Execs make their investment case at Franchise Times conference
Growth plans, average unit volumes, rebranding, redesigns and much more were on the agenda at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference May 7-9. Presenters included legacy brands like TGI Fridays, Wendy’s and Subway; emerging brands like Office Evolution and ZIPs dry cleaning; turnaround brands like Saladworks and Dippin’ Dots; and more. Fifty-four franchisors presented the investment case for their brands to an audience of financiers, family offices, private equity firms, lenders, institutional investors and operators, and then engaged with audience members in private Q&A sessions following each talk. We present in this digital edition the videos of all presentations with introductions by the Franchise Times editorial staff.
Articles by Beth Ewen, Tom Kaiser, Laura Michaels, Nancy Weingartner Monroe and Nicholas Upton.
Wendy’s founder has sayings that resonate today
Wendy’s beloved founder, Dave Thomas, passed away in 2002, but he’s still quotable. Wendy’s Chief Development Officer Abigail Pringle peppered her comments on the chain’s franchise program with: “As Dave said, ‘profit’s not a dirty word.” And, “As Dave said, “If something’s not broken, break it.” And his best known quote: “Take care of your business and your business will take care of you.”
Thomas would be proud of the organization he founded. Its goal is still to “become the world’s most thriving and beloved restaurant brand.” Not the biggest, but the best, Pringle stressed. Big, however, is relative, because the quick-service chain has north of 5,700 units in just the U.S. They’ve had 20 consecutive quarters of growth, and average unit volume systemwide is $1.61 million. Click here to watch her presentation
Smoothie King catches the fitness wave
You might not know it at first blush, but Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim is a hilarious and entertaining guy, which I learned over dinner a few years back in the company’s previous home in New Orleans. His presentation was amusing and direct as the company rides a wave of enthusiasm for health and fitness across the globe.
Years later, Smoothie King is bigger and more profitable as the company prepares to officially move its headquarters to Dallas. During his 30-minute pitch to assembled bankers, equity firms and multi-unit franchisees, Kim was funny, but also effective as he portrayed the company as part of the rocket-fueled health and fitness industry that’s expanding on so many fronts.
“So any concepts talk about mission and vision,” Kim said. “Let me convince you why we are different.” Click here to watch his presentation
‘QSR Plus’ position keeps paying off for Del Taco
Five years ago, Del Taco realized what it had already been doing for five decades—onsite prep and cooking of fresh ingredients—was worth highlighting as it sought to reposition itself from being seen as a price value brand to one viewed through a quality value lens.
That repositioning of Del Taco as a “QSR plus” concept is working, says CFO Steve Brake, and last week the Lake Forest, California-based Mexican brand reported its 23rd consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth for company-owned restaurants.
“Most traditional QSRs have always been known for value and affordability, but they aren't traditionally known for quality,” says Brake. “Our idea is, by leveraging our fresh prep and being, frankly, loud and proud about it for five years, is helping us tell the story.
Scooter’s Coffee uses ‘amazingness’ to compete with Starbucks
People are constantly asking Scooter’s Coffee execs, “How do you compete with Starbucks?” Well, explains Jen Chaney, the brand’s VP of franchise development, “What we talk about quite often is the amazingness—amazing people, amazing drinks, amazingly fast.” Given that consumers are loyal to their coffee shop, having employees who recognize customers and know their orders is a focus for Scooters, as are high-quality products, which is why the company roasts and packages its own coffee.
“And people rely on convenience,” says Chaney, so the drive-thru has to be quick.
The brand’s 450-square-foot drive-thru kiosk, with its simple operations, low overhead and fewer employees, is Scooter’s most popular model and locations have average gross sales of $404,761. The drive-thru coffeehouse model is another option, with average gross sales of $506,208 from a 1,600-square-foot store. Click here to watch their presentation
Express Employment thrives amid strong employment
At rock-bottom unemployment, it’s a great time to be in the staffing business. Last year, Express Employment employed 540,000 people by doing a few things differently than other staffing agencies.
The biggest difference is franchisees don’t focus solely on the mega-corporations and the arduous task of doing business with them. It’s just so much work to navigate the RFPs, the bureaucracy and to add much to a company that has sophisticated employment department already.
And since other staffing agencies are going through all that, franchisees can form strong relationships with the local business community.
“We own the midmarket,” said David Lewis, VP of franchising at Express Employment Professionals. Click here to watch his presentation