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VeggieGrill Draws Fans, Who May Have to Wait


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“I’m sorry, we don’t franchise at this point,” replied Greg Dollarhyde, chief energizing officer of VeggieGrill, to my email inquiry.

That will likely disappoint the people crowding around him after his talk at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, where his lean physique was a walking testament to the plant-based diet of the sensational West Coast concept.

Chief among the fans was Alexis Walsko, founder of Lola Red Public Relations in Minneapolis. A first-time attendee at the conference, Walsko stood out in the crowd with her platinum blonde hair and retro-glam style. “We must get this concept to Minneapolis,” she told me with passion after talking with Dollarhyde. Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, and I’m betting she finds a way.

Dollarhyde talked about how operators can raise capital to fund their emerging concepts, and he emphasized the importance of matching the stability of the capital with the riskiness in the brand.

For example, debt works well when funding the expansion of a well-known, established restaurant, say Taco Bell. But for a young concept like VeggieGrill, equity investors are called for, those have the patience to stay at the table and the stomach for the risk.

Dollarhyde believes all the trends are going VeggieGrill’s way, from the healthy eating movement to the local food craze. Plus, he believes, producing beef, cattle and pigs takes too many resources to sustain. “I think it’s a huge runway” for VeggieGrill, he says, considering “just the bare facts. It takes 480 gallons of water to make a hamburger.”

 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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