Todd Peterson started with Twin Peaks earlier this year and brings more than 25 years of industry experience to the growing franchise concept. Peterson talked to 1851 about his early beginnings in the restaurant space and why passion is vital for success.
1851 Franchise: How did you fall into franchising?
Peterson: When I was a kid, getting an early start with my career, I had exposure to nearly all aspects of restaurant operations. I saw an ad for an entry level operations opportunity at a restaurant franchise company, applied, and got the job. While I had been exposed to sales as a young adult, the franchise industry really resonated with me and was ultimately what I chose for my career path. That was in 1992 and I’ve been in the industry ever since.
1851 Franchise: What do you love about franchising?
Peterson: I love being in a business where I have a direct impact in the creation of brand new businesses and wealth for franchisees and creating critical jobs for their employees. There are very few businesses that you can point to and say you were on the front end of helping someone become an entrepreneur and ultimately reach their dreams. My goal is to help them get there by bringing them into the system that we’ve built with a new, dynamic restaurant. Essentially, I’m creating a something from nothing opportunity.
1851 Franchise: What do you wish would change in franchising?
Peterson: Some of the franchising regulations. The annual process of getting your FDD updated, approved and reviewed by registration states can be challenging and ultimately slows down our development process. There are valid reasons to have regulations in place, to protect the franchisees, but in many cases, some of those processes and regulations have become erroneous. Regulations and reviews impact speed to market for our business.
1851 Franchise: What makes a great franchisee
Peterson: Someone with a passion for the brand, is a cultural fit and possesses the necessary skillset for a particular business. My previous organization was much more mom and pop driven, and in that environment, you really have to love what you were doing because you live and breathe your business. With Twin Peaks, we have franchisees who own multiple units with a number of other brands. Those owners may not be as involved in the day-to-day operations but they have to be able to ensure that they are meticulous during their hiring process to bring on passionate employees to run the business for them. They need to articulate what their goals are and to explain why investing millions of dollars into a brand is so important to their portfolio. Great franchisees at Twin Peaks have had experience in the casual dining space and an operational background that makes them eager to grow and thrive in this environment.
1851 Franchise: What’s the most important thing that drives a prospective franchisee to sign up?
Peterson: Strong referrals and validation from existing franchisees. It’s no secret that franchisee referrals are the best lead source. This has a lot to do with the fact that you’re getting a prospect from someone who has already seen success in our system. Franchisee validation carries a lot of weight because it’s a meaningful conversation from someone living and breathing the business daily. Anytime you can get someone to speak about your brand positively from an insider’s perspective, that’s ultimately better than any print advertisement can buy.