Randy, Bill, and Redler built the Freddy’s menu on one major viewpoint—the food should be done simply and correctly. When the first Freddy's opened, the founders were all drawing income from other businesses. Since they were not counting on making their living on income from Freddy's, they were able to clearly establish their philosophy to do things right, and to never cut a portion or downgrade a product.
Redler, who has a background in full-service restaurants, takes the same attitude toward limited service and believes that "Freddy's offers a level of hospitality rarely seen in fast casual." It all comes back to the brand, which is rooted in post-war 1940s–50s nostalgia, great dining, and hospitality.
The guests appreciate the warm and friendly hospitable environment, and come to the restaurant looking to treat themselves and enjoy the best of the best. "After all," says Redler, "if a guest comes in on a challenging day, we do what we can to make it a little bit better. The goal is to have people walk out and say, 'That was great,' and 'I want to go again.'"
By 2004, Redler, who was serving on the board of the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association, was approached by another member who was interested in opening a Freddy's. After that first franchise opened, "The snowball started rolling and interest grew," says Redler. That first franchisee went on to open more stores, as did his brother and cousin.
The initial franchise fee for a single restaurant is $25,000, with ongoing royalties of 4.5 percent of gross sales, and a current charge of 0.375 percent as a contribution to the marketing and advertising fund. Excluding the cost of the real estate, the initial investment ranges between $592,810 to $1,999,117.
Franchisees are treated like family at Freddy's, Redler says, and conventions are even called family reunions. This makes the franchisee selection process critical and a number of criteria are used in selecting operators. "We're in a long-term partnership, and we want to hang out with great people," Redler says. A good deal of energy and due diligence is put in to find franchisees whose business philosophies fit into the company mold. They also want franchisees who have operational experience or the ability to get it, and are interested in a territory that works for both parties.
Freddy’s objective is to never vary from a guest-focused attitude, even if that means increased expenditures. "We make decisions with no incentives other than our franchisees’ success—from purchasing to equipment. We want the best of the best, and we have their interests at heart," Redler says. "Our goal is to help them succeed, and we put time and energy to support everything they do."
The founders are also accessible. Each of the franchisees has the founders' cell numbers to reach out with comments or issues. "We are readily available," Redler says. Freddy’s currently sees opportunity to grow in high-population markets, particularly the Northeast.