How do two guys from the entertainment industry become breakfast franchise pioneers? Don’t ask Famous Toastery co-founder and CEO Robert Maynard – he’s still trying to figure it out himself.
“It all started in 2005 when my partner [Brian Burchill, Famous Toastery co-founder and COO] called me one day and said, ‘Do you want to buy a restaurant?,’” Maynard recalled. “I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ But Brian’s very smart, and he convinced me to help him out. When we first opened, we were doing 50 people on a good day. A year later we were doing over 500. I never expected to be franchising - never expected to be in the franchising business. But we discovered we had something kind of special.”
Of course, building up a business from scratch wasn’t a cakewalk for the duo.
“We had no idea what we were doing [in the beginning],” Maynard said. “We made our fair share of mistakes. But this is why franchising is so great; you’re not only buying what you know, you’re buying what you don’t know. We made all the mistakes already so franchisees don’t have to. I’ve learned more from mistakes than anything else.”
From payroll and hiring to restaurant site selection, Maynard and Burchill learned the hard way. However, this has resulted in an unparalleled level of support for new franchisees. The twosome know firsthand how difficult starting a business can be, so they’re incredibly involved with franchisees every step of the way.
As for what advice they’d give future small-business owners entering into a franchise agreement, their instructions are simple.
“Follow the system – it works,” Maynard said. “We have a very eclectic group, from people who have never run a restaurant to those who have years in the industry. People who follow the system do really well - it’s the guys who have been in the business who need to break their habits that sometimes struggle. It’s not an accident that we have lines at the door and great reviews. We’ve figured out the hard parts already.”
While the journey to Famous Toastery’s current success was anything but easy, it’s clear Maynard and company wouldn’t have had it any other way. After all, it’s the difficult lessons the team learned in the beginning that have positioned the brand for success in the here and now.