DDR operates more than 500 shopping centers with over 1,200 open and operating franchises and nearly 2,000 restaurants across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Brazil. Add that up, and the result is franchise opportunities, and lots of them.
The creation of FranchiseConnect.com was a light bulb moment for DDR. The company’s leasing team presented a number of prime locations to a national franchisor, who agreed the sites were ideal for opening new locations, but there was one problem: the franchisor had no existing franchisees in those markets.
DDR had a solution. They installed physical signs at those pre-qualified shopping centers and advertised that brand’s franchise opportunity. As a result, they generated leads for the franchisor, who signed three new franchisees. It was productive for DDR too. The company received three new high-quality tenants backed by a national brand.
While this was an obvious success, DDR immediately realized installing physical signs for multiple brands at 500 shopping centers wasn’t economical or scalable. DDR looked to technology to develop a solution. “Our first thought was our online channel,” says Dave Perry, senior director of marketing services for DDR. “Our team are experts in SEO and online lead generation techniques for our leasing directors. Adding franchise opportunities was a perfect complement to our online platform.”
DDR built FranchiseConnect as the virtual answer to the physical task of matching entrepreneurs with franchisors looking for new investors. The website allows users to search their geographic areas for franchise opportunities that are site-specific and connects the entrepreneur with the franchisor directly.
It’s a smart way for franchisors to research future locations. Franchisors can work with DDR to analyze the company’s shopping center portfolio. DDR has all the data needed for the site selection analysis and considers the franchisor’s ideal requirements such as distance from the nearest location, trade area demographics, shopping center venue, tenant mix, competition, space size, and location within the shopping center.
It doesn’t always have to be a portfolio-wide effort though; DDR’s leasing team now recommends FranchiseConnect when a franchisor finds a single site that makes sense, but has yet to find a new franchisee in that specific market. A franchisor can promote a franchise opportunity on one individual shopping center’s page on FranchiseConnect.com.
Speed to market is another one of the key benefits of DDR’s program. “We take the guesswork out of the site selection process, help entrepreneurs find opportunities in their own back yards, and facilitate the connection between the franchisor and the franchisee,” Perry says.
One of the many reasons FranchiseConnect can drive leads is because of the way potential franchisees conduct their research. “About 80 percent of prospective franchisees research locations to open a new business before they initially engage with the franchisor. FranchiseConnect will be the first point of contact for many future franchisees,” Perry says.
DDR.com offers visibility for franchisors using FranchiseConnect. “On DDR.com we have more than 1 million visitors annually, including entrepreneurs who are researching locations for a future small business,” Perry says. DDR cross-markets its property pages on DDR.com with the property pages and franchise opportunities on FranchiseConnect.com. “We have a very targeted and captive audience. Franchisors would do well to post their business opportunities with us,” Perry says.
“DDR is committed to franchising. We are actively involved in the IFA, we have more than 1,200 open and operating franchise businesses, and nearly 2,000 restaurants in our shopping centers. We understand the restaurant franchise industry.”
For more information about DDR, visit www.franchiseconnect.com.