Pet Wants Is Exception to Slow-to-100 Rule
Michele Hobbs, left, is founder of Pet Wants, which she started to provide healthy food to her ailing dog.
My recent blog post pointing out how few franchises make it to 100 units in a year or two, as so many young franchises claim they will, drew many responses, including some who thought I was being too negative to point out the statistics from Franchise Grade. But the president of Pet Wants Franchise System, Scott Hoots, called the numbers “sobering” and added his brand “had the opposite problem.”
Before he came on board in September 2017, “they exploded out of the gate with 70 franchises getting sold and opened in the first 2 ½ years, causing systemic support challenges,” he wrote. “I believe I have the pieces in place to address the systemic things and continue on with the rapid growth.”
I called Hoots to find out more, and he described the exception that proves the rule. He said having the founder of the brand, Michele Hobbs, involved in franchise sales was instrumental to the fast success. Citing Tom Monaghan at Domino’s and Peter Cancro at Jersey Mike’s as other examples, “any time you have a founder who can be involved with the candidates, that helps franchise sales,” Hoots said.
But a founder’s passion isn’t enough on its own. Gary Green, an experienced franchise sales executive and CEO of Strategic Franchising, got involved with Pet Wants in 2015, taking the founder’s idea of making and selling natural, healthy pet food to a national audience. “And that combination was dynamic,” Hoots said.
It takes more than a founder/sales pro combo, though, Hoots said, noting that other brands in Green’s portfolio, such as Fresh Coat, Caring Transitions and The Growth Coach, grew successfully but much more slowly than Pet Wants. A key factor is good timing, he said, which is due as much to luck as anything else.
“A lot of their success coming out of the gate was finding a concept that appealed to a broad range of people. Like a lot of concepts you’ve talked to, timing was spot-on for us.”
Hoots was with American Family Care for nearly five years, and before that Ripley Entertainment, the franchisor of Ripley’s Believe it or Not attractions, as well as 1.800.Flowers and Domino’s. “I’ve learned one thing is consistent across all those franchise organizations, and that is if you work hard to support the franchisees and help them be profitable they will in turn help support the franchise organization and help build the brand.” I’ll share more of his advice for emerging franchises in an upcoming print piece.