Q&A with Darin Frantz, Who Diversified from Restaurants with a Service Brand
Name: Darin Frantz
Brands: 2 Schlotzsky’s, working on 6 more; 1 Payroll Vault
Years in franchising: 3
Why did you choose to franchise with a service brand?
I was struggling with payroll for my own companies and I was frustrated with the options that were out there. Most of them were almost like a self-service where you had to spend a lot of time, for each payroll, online actually doing the work yourself. So I started looking for some options. I was going to create my own payroll company from scratch, but then I found Payroll Vault. They offered everything I was looking for, and this would become a full payroll service for all of my locations. That’s the main reason I chose Payroll Vault. Also, it was also an additional revenue stream I could build. Especially with Covid-19 going on, I realized I needed to diversify a little bit. So, if restaurants took a dip because of Covid or whatever else happens, then I might be able to rely on another income stream.
Was there competition for what you were finding at Payroll Vault?
No, Payroll Vault was the only franchise I was able to find in the payroll industry. Now there could be more, but that was the only one I was able to find. I liked what I saw so I didn’t do any more searching.
What different skill sets are required for service brand franchising?
Payroll is pretty intricate and detailed, and you don’t want to be messing around if you don’t know what you’re doing, because you could potentially end up with a lot of extra fees and taxes from the IRS that you really don’t want. You really have to know what you’re doing and trust the service. The problem with the online service is that you were just putting in numbers and hoping they would do it right and that you did the numbers correctly. I needed a way to dig in a little deeper and know for sure that I was doing it right. As far as skill set, it’s business, and I didn’t want to become a CPA. So I had to be able to count on the platform provided with the opportunity and know that it’s accurate. It didn’t take a huge skill set to be able to do it. I just needed something I could trust.
What are the advantages of choosing a service brand?
It opens up different avenues for me. Now I can target people in the restaurant industry to sell the payroll service. Since I know the restaurant industry, I can more readily sell the payroll service to someone who also is in the restaurant industry. I can speak their language and know the struggles they’re going through because I went through them.
How does having a service brand benefit/complement your other brand?
Initially, I was just looking for a payroll company. But ultimately, it diversifies my portfolio so when I get them all ready and operational it will be a different revenue stream for me that I can count on. As I said, I am comfortable in the restaurant industry and know a lot of people who also have restaurants and are dealing with the same aches and pains with payroll that I am. If I can provide something that is a benefit for me, then I can definitely provide something that’s a benefit for another restaurant.
What would you recommend to anyone considering a service brand?
It has to be something you’re passionate about, that you know how to get in and move around in and know who needs it. For me, I have a direct connection with people who can definitely use the service, so that’s who I’m targeting in marketing.
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