it might make sense to partner with one:

-Emerging brands strive to bring truly unique & fresh concepts to their customers
They’ve studied their competition’s successes and failures and taken that knowledge into account while building their brand. At HOTS, we’ve created a quick serve model that caters to the busy lifestyles of our downtown BinghamtonBinghamton clientele. The scene is a unique mix of college students and business people alike and HOTS caters to both without compromising our identity. Our menu focuses on the tried & trues of the “Burger & Dog” concept with some Upstate New York staples like the Spiedie and the Hot Plate. (Our take on the Rochester NY area Garbage Plate).

-Superior support and individualized attention
Smaller brands like HOTS have the unique ability to provide greater support and attention to our franchise owners than many of our large competitors can offer.
Here, you won’t be dealing with middlemen! Direct interaction and open lines of communication with our corporate office helps to forge meaningful working relationships with our franchisees at every stage of the their development. This support is critical to franchisees initial and ongoing success!
We also have more motivation to see our franchisees succeed than models that have already achieved vast growth. Your success is our success and we’re just as committed to it as you are!

-Getting in on the ground floor:
Getting involved with a brand in the early stages of development also offers franchisees several unique perks they won’t enjoy with more established brands. Here are a few;
Greater ability to influence and be involved with the evolution and growth of the brand: HOTS will be looking for franchisees to step up into leadership roles within the organization. We’ll also welcome feedback from franchisees in all areas of our business, from operations to marketing, menu design & more in hopes of instituting those innovative recommendations to improve our model!

Less rigid structure: Emerging brands offer restaurant owners much more flexibility in almost all areas of business ownership. From the structure of the franchise relationship, to menu and restaurant design, HOTS can give greater consideration to each franchisees unique circumstances. This includes greater financial freedom too. Many larger brands don’t offer their franchisees much discretion when it comes to how they operate their business and spend their money. At HOTS, we understand that owner/operators often know how to best allocate their capital and we take that into consideration when working with them to grow their business!

Bigger isn’t always better! For all of these reasons and more, consider partnering with an emerging brand like HOTS if you’re looking to enter the quick serve space!

Learn More Here:https://binghamtonhotsfranchise.com/

How Magic Cup Is Staying Resilent During Covid-19

http://[email protected]
For the foreseeable future, customers will be minimizing the number of times they are leaving home or exposing themselves to external factors.


HOW MAGIC CUP IS STAYING RESILIENT DURING COVID-19

During this time of crisis, Magic Cup is fortunate to be considered an essential business. But even as an essential business operating under local and government safety recommendations, we are continuing to adapt to the global pandemic while leaning on our previous efforts to thrive within the new normal.

COMMUNICATION WITH CUSTOMERS
Before introducing any new changes, we made sure to continually update the community we’ve built over the past five years: This includes a list of over 24,000 subscribers on our rewards program, whom we can directly text and over 18,000 followers across social media channels.

As soon as the restaurant dine-in ban was mandated, we were able to alert our communities that we would remain open for takeout and delivery. We have been continually updating them since. Updates include safety practices, new product introductions, and community work to make customers feel more connected to what we are doing to serve them at this time.

We have also begun reaching out to new audiences with local digital ads and are seeing an upward trend in new customer sign-ups to our rewards program week by week since the beginning of the dine-in ban.

2. GALLON AND HALF GALLON SIZES
For the foreseeable future, customers will be minimizing the number of times they are leaving home or exposing themselves to external factors. That’s why we introduced gallon and half-gallon sizes of milk teas and fusion teas. With our beverage gallons, an entire household can treat themselves to milk and fusion teas for half a week from just one visit.

We have seen tremendous success with the gallons, having sold 291 gallons in just one month.

READ THE ENTIRE STORY HERE http://[email protected]

If you would like to learn more about opportunities to open your own Magic Cup Cafe with the support of our Food and Beverage experts, click through the link below or email us at [email protected]

Learn More:
https://www.magiccupfranchise.com/#inquiry

Balloon King’s Goals for the Balance of 2020

We have worked with numerous high profile celebrities and companies such as Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest, Pretty Little Thing, Eos, and so much more.

Balloon King’s Goals for 2020
Balloon King’s has done a lot of thinking on this year’s goals for the Kingdom. 2019 was a big year for Balloon Kings and we want to ensure that 2020 exceeds our past year’s achievements.

In 2019, Balloon Kings broke last year’s sales by 15%, as an all time high for our one retail store in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We have worked with numerous high profile celebrities and companies such as Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest, Pretty Little Thing, Eos, and so much more. Balloon Kings has introduced new innovation into our world with state of the art balloon fixtures this past year. We now can make letters out of balloons using frames, as well as Christmas tress, unicorns, and much more. This past year Balloon Kings has made the most creative balloon structures from garlands, balloon cielings, and arches. We have trained and become family with many new team members, who have exceeded our expectations of hardwork and dedication to the Balloon King’s family and mission. Balloon Kings is so proud of the things we have achieved this year.

Balloon King’s has already started working towards our goals for 2020. Balloon King’s is working hard on more website development, directing costumers to the website for placing orders and making the website more detailed for better customer service. Balloon Kings has already posted more extravagent bouquets and arrangements to the website that include 12 balloons prearranged for less hustle for our busy customers.

To expand on website development, Balloon Kings wants to interact more with our customers in 2020 via social media, educating them on the overall benefits, especially the eco-friendly benefits balloons can bring to any event. Balloon Kings wants to do more promotion of our blog, expanding our readers.

Lastly, Balloon Kings this year in 2020 wants to expand the Kingdom officially. Balloon Kings has been working hard, attending franchise shows and marketing our business as a franchise. We believe that this year will be our lucky year, and bring Balloon Kings closer to all our customers and potential customers. In 2020, Balloon Kings will continue to market harder of our franchise opportunity more than ever to allow our customers to be able to enjoy balloon happiness whereever they are. Our franchise website is constantly being updated with new information for any of your questions and our staff is ambitious to aid anyone with further questions, regarding our franchise opportunity.

Balloon Kings will make 2020 our year of greater achievements, even better than the blessings that 2019 had brought us.

LEARN MORE HERE:https://www.balloonkingsfranchise.com/

ENCORE PRESS RELEASE: Gofer Ice Cream Launches Franchise Program


The successful “Gofer” brand has been serving the Fairfield County Connecticut area for over seventeen seasons, through its current five locations, and it has become a local favorite for many. The concept of Gofer Ice Cream, which was founded by Jay Ragusa and his family, is to be the “home team” of ice cream places.

After 16 years of Success, Family Owned, Gofer Ice Cream Launches Franchise Program

Connecticut based Gofer Ice Cream has launched a program to offer Gofer Ice Cream Franchises throughout Connecticut immediately. The company is set to expand beyond the State in 2020.

Jay Ragusa, Gofer Ice Cream’s Founder, said: “We’ve been preparing for this day since we launched the brand in 2003. It has always been the plan to prove and perfect the concept and then replicate it through the franchise model. We’ve learned a lot over the years, and we feel we’re in a great position to help others own, operate, and prosper in their own business. Prospective franchisee partners can be confident in the Gofer Ice Cream Brand and system that we offer. The fact is that many concepts have come and gone, but we are here thriving and growing.”

The successful “Gofer” brand has been serving the Fairfield County Connecticut area for over seventeen seasons, through its current five locations, and it has become a local favorite for many. The concept of Gofer Ice Cream, which was founded by Jay Ragusa and his family, is to be the “home team” of ice cream places. In every town or city, the goal is for Gofer Ice Cream to become the center of the community, where family and friends can enjoy a high-quality frozen treat in a welcoming environment. The shops are simple, easy, and fun to operate. Also, Gofer Ice Cream Shops are built for a relatively low cost. Franchise Partners are already scooping smiles daily, and the goal is to bring this experience to more and more communities. Gofer Ice Cream offers a variety of frozen treats for the entire family. From traditional hard and soft ice cream to fat-free treats, and more recently expanding into plant-based ice cream products with the same promise of high quality for which the brand is known. In 2019 a new company, “Gofer Franchise Systems LLC,” was formed to focus on expanding via franchising the concept beyond Fairfield County.

For the past several months, in preparation for the franchise opportunity launch, the team has been working with Franchise Industry Veteran Gary Occhiogrosso of Franchise Growth Solutions. “Gary brings his experience in not only the Franchise Industry but specifically in the frozen dessert business. He has the deep knowledge and connections specifically needed at this point in our growth. With the addition of Franchise Growth Solutions to the team, we are working with the best in the business to make sure we do franchising right. An investment made by a Franchisee is, in many cases, a once and a lifetime decision, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.” commented Jay Ragusa.

Mr. Occhiogrosso has 30+ years of experience in franchise development and sales and was integral to the success of nationally recognized brands, including Ranch*1, Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille, and brands found under the multi-brand franchisor, TRUFOODS, LLC.

Occhiogrosso stated: “It’s a compelling franchise opportunity, the frozen dessert business continues to grow. People love ice cream. But more than merely the best cream, Gofer creates memories by delivering a family and community experience. With frozen treats to meet virtually every customer trend, whether Plant-Based, or Fat-Free or Soft Serve or our Premium Ice Cream , Gofer Ice Cream gives our Franchise Partners a unique competitive advantage in the Ice Cream business.”

ABOUT GOFER ICE CREAM
Gofer Ice Cream provides premium hand-dipped and soft-serve ice cream, plant-based ice cream, fat-free Gofer Lite, Italian ice, smoothies, and Razzles, as well as ice cream products and novelties through five retail locations in Southern Fairfield County, Conn. Gofer opened its first store in Greenwich in 2003 and has since grown with both company and franchisee-owned shops also now open in Cos Cob, Stamford, Wilton, and Darien. The company is a multi-year award winner of “The Best of the Gold Coast,” a people’s choice award conducted through Moffly Media. Gofer Franchise Systems LLC awards franchises to operate under the Gofer Ice Cream brand.

LEARN MORE HERE: http://goferfranchise.com/

For more information, please contact Gary Occhiogrosso at 917.991.2465 or via email at [email protected]

Acai Express – Is an Acai Bowl Franchise ideal for you?

It would help if you had in mind that, when entering the franchise world, you will spend long hours and you have to put in hard work.

Is an Acai Bowl Franchise ideal for you?
By Veronica Lopez Siverio

Going into the franchise world can be tricky. That’s why you should ask yourself a series of questions before deciding if this system fits you.

We made a list to guide you:

1. Am I willing to work with other people’s established systems?
Franchises have become popular in the business world, according to multiple marketing firms. One of the perks of owning a franchise like Acai Express is that they already have a successful and proven system. If you are someone that wants to create your strategy or policy, franchising might not be right for you.

2. “Why am I doing this?”
It would be best if you chose a business that you are passionate about and that you can see yourself involved in a long time. Do you consume acai? Are you in agreement with the processing and components of the merchandise? If the answer is “yes,” then this is the right franchise for you.

It would help if you had in mind that, when entering the franchise world, you will spend long hours and you have to put in hard work. Therefore, if you are not passionate about the business you choose, you will feel overwhelmed.

3. Do you understand the financial and legal implications of purchasing a franchise?
Every country has different laws and regulations for franchises; consequently, you must educate yourself on them. Also, having a franchise lawyer explain to you every detail of both state and federal laws is adequate, ensuring that you informed yourself before making a purchase.

Every franchise cost varies; that’s why you should acquire a financial advisor.

4. Do you have enough money?
The initial investment to start a franchise can go from thousands to millions of dollars. Although franchises like Acai Express offer a reduced risk when investing, it’s essential to keep in mind that you might need to have the extra money in case anything happens.

Questions you should ask the acai bowl franchise owners:

1. Will the franchisor Acai Express help me find a location?
You should already have an idea of where you want to locate your franchise. One of the factors that probably made you want to enter the business is the thought of how well the store would do in a specific area. At Acai Express we can help you find the best area for your trailer or store.

2. How financially stable is the franchise?
You can ask the company to show you revenue results and examples of how your business could grow year-to-year. Additionally, this is the way for you to know if the company is willing to show you a financial proof of their success.

3. How did the Acai Express franchise start?
You must know the story of how this company came to be. Typically, this way, you can see how much compromise the owner has with the product and what made him franchise it.

4. What makes me a good fit for your franchise?
This question lets you know if the franchise did their homework on you to see if you would make a good fit on their system. It’s crucial that the company you choose its selective with whom they pick to be a part of their team. You can ask them why they selected you and question them for specific traits, not general.

5. How long does it take for the franchise to be up and running once we sign?
Usually, one of the perks of going to business with a franchise like Acai Express is that you will set quickly; usually, it takes between four months to a year to open the sore.

Although the way to success may be faster than other companies, building your clientele can take more than a year, so you have to be patient and work hard.

Acai Bowl Franchise:

If you have thought about going into a franchise, asking yourself these questions can help you decide and be prepared.

As we already stated, the franchise business, like Acai Express, can be a fast road to success If you are passionate about acai fruit, organic products, or fresh meals, Acai Express might be the right fit for you.

LEARN MORE HERE:https://acaiexpressfranchise.com/

Burger Village Menu Has Something For Everyone

We have a menu full of a wide variety of exotic, classic, and vast options that are sure to satisfy every person in your dining group cravings, and their different dietary needs.

BURGER VILLAGE MENU HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Are you tired of trying to figure out where to eat? Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling and browsing places online to find a place that meets some of your friend’s or families’ dietary needs? Maybe you’re just in the mood for something classics like a burger and some fries, but maybe with a new twist to it? Look no further than for your next dining venture, then Burger Village.

Burger Village has multiple locations, New York, California and soon to be Canada. A staple in New York, Burger Village has been proudly serving in their multiple locations for years. Our mission has been to always serve our guests with organic all-natural, antibiotic and hormone-free products in the form of a mouthwatering burger, and delicious hand-cut fries.

We have a menu full of a wide variety of exotic, classic, and vast options that are sure to satisfy every person in your dining group cravings, and their different dietary needs. Try one of our delicious veggie burgers, or if you’re looking to broaden your food horizons might we recommend our ostrich burger?

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE:
https://www.burgervillagefranchise.com/burger-village-menu-has-something-for-everyone/https://www.burgervillagefranchise.com/burger-village-menu-has-something-for-everyone/
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Burger Village continues to expand, and we keep looking for ways to spread the word about how people can reap the benefits from dining on organic food. Our goal is to do so through each of our customers and our delicious burgers of course. We are always looking to expand the Burger Village family, and if you are looking to be apart of our family we ask that you check out our franchising opportunities website.
LEARN MORE HERE: http://www.burgervillagefranchise.com

Investing in the COVID-19 Recession Era

Investing in the COVID-19 Recession Era
By Patrick Findaro, Co-Founder and Business Development Director of Vetted Biz

An analysis on the industries with the strongest likelihood of a rapid recovery from the recent lockdown-induced recession

Introduction

The recent COVID-19 induced lockdown led to a rise in a nationwide recession of which the country is only now beginning to recover from. Nevertheless, after researching and analyzing more than 2,900 businesses at Vetted Biz, we have found a select few industries that were able to remain stable despite social distancing restrictions. Additionally, there are also other industries expected to thrive once restrictions finish being lifted and the worst of the pandemic has passed.
The criteria used for this article when evaluating these industries addressed several factors. First, it looked at how successful each industry’s businesses were in adapting to these new restrictions. Then, it studied what opportunities these industries offered for its businesses to diversify during difficult times; and also speculated on what curve model best suited each industry’s recovery process once lockdown restrictions finish being lifted. Finally, in cases where this was possible, this study also cross-referenced industries’ performance predictions with the historical data on their SBA loans, which can be found here.

Main Findings: 3 Characteristics, One Outcome

The findings from this initial research concluded that COVID-resilient industries normally contain the following three characteristics: 1. Secure payments, which refers to having recurring revenue ensured by having either periodic contracts or offering services deemed “essential”; 2. Market leverage, which concerns having a strong brand and industry performance prior to lockdown restrictions being imposed so that businesses do not have to disburse additional costs in marketing during this time; and 3. An efficient budget, which encompasses factors such as high margins, strong liquidity and overall profitability. The article below will address in-depth, industries that are deemed either “COVID-resilient” or that will likely bounce back in the short-term once local restrictions finish being lifted. It will provide pertinent examples on how each industry is adapting accordingly, and will conclude by showing how the industries selected all have the three characteristics previously deemed necessary by this article.

COVID-Resilient Industries

Ghost Kitchen Restaurants

Ghost Kitchen restaurants – which are professional food preparation and cooking facilities set up for the preparation of delivery-only meals – have not only remained open during the recent lockdown, but also saw an increase in sales throughout this period. Amongst the numerous benefits that come with investing in a Ghost Kitchen concept, two specific ones particularly created optimal conditions for them to continue to thrive during the current situation: their efficient budget, and market leverage. Because Ghost Kitchens focus solely on servicing delivery and takeout orders, not only is the kitchen’s site required by the restaurant smaller, but also, the location of the kitchen is not as important seeing the business is not as dependent on foot traffic – both of which allow for lower costs associated with real estate.
Additionally, Ghost Kitchens can be run by as little as 2 to 3 employees, a fact that given the current situation not only further reduces costs associated with payroll, but also mitigates any contamination risks which remain a predominant concern during COVID-19. In terms of this sector’s market leverage, it is important to consider recent studies showing that 31% of consumers use delivery services at least once a week, and that 59% of millennial orders every week are either for takeout or delivery.
Beyond that, a recent study on SBA Loans found that between 1991 and 2019, 61% of food and beverage franchise loans were paid-in-full – a relatively high value when compared to other industries such as fitness centers or home services. The characteristics outlined above shows that Ghost Kitchen models are a sector of the restaurant industry that should only be expected to continue to strengthen as social distancing growingly becomes a greater part of the population’s reality.

Landscaping

The landscaping industry, which includes installing, cleaning and maintaining any territory’s green area, is another industry that has remained stable throughout the recent lockdown restrictions. Because the landscaping industry was not shut down during the recent lockdown, it was able to keep servicing its clients and generating revenue. The fact that state and municipal laws require businesses to maintain the landscaping orderliness of the territory they are operating in, means businesses offering landscaping services are treated as a priority by its commercial clients.
Additionally, as commercial businesses open, landscaping businesses are once again able to leverage their presence and ensure they can hold existing clients while adding on new ones as well. Another important factor to consider is that most services contracts within this industry are signed on a long-term basis, meaning recurring revenues is a strong characteristic of this industry. Finally, because the services provided by this industry are at the client’s specific location, the business can be operated from a small office space and is consequently able to optimize its budget by not having to allocate a great percentage of it towards real estate costs, which normally make up a large sum of a business’ expenses.

Property Management

The Property Management industry, which offers services that manage commercial and residential properties on a large scale on behalf of homeowners, is an additional industry that has proven to be COVID-resilient. Property management businesses manage owners’ commercial or residential real estate properties on their behalf through long-term contracts. These businesses deemed essential by homeowners and their long-term contracts allow for greater stability and makes it harder for clients to go back on their service contracting decisions. This allows for a strong inflow of recurring revenue.
Additionally, property management businesses can be run from a home office and by 1 or 2 employees only. SBA studies show SBA loans disbursed to businesses within the Real Estate industry also had a relatively high paid-in-full rate of 60.1% – thus further corroborating the industry’s strength despite recent circumstances.

Bookkeeping & Tax Preparation

Finally, the bookkeeping and tax preparation industry has thrived during this most recent recession. With most of the population rushing to have tax returns filed to receive government stimulus packages, this industry has recently seen an increased demand that has allowed for its businesses to leverage their market presence.
Secure payments have also been a feature of the industry due to monthly payments and renewals from businesses in need of bookkeeping services as they adapted to recent conditions and prepared to apply for stimulus packages as well. Finally, these businesses can also be run from a home office and with as little as 2 to 3 employees. Once again, bookkeeping and tax preparation businesses have shown that with an efficient budget, secure payments and strong market leverage, an industry is able to remain afloat even throughout a COVID-induced recession.

Cleaning & Maintenance

While cleaning and maintenance services might have been suspended or diminished as lockdown restrictions were put in place, this industry is likely to see the strongest and fastest recovery curve as these same restrictions begin being lifted. ¬With one of the most important conditions for reopening being ascertained cleanliness at all times, it is likely the cleaning and maintenance industry will experience the strongest market leverage, as their services are considered the utmost priority of any business looking to reopen.
Additionally, cleaning services do not require an extensive employee count or entirely sophisticated equipment. When cross referencing this industry’s performance prediction with its historical data on SBA Loans disbursed between 1991 and 2019, the cleaning and maintenance franchise industry had the highest SBA paid-in-full rate at 67.8%, once again reiterating the industry’s strength and likelihood of recovery once lockdown restrictions have been lifted.

Barber Shops & Beauty Salons

Although beauty salons and barber shops were not deemed an “essential service” during the recent lockdown and consequently had to shut down their services throughout most of the quarantine, they are likely to see a strong recovery curve as restrictions are lifted and people begin to resume their normal lives.
Grooming services especially for men, will likely peak as they return to work in need of a haircut. Additionally, women will likely seek beauty salons to address services in need such as waxing, haircut, and eyebrow design. By leveraging its market presence as people begin leaving their homes and resuming their regular self-care routines, the barber shop and beauty salon industry will likely see a strong recovery.

Children Programs

Children education and after school programs is another industry that will likely experience a strong bounce back once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Because most businesses have remained open and transitioned to online platforms, they have been able to maintain their market presence and secure a steady inflow of revenue as their help in keeping their children entertained or providing additional reinforcement to online schooling efforts became an unprecedented priority to parents also working from home.
Additionally, it is likely their market leverage will be even further elevated once families resume their daily life and parents begin to push their children towards reestablishing their regular routines. Finally, as children return to school in the Fall and parents see the education gaps left from online schooling during the spring semester, education programs in particular should experience an even greater growth rate.
Children education and after school programs have a strong leverage to secure a steady growth once restriction lockdowns are lifted, a fact that is corroborated by its relatively low SBA default loan rate, which was at only 4.2%.

Conclusion

As lockdown restrictions are lifted, a business’ ability to adapt and grow under current circumstances will likely become a strong factor in any investment process being pursued. By outlining some of the industries we have seen thrive during these difficult times, we hope to have clarified and mitigated any uncertainty that may have risen during your entrepreneurial pursuits amidst COVID-19. In sum, businesses and their respective industries that have been able to secure payments, optimize their budgets, and leverage their market presence should be considered the strongest candidates for investment as the country begins to recover from this COVID-induced recession.

Learn more here: https://www.vettedbiz.com/

An Interview With Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s CEO, Charles Watson

An Interview With Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s CEO, Charles Watson

By Gary Occhiogrosso
PHOTO COURTESY OF TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE

CEO Shares His Story & Insights On Taking The Reins.
Amid all the pandemic news and stories of how the foodservice business is coping with the crisis, I thought I’d attempt to redirect our attention today, even if only for a short while. As a 35 year veteran of the restaurant and franchise industry, I have always been fascinated by the challenges, risks, rewards, and day to day “work” a CEO faces when first taking the helm of an ongoing franchise organization. Today’s post focus’ on that topic in an interview with Charles Watson, the CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café.

Mr. Watson was appointed the CEO position of Tropical Smoothie Cafe in December 2018. Since that time, he has led the company on its quest towards $1billion in sales by 2023. He’s no stranger to franchise development, nor is Charles Watson an outsider, having served four years as the company’s Chief Development Officer in addition to his prior role as VP of Franchise Development. He is directly responsible for selling more than 800 franchises.

As their franchise website states: “Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s menu boasts bold, flavorful smoothies with a healthy appeal, all made-to-order with quality ingredients. We find that real fruits, veggies, and juices just taste better.” The offerings have evolved over the years to include a menu of breakfast and lunch items beyond smoothies. From wraps to flatbreads to salads, Mr. Watson continues to solidly position Tropical Smoothie Cafe as a leader in the fast-casual, healthier lifestyle food category.

Gary Occhiogrosso: Tell us a little about your background before joining Tropical Smoothie?

Charles Watson: “Prior to joining Tropical Smoothie Cafe, I worked for several hotel and hospitality-centric companies, including Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotels Group, US Franchise Systems, Inc. and Hospitality Real Estate Counselors. I joined Tropical Smoothie Cafe in 2010 as the Vice President of Franchise Development and, in 2016, became the Chief Development Officer, where I was responsible for all aspects of the development of the brand. In July 2018, I was named interim CEO, and then permanent in December 2018.”

Occhiogrosso: Please give our readers the “Elevator Pitch” for Tropical Smoothie Cafe?

Watson: “Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a national fast-casual cafe concept inspiring healthier lifestyles with more than 850 locations in 44 states. Beyond just smoothies, we serve better-for-you wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads, and pride ourselves on living at the “intersection of taste, convenience, and hospitality.” In a highly competitive segment, we’re one of the fastest-growing quick-casual brands, opening 124 new locations in 2019 alone and singing 213 development agreements to open hundreds of businesses over the next few years.”

Occhiogrosso: What was the condition of the company before you were named CEO?

Watson: “We were in a good place! In 2018, when I was named CEO, we had more than 720 locations open nationwide. By year-end 2018 we opened 110 cafes and signed 191 new franchise agreements. Building off this momentum, in 2019, we celebrated the openings of our 750th and 800th locations, but taking over during such a monumental time for our brand certainly brought opportunities to improve. Each year, franchisees complete the Franchise Business Review to essentially grade us here at the Support Center on how we’re serving them. We gathered that feedback and used it to set goals and action plans for the company. Areas we wanted to attack immediately with our rapid growth were direct franchisee support as well as technology support and menu innovation. We set company-wide strategic imperatives around these issues immediately.”

Occhiogrosso: What were the one or two unique challenges that you faced upon taking over as CEO?

Watson: “As a first time CEO, learning to view the business from a thinking vs. a doing mentality was a challenge I faced. The success of our brand is about the talent and drive of our talented executives and Support Center team. It was not possible for me to get involved in every project – so I had to learn to let go and delegate. I would say that understanding the viewpoints and drivers of the different stakeholders I was serving was important. A presentation for a board is focused on very different things than a franchisee roadshow. Really trying to understand how to see the world through a different stakeholders’ eyes is something I still work on.”

Occhiogrosso: What was your plan for the first 90 days?

Watson: “I wanted to further instill a franchisee-first mentality. When our franchisees are successful, the brand is successful. When I became CEO, I launched a formal franchisee advisory council, known in our organization as the Tropical Franchisee Council (TFC). While we had always involved franchisees, I felt it needed to be formalized and more visible to our franchise system. In short, franchisees needed to know that there was a formal mechanism of their peers that was constantly feeding back to us at the Support Center. From there, we set up committees, reporting into our TFC, around the major parts of our business, and included more franchisees to provide feedback and work with us on further improving IT, Marketing, Design, and Construction, etc. It was important to me that we have franchisees themselves share their feedback and align on system initiatives and goals. In a franchise system, without broad franchisee buy-in, you cannot move as efficiently and effectively as is required in today’s business environment.”

Occhiogrosso: How is taking the reins of an existing company different than being part of a startup or a founder?

Watson: “I think when taking over any brand where you worked alongside your predecessor, there’s a certain level of pressure to continue carrying the torch, but also to make necessary changes to the brand to evolve with the changing economy and consumer trends. I was lucky enough to work with the founders of the business (and still do as they are board members) as well as work under our first CEO, who did an amazing job. Because 99% of Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s system is franchisee-owned and operated, it was my goal to maintain consistency for them and move the company forward in the right direction, with a lot of reverence and respect for the past. In my case, because I already had nearly a decade with Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the franchise development side, I had the unique advantage of personal relationships with our franchise community. We had a high level of mutual trust and respect for each other that existed before I assumed the role of CEO. I may have been, in fact, the person responsible for awarding them a franchise! My experience with the brand up to that point was beneficial because I was already very immersed in the operations and processes that had contributed to its success at that time. That created a kind of blueprint that served as the foundation for me to take the reins and lead the company the way I felt was best. Yes, I am putting my mark on the brand and culture, but I have been around long enough not to stray too far from the DNA of the brand.”

Occhiogrosso: What challenges, if any, did you face in getting “buy-in” from the existing franchise community once you became CEO? Were any of the franchisees reluctant to follow the system or embrace a new direction?

Watson: “Like I said, I was very fortunate to have had already developed relationships with our franchise community prior to becoming CEO. My predecessor did a great job, so most of the hesitancy candidly was, “will this guy be as good, will we have the same amount of success?” Luckily in my first two years as CEO, we continued to expand the footprint of the brand, and increase brand awareness, drive profitability for our franchisees and drive our comp sales…. So that was helpful! The impact of the more formalized committees we have set up, and the close connection I have with TFC has gotten the system more comfortable with my style and thinking, and I believe, since trust is earned, I still have a long way to go, but am off to a good start. Without our franchisees, committees, and council, I simply could not do this job. Those franchisees are serving our guests on the front lines – I can’t run this business without their candid feedback.”

Occhiogrosso: How do you feel about franchise advisory councils? And was one in place already?

Watson: “I’m a huge advocate for franchise advisory councils, specifically when nearly 60% of all franchise agreements at Tropical Smoothie Cafe come from existing franchisees. The Tropical Franchisee Council (TFC) was established in 2018 and has been invaluable for our growth. “Relationships Rule” is one of our core values, and because of that, people are at the heart of our company. Our relationships are founded on trust and respect for the unique talents of our teams, franchisees, and vendors alike. We strive to continue to harness these relationships in this way and feel that this approach will continue to fuel our success. The TFC works hand-in-hand with Tropical Smoothie on all facets of the business from operations, IT, marketing, construction, and beyond, and their genuine feedback continues to establish the open communication we strive for, helping us to enhance our business model on an ongoing basis. This process only helps our individual franchisees and their bottom line, respectively.”

Occhiogrosso: What is the mission and goal of the company over the next few years?

Watson: “At Tropical Smoothie Cafe, it’s our mission to inspire a healthier lifestyle by serving amazing food and smoothies, with a bit of tropical fun. We want to be an escape for our consumers in this hectic world we live, and an incredible business model for our franchise partners It’s an exciting time to be a fast-casual concept within this segment, specifically as the market size of the juice and smoothie bars industry is expected to increase by 2.3% in 2020, reaching nearly $3 billion in revenue across the globe. We consider ourselves to be an approachable, healthier option for the average American, and our customer loyalty system-wide continues to climb. Our company sells about 200 franchises, opens over 120 cafes a year, and has more than 500 locations in the pipeline. As a brand, we strive for excellence in service and creating a culture of hospitality for our business no matter which location you visit, and this year we’re prioritizing them even further by enhancing pillars of our hospitality-centric culture and the technology we use to create convenience for our guests in order to reinforce our position as the leader in our segment. Over the next five years, our goals are to reach 1,500 cafes open across the U.S., with over 18% profitability for our franchisees on average volumes in excess of $1M, all with very high operational satisfaction for our guests. Our annual tactics are focused around delivering those results.”


Although I did not want to focus on COVID-19 in this interview, it is difficult to ignore its impact on the restaurant community as well as franchisees in general. So I was compelled to ask Mr. Watson his thoughts on the pandemic and the company’s response.

Occhiogrosso: During the current COVID-19 crisis, what steps have you taken to ensure that Tropical Smoothie Cafe supports the local community?

Watson: “When COVID-19 struck the restaurant landscape in mid-March, we closed all dining rooms and shifted our focus to drive-thru, curbside pickup, and delivery where available. Then we determined two focus areas, giving back to the community and prioritizing support for our franchisees. Some of our franchisees had the idea to donate smoothies to first responders and hospital workers in Atlanta. We loved the idea so much we launched a nationwide campaign to donate 100,000 smoothies across the country and the response has been incredible. Within the first day, several local franchisees jumped on board and donated more than 600 smoothies each, and the donations just kept growing from there. On April 16 we met our goal of 100,000 smoothies, but our franchisees haven’t stopped there, and the new challenge is to donate a total of one million smoothies by the end of May. Knowing that those essential workers are not only in the healthcare fields, we’ve also extended our giving to grocery store, warehouse and post office employees. We’re proud to report that as of today, we’ve donated more than 200,000 smoothies to these hometown heroes, and we’re not done yet! In support of National Nurses Appreciation Month in May, we have also pledged to donate $100,000 to the American Nurses Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund upon reaching our goal of giving away 1,000,000 smoothies.”Our franchisees are the heart of our brand, so we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could to help them stay afloat through the crisis. We decreased royalties and deployed hyper-local marketing strategies to drive business within a 1–to 2-mile radius of cafes. While our projected 2020 growth might take a step back due to the coronavirus, I believe our approach to navigating through this will help us emerge quickly once it passes.”

Occhiogrosso: What are some of the additional support initiatives you put in place for your franchise community during the pandemic?

Watson: “Our franchisees are the heart of our brand, so we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could to help them stay afloat through the crisis. We’ve implemented various franchisee support initiatives, including decreased royalties by 50%, ongoing support with PPP loans and real estate deferrals and abatements, rolling out curbside delivery systemwide, deployed hyper-local marketing strategies to drive business within a 1–2-mile radius of cafes, among many others. While our projected 2020 growth might take a step back due to the coronavirus, I believe our approach to navigating through this will help us emerge quickly once it passes.

Occhiogrosso: How do you see the company moving forward?

Watson: “As you know, the restaurant industry has taken a huge hit. Although COVID-19 has directly impacted our business, some days being down more than 50 percent, we consider ourselves lucky to have a business model that allowed us to easily transition to grab-and-go, curbside, and delivery only. I think the biggest shift will take place for those restaurants that can’t be open right now. The guests who support local businesses in and around their communities are the ones we give the credit to because their loyalty to our cafes is what has ultimately maintained our ability to serve. Because of our amazing guests, our franchisees, and the communities they serve, including those on the front lines of this pandemic, we will get through this. As reopening guidelines are being determined, we plan to move forward with an abundance of caution.”

In conclusion, I believe the growth of Tropical Smoothie Cafe over the last two years demonstrates Mr. Watson’s steady leadership and a clear understanding of building on the momentum that has made the brand a leader in its category. In my experience, making franchisee success and profitability the priority is the key to the longevity of any franchised brand. The fact that nearly 60% of all new Tropical Smoothie Cafe units are opened by existing franchisees underscores the franchise owner’s satisfaction with the concept, the company, and it’s leadership. It’s almost all you need to know about the results of Mr. Watson’s work and commitment to the franchisees. Successfully taking the reins on an existing franchise company can be a daunting task, but in the case of Charles Watson, he continues, as their franchise website claims, to create waves for a brand that started on the beach.

About Charles Watson:

Charles Watson was named CEO in December 2018. In this role, he is responsible for the brand’s strategic vision and overall franchise performance. He was previously Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s Chief Development Officer since 2016, after serving as VP of Franchise Development since 2010. In these roles, Charles was responsible for all development of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe brand. A veteran hospitality professional, Charles has worked for several hospitality-related companies, including Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotels Group, US Franchise Systems, Inc., and Hospitality Real Estate Counselors. Charles is a graduate of The Hotel School at Cornell University and also holds a Masters of Business Administration from The Terry School of Business at The University of Georgia.

* * MasterMind Minutes * *

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

MasterMind Minutes is the Webcast that shares expert business information in Minutes Not Hours. Each edition runs approximately 10 to 15 minutes and features an expert guest covering one question. The entire series is posted and updated several times a week on this page so you can binge watch back-to-back “episodes”. Three to five new editions are added each week so keep coming back to view the experts on an insightful topic that is sure to help you build, grow and run your business.

www.franchisegrowthsolutions.com

IN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE & LENDING ENVIRONMENT, WHAT ARE BANKS LOOKING AT WHEN CONSIDERING A BUSINESS LOAN.
Today’s guest is Reg Byrd.
Reg is the Managing Partner DCV Franchise Group
For over 25 years Mr. Byrd has been a business venture strategist assisting entrepreneurs with a focus on financing, business plan development, financial projections and blueprints for aggressive return on investments. The scope of his work ranges from sole proprietorship businesses to capital intensive Fortune 500 hotel development projects. To date, DCV Franchise Group has served more than 300 franchise systems placing debt for franchisees in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Panama and Canada.
Contact Reg at https://lnkd.in/eDhmeqs
Contact Gary at: [email protected]
Learn more at: https://www,https://lnkd.in/d89cb29

HOW TO EVALUATE A STARTUP OR EMERGING BRAND FRANCHISE WITH ONE OR NO FRANCHISEES?
Our Guest Today is: Ed Teixeira.
Ed has over 40 years of experience in the franchise industry and is the VP Franchise Development for FranchiseGrade.com a leading franchise market research firm. Ed is the author of Franchising from the Inside Out and The Franchise Buyers Manual and has spoken before the International Franchise Expo, Chinese Franchise Association in Shanghai, China and has lectured at the Stony Brook University Business School on Franchising.
Contact Ed at: https://www.franchisegrade.com/. 1-800-975-6101
Contact Gary at: [email protected]
Learn More About Franchising: https://www.franchisegrowthsolutions.com

WHAT SHOULD EMPLOYERS THINK ABOUT WITH RESPECT TO LIABILITY CONCERNING EMPLOYEES GETTING CORONAVIRUS AT THE WORKPLACE?
today’s guests are:
Joel Greenwald is the Founder and Managing Partner of Greenwald Doherty LLP, a national management-side employment law firm. Focusing on labor relations and employment law. AND Michael Einbinder is a founding Partner of Einbinder & Dunn. He is a participating member of the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising.
Contact Michael at: [email protected] – Contact Joel at:[email protected]

HOW A COMPANY CAN SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY, ITS EMPLOYEES AND ITS FRANCHISEES IN TIME OF CRISIS – Today’s guest is Hector Westerband. Hector is the Founder and CEO of ACAI EXPRESS. He has over 20 years in the hospitality industry. He was introduced to the amazing Acai Stone Fruit. It was there where he started his own Acai Food Truck Called Acai Express in 2013.development.
Acai Express: https://lnkd.in/eESYZ6U

WHAT ARE THE FRANCHISE BRANDS THAT ARE DOING WELL DURING AND WILL DO WELL AFTER THE PANDEMIC? – Today’s guest is Lance Graulich
Lance is the founder & CEO of ION Franchising, an industry leading franchise consulting and development group, that represents over 500 franchise brands & business opportunities within 90 categories. Lance helps prospective entrepreneurs find their perfect franchise for FREE.

ARE YOU OVERLOOKING POTENTIAL MONEY SAVING CHANGES IN THE FEDERAL TAX LAWS THAT WERE INCLUDED IN THE COVID STIMULUS BILLS? – Today’s guest is MICHAEL IANNUZZI
Michael Iannuzzi is a partner and co-leader in Citrin Copperman’s franchise practice providing a variety of services to a wide spectrum of clients within the franchise community.

GROWING YOUR FRANCHISE COMPANY POST COVID-19 – Today’s guest is Harold Kestenbaum.
Harold is a franchise attorney who has specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977. https://youtu.be/OOCXqhGPA_U

WHY DO FRANCHISEES FAIL – Today’s guest is Tom Scarda, CFE, Founder & CEO of the Franchise Academy, Best selling author and Podcaster.

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MATTO FRANCHISE
A Revolution is Brewing
LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.mattofranchise.com/

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HOW ARE BANKS RESPONDING TO LOANS FOR NEW BUSINESSES?
Today’s guest is Reginald Heard – Founder and CEO of Bankers One Capital.

HOW ARE YOU MARKETING AND GETTING THE WORD OUT THAT YOUR BUSINESS IS GETTING READY TO REOPEN? Laura Skulman, Director of Marketing and Events for B&D Burgers in Savannah Ga.

HOW FRANCHISORS ARE CREATING A DIGITAL STRATEGY AS THE ECONOMY OPENS UP – Today’s guest is Aubree Coderre, National Sales Manager at C-Squared Social

Stephen McCluskey Insurance Expert – Discussing what you can do if your Insurance Company is not paying business interruption insurance due to Covid 19 closure

Michael Einbinder – Founding Partner of Einbinder and Dunn, a Law firm focusing on the needs of franchisees and franchisors

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MATTO FRANCHISE
A Revolution is Brewing
LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.mattofranchise.com/

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OPPORTUNITIES TO OPEN A RESTAURANT NOW! Today’s guest is David Simmonds – Commercial Rental Expert

MasterMind Minutes – One Question – One Expert Answer – Minutes Not Hours
Our guest today is Doug Smith… He is the Director of Sale for ROI Experts which is a digital marketing agency that works with restaurants around the world. ROI Experts generates trackable ROI using their unique ROI engine platform. Doug is 27 year veteran of the radio, sales and marketing. Visit their website at www.roiexperts.com‍

6 Key Points To Keep Your Restaurant Profitable In A Slow Down

Look for trends in your sales—for example, busy days and hours versus slower times and days. For instance, if Tuesday afternoons are consistently slow, then consider cutting back on your hourly staff for that period…

6 Key Points To Keep Your Restaurant Profitable In A Slow Down
by Gary Occhiogrosso – Managing Partner, Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC.
Photo by Gor Davtyan on Unsplash

In good times and not so good times, operating a profitable restaurant can be a daunting task. The high cost of rent, labor, and raw ingredients, often overlooked by guests seeking a fine dining experience at fast-food prices can make value perception and profitability difficult. Nonetheless, there are a few things every operator should be aware of, especially during tough economic times. Below I have listed six tips that when put into everyday practice, not only help save money and increase sales when times are lean but serve to maximize profits in better economic times.

Be Mindful Of Your Payroll
Payroll is the one thing in your operation that you have total control over. You determine it, and no one or anything else has a hand in the result. Knowing how to manage payroll is an essential element to success in the restaurant business.
Controlling labor during a slow business period can be tricky. If your businesses’ survival is dependent upon the need to terminate personnel, then managing the schedule of your hourly employees as well as your key people in a compassionate way must be your top priority. You’ll need to delicately balance the limiting of hours among your best employees. Whenever possible, spread the cutbacks out amongst as many team members as possible. That way you can lessen the impact to any one team member.
Be mindful that if you schedule less labor than you need, your restaurant may end up giving poor guest service. That will negatively impact the guest experience as well as your Social Media reviews. On the other hand, if you over-schedule your labor as a percentage of sales, then you’ll be out of line with acceptable budgets and typically lose money.
Look for trends in your sales—for example, busy days and hours versus slower times and days. For instance, if Tuesday afternoons are consistently slow, then consider cutting back on your hourly staff for that period. If you employ a salaried manager, have that person substitute in a station position. Labor is the most critical line item on your P&L. Oversee it, adjust it each day based on projected sales. Remember, unlike food inventory, which allows you to store it (in many cases) for another day, labor, once spent, is gone forever.

Engineer Your Menu To Reflect Current Goals
Sometimes bigger isn’t better. A smaller, more focused menu is often more profitable than the “be everything to everyone approach.” During a recession or slow season, use your menu to attract new customers as well as enticing your regular customers to visit more often. Adjust your menu by offering items that have more appeal in a budget-conscious climate. Understanding what guests want, what they can afford, and what you wish to sell them is a critical piece to menu engineering.
Also, position your lower food cost items in a prominent spot on your menu. That way, you can offer your guests lower-cost menu items and still make a profit.
And although it goes without saying, don’t forget to conduct a weekly inventory. Monitoring your food cost will help you manage cash flow most efficiently and accurately.

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MATTO FRANCHISE
A Revolution is Brewing
LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.mattofranchise.com/

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Stay In Front Of Your Customers
The saying “out of sight, out of mind” is never is more accurate than in a recession or slow period. You may not want to run your full Radio/TV or Print campaign. However, now is not the time to cut advertising to zero. Instead, increase your paid social media and your paid Google ads. Post photographs of guests in your restaurant, delicious-looking food items, and creative, fun graphics to entice and remind your guests how much they enjoy your restaurant and what you have to offer.
In addition, utilize the database you’ve collected of customer’s email addresses and mobile telephone numbers. You can use this data to send your customers special offers via email blasts and text messaging. Be proactive!

Promote Value, Not Price
During a recession or other tough times, offer your guests real value, not discounts. It is my opinion that you should never attach the price of the menu item to the item itself, for example, selling a hamburger for $1.00. Discounting your products creates a considerable problem for future sales of those items when you move them back to full price. Lowering the price of a menu item creates a product/price value perception, which may negatively impact the customer’s perception of value at a later date. Guests will connect the cost of the menu item to its overall value, now and in the future. Cutting prices for the sake of attracting customers or keeping up with a competitor is never the answer.
Instead, create reasons and additional “occasions to use” your restaurant in your guest’s mind. Then the guest will associate a discounted price with a particular promotion or event. For example, ladies’ night, or seniors day, or it could be the anniversary of the restaurant, and you’re rolling back prices, or National “whatever” Day. Whichever the case, offer real value by promoting events and Limited Time Offers (LTO’s) as a reason to create the “frequency of visit.” This method is also useful for attracting new guests or guests that haven’t visited your restaurant in a while.

Paying Attention To The Details Saves Money
Pennies add up! Keep a watchful eye on expenses. Monitor electricity and water usage, napkins, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and other items that often go unnoticed until you see the cost on your P&L. Be mindful and control those costs each day. Make your staff aware of things like shutting off lights, turning off water faucets, and how many paper towels they may be used to clean a counter. Get your team members “woke” to the idea and actual cost of everything in the restaurant.

One Final Note
Good times follow bad times, and bad times follow good times. Nothing is forever, so learn how to manage a restaurant through a rough patch you’ll be in a better position to maximize your profits when times are good.

MATTO FRANCHISE
A Revolution is Brewing
LEARN MORE HERE:
https://www.mattofranchise.com/

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