Who is Today's Franchisee? Street Fight

Who is Today’s Franchisee?

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The answer is, “It could be anyone!”  Among the new breed of franchisee (in addition to celebrities and private equity firms) are what we call “corporate refugees.”

Experienced business professionals are burning out and aging out of big businesses and seeking autonomy, ownership, and creativity; they seek ways to operate and scale businesses without some of the strains and expenses of starting from scratch.

They often have the financial, operational, and hiring skills to “hit the ground running” with franchise ownership. Some owners treat their ventures as family affairs and work with spouses, relatives, and even adult children.

At the Fat Brands Summit, I had an opportunity to chat with one such owner. A former engineer, he had worked in the food industry as a teenager and was passionate about feeding people. Plus, having seen how food businesses work, he knew some of the pitfalls.

Because he wanted to make the right decision, he spent two years researching and analyzing different food-related franchises. He settled on a concept that required a small footprint and had fewer food prep and operational demands than more complex options.

The brand he invested in was ultimately acquired by FAT Brands, affording him even more corporate resources, a broader network to build his business, and the cost savings, technologies, trend-tracking, and operational expertise that larger franchisors can provide.

Taylor Wiederhorn, Chief Development Officer at FAT Brands adds:
“Franchising is a great avenue for those looking to be a small business owner, but with a tested and proven business model that already has a recognizable brand name.
We also provide the tools and resources for them to be successful right out of the gate, including site selection, restaurant design, staff training, and financial assistance with third parties. Similarly, due to FAT Brands’ scale, our franchisees benefit from our purchasing power, marketing muscle, and other operational cost savings.
While we offer a strong support system, we also want to empower our franchisees to become a pillar of their respective communities—whether that is getting involved with local schools, youth sports, etc. This combination lends itself to a successful business and provides a clear, structured path for multi-unit growth for our franchisees if they seek to grow with FAT Brands.”
As we’ve discussed in other articles, balancing community and franchisee autonomy and corporate “requirements” can be tricky. But by listening, learning, and leveraging, everybody wins!
To learn more about the franchise of the future, please attend Street Fight LIVE on November 7th, at Meta’s HQ in Chicago.


Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.