Younger generations are getting more involved in franchising, and experts say these young entrepreneurs—especially children of franchisees—offer quick-serve companies a promising business partner.
Donald Boroian, CEO and chairman of franchise consultancy Francorp, says second-generation franchisees offer companies the chance to partner with seasoned and passionate operators.
“They’re not as likely to just fall in line and get a [good] job with their dad,” Boroian says. “They want to do their own thing. And often, out of that experience that they have working in the shadow of their father, they understand the sacrifices, the hard work, the failures, the trials and tribulations, and it doesn’t stop them.”
But young generations aren’t necessarily looking at getting involved with the brands their parents bought into. In fact, these younger entrepreneurs are looking into franchising with more modern brands.
“Typically, franchises are bought by people with a customer mentality, so the customers that are frequenting these new concepts end up being the people that want to buy them,” Boroian says.
“The young people are looking more at the contemporary products that they identify with as customers—a Jimmy John’s, a Jamba Juice, or one of the salad operations, like Saladworks or Chop’t.”
Another quick-serve segment drawing interest from younger franchisees is food trucks, Boroian says.
Jonathan Wagner and Dain Pool are two second-generation businessmen who have gotten involved with the food-truck industry. Wagner, son of Johnsonville Sausage founder Ralph Stayer, and Pool, son of Pool’s Restaurant Group founder Dan Pool, recently launched Two Trucks LLC.
Two Trucks plans to have 200 mobile units on America’s streets by 2014, starting with its The Butcher’s Son truck, which launches next week in Dallas.
Pool says his generation is interested in food trucks because “it’s the cool thing to do.”
“No matter how many times you tell somebody that it’s a lot of work—and I’m sure everybody can attest to this, when you have a franchisee and you tell him how much work it is—he really doesn’t know how much work it is until he gets into it,” Pool says. “It’s the same thing with these trucks; no matter how many times you tell the younger generation it’s a lot harder, all they see is it’s this whole new thing.”
Pool and Wagner confirm that, as Boroian suggests, they wanted to launch their own business operations and not just stick with what their parents had established.
But Wagner found another way to branch off into his own business: He dreamed up the Two Trucks business, and will use Johnsonville Sausage products at The Butcher’s Son.
“Not only am I doing what I want to do, but I’m giving back to the family business,” Wagner says.
To successfully partner with younger or second-generation franchisees, Pool says companies must be sure to take this demographic seriously.
“You’ve got to listen to them,” he says. “You’ve got to hear what they want. There’s not one template that’s going to work for the younger generation. All of us want different things. “
Boroian, Pool, and Wagner were panelists on “The Young Guns” panel at Dine America, the executive leadership conference hosted by Food News Media in Atlanta October 9–11.
By Sam Oches