Growth | October 2013 | By Mary Avant

Home Sweet Home Office

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U.S. cities like Dallas provide fast food operators with resources to grow.
Dallas is one of four U.S. cities that have proved to be popular quick-serve headquarters. thinkstock
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Denver

Home of the next big brand

Denver may be a breeding ground for successful concepts like Chipotle, Smashburger, and Einstein Bros., but it’s also the place where established chains come for a breath of fresh mountain air. Famous Brands, parent company for TCBY and Mrs. Fields, made the move from Salt Lake City to the Mile High City in June 2012 after the brands were churning out “lackluster results,” says Dustin Finkel, senior director of Famous Brands International.

“Denver is a hotbed for franchising organizations [and] good marketing strategy. You have good consumer packaged goods companies here, you have an incredible wealth of resources at franchisee headquarters,” he says. “So the leadership at the time thought moving the company here could really revitalize the thinking, get fresh perspective, and begin anew in terms of how we think about these brands.”

Population: 2.6 million

Size: 153 square miles

Home To: Chipotle, Noodles & Company, Smashburger, Quiznos, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group

Fun Facts:

  • The Mile High City receives an average 300 days of sunshine a year
  • Denver brews more beer than any other city in the U.S.
  • The city is home to a higher percentage of Baby Boomers than any other major city in America

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Travel.Ogate.com

Finkel says not only is the city home to some of the biggest names in limited service, but it’s also the “home of the concepts that will become the next Chipotle.”

“People in Denver, Boulder, and the Denver area as a whole are free-thinking and innovative thinkers, so a lot of concepts get started here,” Finkel says. “There’s not the constraints of those fast-moving corporate worlds like you’d find in New York, Chicago, and L.A. It’s allowing people to explore their interests, explore different opportunities, and people really support it in Denver.”

The Colorado capital, Finkel says, offers a “significantly lower cost of business ownership and cost of living” for the brand and its employees. “We’re a smaller big city, and you have an incredible work-life balance that you can have here,” he says. “You have the mountains, you have the outdoor experiences. A lot of employees are willing to come to Denver as a location to work, so you can get great talent here.”

Denver also boasts low taxes and business costs, and the area offers incentives that focus on job creation, employee training, tax deductions, and infrastructure improvements.

“For most corporate offices, as you get bigger, you’re looking at quality of life and cost of living,” Neyrey says. “And I think Denver is pretty good right now with that.”

With the Rocky Mountains and more than 200 parks nearby, consumers in Denver are focused on health and wellness, making TCBY a perfect fit for the market, Finkel says.

“We’re fun, we’re free-moving, we’re quick to change,” he adds. “We’re quick to have fun and recognize and reward our people, and that really fits in with the way people in Denver like to work and experience their job.”

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