Multi-Unit Franchisee Insight – Career Turning Point, Best Business Decision, & Hardest Lesson Learned
We talk to successful multi-unit operators regularly here at Franchise Update Media. These busy on-the-go people share great insight and wisdom with us through our profile stories in Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine. Here, from our archives, are some insightful responses from some of these franchisees.
First turning point in your career: Making the decision to migrate from the riskiest end of the risk spectrum in the restaurant industry to the least risky end.
Best business decision: Same as above. I was running around Seattle opening up World Wrapps restaurants, a raw startup. Everything about it was hard. It’s hard to find real estate and convince landlords they ought to lease it, because you are unknown and you have no credit. It’s hard to get people to work for you, and it is hard to get customers to come to you because they don’t know you yet. And it is very hard to execute consistently well on a high-quality product in a high-velocity environment at a low cost. And you have no marketing budget. What I realized as a franchisee of a top 10 brand like Applebee’s is this: Everything is easier. The landlords know you and want to lease to you, the employees know you and want to work for you, the guests know you and want to come to you, and, most important, the banks understand these are lower-risk businesses and they will lend you basically all of the money to expand.
Hardest lesson learned: That a combination of high operating leverage and lease leverage and financial leverage can be devastating to cash flow when there is a serious downdraft in sales, as there just was at Applebee’s. We doubled our resolve to run our restaurants well and to not compromise at all on maintenance, on 100 percent staffing, and on a lot of the areas many other restaurateurs cut when times get tough. Now that we have been through it I have learned that what we did was the right thing to do.
-Greg Flynn, multi-unit franchisee of Taco Bell, Panera Bread, Arby’s, Applebee’s
First turning point in your career: I go back to that second-to-last interview with the hiring manager who told me I was never going to make it as a salesman. What that conversation made me do was push myself to be even better than what was expected of me. When I got my first sales job, I was expected to make 200 calls a day. So based on that previous interview, I thought, “Well, I have to make 400 calls then.” I got into the office at 7 a.m. and would leave at 10 p.m. every night. I just doubled most people’s input. Rejection was a huge motivating factor.
Best business decision: Becoming a franchisee of Planet Fitness. It took me away from a sales position where I was so focused on just chasing the dollar to having a steady cash flow, an improved lifestyle and greater flexibility to pursue other franchise opportunities like Smoothie King. As a salesman, it made it difficult to enjoy the kinds of things I enjoy today. Getting involved in franchises like Smoothie King and Planet Fitness where you have residual cash flow opened the door to the kind of lifestyle I was looking for. That was the turning point.
Hardest lesson learned: Trying to build my business without God. Jesus and his wisdom is the key to my success.
-John Clancy, multi-unit franchisee of Smoothie King, 31 Planet Fitness
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