Arby’s is one of the most widely recognized names in franchising. The quick-service sandwich brand has more than 3,300 restaurants across the U.S, Canada, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar, South Korea, and Turkey, and their national television marketing campaigns have become a staple of sports events and other high-rating programming.
Leading Arby’s expansion efforts is Greg Vojnovic, the brand’s chief development officer. Vojnovic talked to 1851 Franchise about the collaborative nature of franchising and the importance of brand culture in the franchising world.
1851: How did you get into franchising?
Vojnovic: Something about working in the restaurant industry seems to run in my family. I have two brothers, and all three of us work in the industry.
Shortly after I graduated from Cornell University, I helped start a boutique firm that specialized in investment banking and real estate services for restaurant operators and chains. Not long after we started that firm, Arby’s reached out to me and offered me an opportunity to join them as an in-house M&A director responsible for identifying concepts to purchase. That was my first big corporate job and my first introduction to franchising.
1851: What do you love about franchising?
Vojnovic: I love the franchisees. They are pure entrepreneurs, and it’s awesome to get to work with them every day.
1851: What do you wish would change in franchising?
Vojnovic: It can be frustrating to hear about franchisees being sold something that they don’t truly understand. That’s why I’ve made it part of my professional mission to emphasize to other franchising professionals that we as an industry have a responsibility to do right by our franchisees.
Franchising isn’t about making deals to try and boost numbers. It’s about growing a strong business and strong relationships. It’s important that our entire industry understands that.
Franchising professionals should always be careful to make sure that the partnership is going to be lucrative for both the franchisor and the franchisee. It’s important to make sure that the interests of both parties are aligned.
1851: What makes a great franchisee?
Vojnovic: A great franchisee is a great partner. They are someone who wants to collaborate with the franchisor in ways that are going to make both parties stronger.
1851: What’s the most important thing that drives a prospective franchisee to sign up?
Vojnovic: The most important thing that drives a prospective franchisee to sign up is the culture of the franchisor. The culture has to appeal to the franchisee on a personal level, and they have to be able to see themselves playing a meaningful role in that culture.