The co-founder of Dog Haus on what he loves about franchising.
In 2010, friends and business partners Hagop Giragossian, Quasim Riaz and André Vener opened the first Dog Haus in Pasadena. An elevated but casual take on the classic American hot dog and burger joint, Dog Haus was a hit, and the partners quickly opened two more locations in California.
After those three Dog Haus locations found a large and eager customer base, the young brand turned to franchising to ramp up its development efforts and introduce the concept to new markets across the country.
Today, eight years after the first Dog Haus opened its doors, the brand has sold more than 400 franchise locations in markets across the country. We talked to André Vener to learn what about franchising has worked so well for his franchise and what he would change about the industry if he could.
When did Dog Haus decide to franchise?
After the third location was a hit, we decided to look into ways to expand quickly. We decided on franchising after careful consideration about how to keep quality consistent. When you look at the most consistent brands in the world — Subway, McDonald’s, etcetera — they are all franchises. We realized that franchising was the best avenue for making Dog Haus a household name.
What do you love about franchising?
The ability to bring in so many diverse partners who bring in their own experience and perspective. That helps all of us get better at what we do and helps the brand flourish.
Is there anything you wish you could change about the industry?
The agreements have gotten so big and cumbersome, and yet they don’t seem to provide as much opportunity for enforcement of critical brand elements as they should. There is little opportunity or recourse in dealing with rogue franchisees.
What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in franchising since you started?
Definitely the explosive growth of the fast-casual segment. When we started, fast-casual was a relatively new thing, and now it seems to be the dominant force in the restaurant industry.
What makes a great franchisee?
I would say a sense of pride in and ownership of the concept. A great franchisee is someone who recognizes something they want to be a part of in the brand and fully embrace it. They become true-believers and put in the time, energy and love that is necessary to make the concept blossom to its full potential.
What’s the number-one thing that sells franchises?