• Restaurant Franchisees are Going to the Dogs: Dogtopia searches for strong restaurant operators

    What do Pet Services have to do with Food Service? “Both industries require a commitment to cleanliness, safety, and strong customer-facing skills,” says Alex Samios, a former 34-unit Papa John’s Pizza franchisee. 

    Samios is now part of the development team at Dogtopia, the fastest growing franchise in the booming pet industry. After spending more than 20 years in the restaurant industry, Samios knows firsthand the complexities associated with running a fast-paced restaurant enterprise. “After discovering the opportunities and economics in the pet industry, I can honestly say there’s an easier way to make money,” Samios says. “And it’s a heck of a lot more fun too!”

    And Samios should know. He was the first franchisee for a mobile pet grooming company back in 2000 when the industry was only a $26 billion industry. Now it's a $63 billion industry and is expected to grow to $90 billion by 2025. “I saw the opportunity then, and it’s even bigger now,” Samios says.

    With no inventory or food costs to manage and cost of goods sold at less than 4 percent, the only key controllable expense at Dogtopia is labor, making it simpler to operate than restaurants. And since Dogtopia focuses on daycare, the majority of the business is Monday through Friday, with limited nights and weekends. This alone is a welcomed reprieve from the grind of the restaurant industry. 

    Unlike struggles with staffing restaurants, Dogtopia has the added benefit of working with dogs, which naturally attracts very passionate people who love working with animals. “If you’re going to pay a millennial $10 an hour,” Samios says, “do you think they would rather work in a restaurant or play with dogs all day?”

    Samios is confident the skills restaurant operators learned in the food service industry will easily transfer to dog care. Because of this, Dogtopia is specifically looking for successful restaurant franchisees because they are used to managing complex operations and are constantly dealing with recruitment and training as well as dealing with customer relations.

    “Restaurant franchisees are some of the best operators in the franchise industry,” Samios says. “They have transferable business skills to set them up for success in our business model. There is no substitute for someone who has been running a complex, competitive, customer-facing restaurant business. They will flourish in our system while enjoying a more fun lifestyle.”

    Though Dogtopia operates 44 locations today, the company has over 60 in development and is expanding rapidly with plans to reach 400 stores in the next five years. By joining the team early, franchisees still have an opportunity to secure prime territories, as most major markets are still available. 

    “Our goal is to raise awareness about new franchising opportunities in this booming industry,” Samios says. “Restaurant operators are the best in the franchise business, and we’re looking to recruit those seeking to diversify their portfolios.”

    For more information about franchising opportunities with Dogtopia, visit