For upstart quick-service restaurants considering the move to franchising, the path can precipitate a major shift in business model and operations. Beyond the economic investment in franchising, experts say, operators must ensure their brand will consistently deliver quality across all locations.
Old Carolina Barbecue Company
When it comes to developing a quick-service concept, Wingstop CEO Charlie Morrison understands that the economic model remains a large piece of the puzzle. In creating a strong franchise deal that fosters company growth, however, Morrison and many other quick-service leaders know that many other tiles complete the mosaic, including corporate support, marketplace differentiation, and sales momentum.
While entrepreneurs behind upstart quick-service and fast-casual concepts usually focus their growth efforts on one brand, a young Ohio-based franchise company has pinned its expansion hopes on three separate brands.
Ichor Restaurant Group serves as the umbrella company for three franchised fast-casual concepts: Old Carolina Barbecue Company, Baja Pizzafish, and Smoke the Burger Joint. With eight Old Carolina units, one Baja Pizzafish unit, and two Smoke locations open, Ichor is hoping franchisees can grow the company by leveraging the diversity of the portfolio in their markets.
It always starts with a simple idea.
For Brian Bailey at Ichor Restaurant Group, it began with the idea that Ohioans needed better barbecue. Six years after that idea initially took hold, Old Carolina Barbecue opened the doors to its first unit, in Canton, Ohio. The company later opened California-inspired Baja Pizzafish and will soon launch Smoke, a concept that draws inspiration from the smoked burgers served in Old Carolina and the sauces from Baja Pizzafish.
For Ichor Restaurant Group cofounder and Ohio native Brian Bailey, the Midwestern version of barbecue he grew up with just didn’t stack up to the barbecue he had tasted elsewhere in the country. So Bailey, along with high school buddy Tim Hug, took matters in his own hands and, after several road trips touring barbecue restaurants in the Carolinas, opened Old Carolina Barbecue restaurant in 2006, in Massillon, Ohio.
Old Carolina Barbecue Company (oldcarolina.com), a fast casual concept founded in 2006 by the owners of Ichor Restaurant Group, has signed its first area development agreement with Hospitality Partners, Incorporated. HPI committed to opening five Old Carolina units in the east side of Cleveland over the next three years.