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Franchised Dog Bar Spurs Infinite Ideas


I’ll never stop being impressed by the creative array of franchised options out there. My latest pitch? Mutts Canine Cantina is a Texas-based franchise that’s a hybrid between a bar/restaurant and a dog park. As an enthusiastic dog owner, this spurs a blizzard of new franchise ideas.

Call me crazy or just kid-less, but I often think about things I could or should be doing with my two doggies, which both have somewhat unusual personalities. Oakley, the lady of our household, is a crabby old lady who loves belly rubs and can be quite playful when the mood strikes. Our three-year-old Norman is strange—very happy, but he doesn’t possess any of the usual play instincts. He doesn't get the appeal of toys, is confused by bouncing balls, has no concept of fetch and is usually happiest on a walk or chasing me around the house.

Sure, we take random car rides, bring them on our vacations out of town and to both of our parents’ houses in the country. They’re very well loved and cared for, but I wonder what more I could do for them and with them.

I’ve never brought them to a brewery around our home in Minneapolis, but this Mutts Canine Cantina sounds like a riot. Cocktails, food and a dog park might be my holy trinity. This creative concept also brought to mind Zoom Room, which I recently wrote about, which is a franchise that’s based around playing and having fun with your dog, rather than teaching it new skills. My Norman isn’t interested in new skills.

It’s just two concepts, but I’m officially calling this a trend, and my mind races at what could be next. Let me offer a few suggestions:

1.    A dog theme park. Build it big and put it indoors for all-season dog fun. No roller coasters or tilt-a-whirls, as I’m not cleaning that mess up, but a full scale dog playland complete with a doggy swimming beach, a splash pad, mildly scary haunted house and maybe an open field filled with squirrels or rabbits. Google tells me the average rabbit goes for $20, so unit-level economics are looking good.

2.    Dog escape rooms. This one is easy—a big maze where dog(s) and owner(s) start in the center and work their way out. Think less The Shining and more like what some farms do in the fall. With some scents added along for excitement or misdirection, this would be a great opportunity to rely on your canine’s superior nose. Possible roadblock: attracting repeat business. Solution? Add booze. I’m in.

3.    Dog napping spa. Another no-brainer here, as all dogs love being allowed on the bed. This could be a sexy environment that encourages PG-grade human/animal mingling with beds all over, soothing low lighting, bedside snack service and massages available for an up-charge. My dogs love a little back rub, and everybody knows finding the next, great franchise concept is hard on the body. Think Yelo Spa in Manhattan, but with dogs.

4.    Doggy Duck Hunt. Millennials love their original Nintendo throwbacks, and this would be a live-action recreation of the NES Duck Hunt game. Dogs love chasing birds, and using laser tag-like technology would remove any legal liability concerns. This could be on the fringes of suburbia where land is reasonably cheap and you wouldn’t even need to build any buildings. Ducks and some uncut grass are all you need, and this would be a real thrill-ride for any pooch. Perhaps you could also sweeten the financial pot by billing the property as a migratory bird sanctuary. Crazier things have been achieved by razor-sharp accountants.

I’m just spit-balling here, but obviously so is the franchise industry. Adult spending on pets is only going up, unless this stock market slump turns apocalyptic, so there’s only incentive to innovate at this point. I’ll be waiting and so will my dogs, with drool on our faces and cash in my pocket.

Game on.

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

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor 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.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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