'It’s OK to dream big’ says Goalz boss
You have some incredibly aggressive goals, how did this start?
I always wanted to have my own company, but I knew if I did I wanted to have a kind of large company. But I didn’t know it was going to be this large! As I was looking at DogHaus, American Development Partners approached me and asked if I wanted to start my own company. That was a big day. At first it seemed like a dream. Then I realized my LinkedIn was blowing up and all these employees over the last 20 years were calling me, the dream became a reality.
How did that support help lay the groundwork for Goalz?
The company just spring-boarded from there. I’m now a franchisee for Church’s Chicken, and I’ll be the largest franchisee with a 200-store deal over nine and a half states. Then I did a deal with Captain D’s, a 21-store deal. And I just signed a multi-unit deal with Dairy Queen.
Who else is helping you with the rollout?
When I formed Goalz, I set it up to grow. I’ve met a ton of people in the restaurant industry and a ton of them were GMs or AMs and they’ve grown, but they wanted to own their own company. So when I formed the company, I asked four of them if they wanted to be part of a big umbrella. They all came in as regional developers responsible for opening up locations.
And you’re happy to give up equity for growth—how does that work?
Every restaurant they open, I get an equity stake from each of those restaurants. That gives them pride and it helps with the budgets to spread that ownership. It also makes it so that if each are opening 10 to 12 a year, it’s a lot easier than me opening 40 a year.
I think a good operator is just someone who truly cares about people and helping them grow; it’s easy to say that but another thing to show that over time. For my partners, I want them to give the same opportunities that I got when I was younger. I think that’s difficult but I’m confident in my team.
Staff writer Nicholas Upton asks what makes multi-unit operators tick—and presents their slightly edited answers in this column in each issue. To suggest a subject, email email@example.com.
Any speed bumps along the way so far?
I’ve had a huge lesson in real estate in the past year, and that’s come with some cost. When you’re just operating, you don’t realize how long it takes to do some things. It can be an eight-month to a year process. Now I think about that and it’s OK because we’re building that pipeline but at first I didn’t think it would take so long. We have 12 properties that we’ve already closed on across all four brands. Then another 15 that we’re getting ready to close on. Right behind that, 35 in the letter of intent process, those are large agreements. So it’s all been about building that pipeline, then it’ll be opening two to three a month depending on the region.
That’s a big pipeline; how are you scaling the corporate body?
At the very beginning, I reached out to a bunch of third-party vendor partners. Me and my team, we’re great at operations, so I don’t want my folks in the office. So we hired Paymasters to do all that, hired a huge accounting firm to do all that, another group doing all the permitting.
I’m a small company, but in 12 to 14 months, we’re going to be a large company. So we had to have the processes in place before we get there. It’s OK to dream big.