Continuing our month of franchise coverage at QSR, we touched base with 11 executives to get their advice and thoughts on the space.

For more, read our coverage on the industry’s 17 Best Franchise Deals for 2023 and state of the franchising industry recap from this year’s Council. 

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Image credits:Golden Corral

Erik Hartung

Executive VP of Franchise Development for Dog Haus 

What do you love most about franchising? And what advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space? 

What I love about franchising is that it presents the opportunity for someone to do something entrepreneurial without having to do all the heavy lifting of figuring out the concept, systems or branding. It is a much shorter runway to becoming a successful business owner.”

Image credits:Dog Haus

Ryan Stansbury 

Vice President of Franchise Development for Ballard Brands

What do you love most about franchising:  

My introduction to franchising began as a college student who became one of the youngest franchisees to join the tanning and automated day spa industry. My franchising career continued to evolve, resulting in becoming a successful multi-unit franchisee and experienced executive serving in various capacities for national franchise brands. I love franchising because it truly affords you the opportunity to be ‘in business for yourself, but not by yourself,’ to quote the late Ray Kroc.”

And what advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space: 

“Pursue an opportunity in a stable and resilient industry, with a brand you believe in and because you are passionate about the product or service. Passion Breeds Success.”

Image credits:Ballard Brands

Tom Sacco

Chief Happiness Officer, CEO, and president at Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream

What do you love most about franchising?

I grew up in the restaurant world watching and working alongside my grandparents and parents operating their restaurants. Early on, I could identify the struggles they were experiencing because of the challenges they didn’t know to be aware of. Then they had to painfully learn how to navigate in uncharted waters. Some of that maneuvering was timely and expensive. Once I got out into the restaurant world after graduate school on my own, by choice I might add, and became aware of franchising, it did not take me long to become a disciple of, and advocate for, franchising. I realized how critically important and helpful franchising was to individuals willing to risk everything they have, which is what made me get into the great industry that I love. With the guidance, training, and ongoing support of a good and compassionate franchisor, success was easier, not easy, but easier. Most mistakes were prevented because now had there were maps that kept you away from the troubled waters that you could run aground, or even sink, because you were an inexperienced newcomer. Nothing in life or business is guaranteed. However, franchising in my professional and personal opinion, is the “guardian angel” for the entrepreneur that wants to own their own business. Franchising is the engine that keeps the entrepreneurial spirit alive and thriving in America today.

And what advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space?

To the individual, family or business looking to get into a restaurant brand that you are passionate about, it’s important to have passion drive your interest, not money, the cute marketing, or location. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, and in some cases, the franchisor may have eliminated you based on net worth or other prerequisite requirements, I suggest you interview the franchisors to find the one, or ones, that meet and hopefully exceed your expectations. You should find the company that will help you turn your dream into a successful reality. Once you have that match identified, get your paperwork signed and be a great student. Franchising is a roadmap to the path of success. Nothing is guaranteed, but the odds of failure are minimized when you find the brand you believe in and the brand believes in you.

Image credits:Happy Joe’s

Chris Kramolis 

CEO, Rock N Roll Sushi 

What do you love most about franchising? And what advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space? 

I’ve been in the restaurant franchise business for over 20 years with multiple brands.  The franchise model provides proven systems and processes that create consistency across multiple locations.  This consistency increases a brands asset value and customer value by building trust that products and services will be excellent regardless of location. The franchise community comes together as a team with a shared vision and goals which creates a compounding effect of best practices that rise to the top and benefit the whole. 

1. Choose a franchise that you are passionate about their products and services.

2. Trust the Process

3. Follow the System

Image credits:Rock N Roll Sushi

Paul Tran

Head of Franchising for Roll-Em-Up Taquitos

What do you love most about franchising? 

“I love that franchising is a generous act. It’s someone who has a brilliant idea; had the courage to bring it to life; sacrificed and risked a lot; and worked hard to make it successful … and instead of selfishly keeping the business to themselves, they share with others who believe in what they believe. And it doesn’t take away from their own successes; but amplifies it. 

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, together.” — African Proverb” 

What advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space?  

Franchisors, franchisees, and ecosystem providers do better when we collaborate, not compete. When we all help each other out and speak kindly to those doing good work—the “network effect” benefits all of us. We can affect massive changes when we’re in unison; new potential franchisees trust the model more; and the pie gets bigger instead of sliced up.A rising tide does float all boats.”

Image credits:Roll-Em-Up Taquitos

David Boatright

Director of Franchise Sales, Newk’s Eatery

What do you love most about franchising? 

“One of the aspects I enjoy about franchising is the ability to offer potential franchise candidates an opportunity to franchise with a concept like Newk’s Eatery. My experience isn’t just about time spent but also about the lessons learned. When franchise candidates join the Newk’s Eatery family, you’re not starting from scratch, you are building on a solid foundation of knowledge and proven strategies.

And what advice to have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space? 

A motivated and well-trained staff can make a huge difference in your franchise’s customer experience and overall success. Continuous training and a positive work culture will retain your top employees.

Image credits:Newk’s Eatery

Troy Hooper

CEO of Hot Palette America 

What do you love most about franchising? And what advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space? 

“Franchising allows raving fans to be entrepreneurs with confidence in the brand’s performance history and ongoing support! It is so rewarding to see so many people become franchisees and truly embrace the win/win relationship that is possible within a franchise system.” 

Image credits:Hot Palette America

Mark Leach

President of Franchise Development for Mr Brews Taphouse

What do you love most about franchising? And what advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space? 

“What I love most about franchising is building relationships and helping individuals and groups realize their dreams. My advice for fellow restaurant franchisees is do your due diligence on the franchisor, feelings are good, but don’t let feelings drive your decision. Talk with existing franchisee’s regarding their level of satisfaction.”

Image credits:Mr Brews Taphouse

Luke Mandola

Vice President of Franchise Sales & Development, BRIX Holdings

What do you love most about franchising? 

“My career has allowed me the privilege of helping people to believe in themselves, and to ultimately reach their dreams to succeed in business. The relationships that are established while working closely together toward a common goal are just one of the best parts of working with talented franchise partners.”

And what advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space? 

“It’s important to align yourself with an established and proven brand, with exceptional leadership and ownership. Always make sure your core values and expectations line up with the brand that you’re partnering with—this always makes for a more seamless process and a successful franchise.”

Image credits:BRIX Holdings

Mike LaRue

Vice President of Franchise Sales, JINYA Ramen Bar

What do you love most about franchising? 

“Working with incredible franchise partners has allowed JINYA Ramen Bar to progress into the largest and fastest growing ramen concept in the country. With nearly 60 locations and over 200+ in development across the U.S. and Canada, our brand has given traditional Japanese cuisine a platform for discovery, and we couldn’t do that without our passionate partners.”

And what advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space? 

Creating meaningful relationships with people who share the same vision and who are excited to take JINYA Ramen Bar to the next level has been an incredible part of my role with the brand. At JINYA, we believe in a philosophy of continual improvement—or Kaizen—and know how important strong partnerships are to make this philosophy a reality. My advice would be to find a partner that you can trust, and that shares the same general values that you do.”

Image credits:Jinya Ramen

Lance Trenary

CEO of Golden Corral

And what advice do you have for anyone in the restaurant franchising space? 

“Adopting a franchise business model was a critical step in our brand’s 50-year history. We love creating opportunities for personal ownership and growth and the diversity of thinking that comes with a franchise system.  My advice would be to work shoulder to shoulder with your franchisees, involving them early in your strategic initiatives. The output will be much stronger, and you will build alignment as you go.”

Image credits:Golden Corral
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