Franchise Development Leader: Michael Pandich of Freshii
Franchise Development Leader: Michael Pandich of Freshii

Freshii’s Director of Global Franchise Development explains how the health conscious brand is continuing to grow.

Freshii has been on a mission to change the way the world eats since it opened its doors in 2005. By making superfoods more easily accessible and affordable, Freshii aims to make healthy eating convenient for the everyday individual.

1851 spoke with Michael Pandich, Director Global Franchise Development at Freshii, to talk about his experience working for the brand. He describes the success Freshii portrays to their consumers in order to display an effective brand and more.

How did you first get involved with the franchising industry?

I had always loved the franchising model because of its ability to combine entrepreneurship with a proven business model. I have a few friends who are multi-unit franchisees for brands such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. They built very successful stores and created family legacy businesses that involved their adult children. I wanted to do the same and came across Freshii on a trip to Chicago, and immediately fell in love with the brand. The menu was fantastic and offered everything that I liked to eat. I was there for a week and ate a Freshii every day, sometimes twice a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner; I really enjoyed the entire guest experience. I inquired about franchising and subsequently met Matthew Corrin, Freshii’s Founder & CEO.  After spending some time together and understanding his vision to create a global brand, I wanted to bring my expertise of helping companies achieve exponential profitable growth at Freshii.

What do you love about the industry?

I know this will sound corny or canned, but I love seeing people achieve their dreams and thriving off of it. For many of our franchise partners, this is the first time they have owned their own business. It is a huge personal, financial and professional decision for them and requires the support of all of their family members. Seeing our franchisees become successful in this industry and opening more locations is very rewarding. We love the entrepreneurial spirit here at Freshii.

What do you wish you could change in franchising?

We actually spend a lot of time here at Freshii trying to talk people out of getting into this business. I know that may seem odd, but not only is franchising not right for everyone, but restaurant ownership is definitely not for everyone. People are very appreciative of our approach, even though they may be disappointed by not being approved. I have spoken to many people who have either opened other brands, or have been approved by other brands, and they have been led to believe it will be easy if they just follow the franchisor’s model. No business is ever that easy, and many times franchisors do not convey the huge commitment that is required at all levels to be successful.

What's the biggest change you've seen in the industry since you started out in franchise development?

The ever-changing and expanding economy is helping individuals achieve their goals due to more access to financing. This has also caused some potential challenges because everyone seems to want to franchise these days. With so many options available for potential franchisees, it is more important than ever that they apply careful due diligence before making any investment with any brand.

What makes a great franchisee?

Here at Freshii, our franchise partners have to be great in three fundamental areas in which we call OMP – Operations, Marketing, People. We provide our franchisees with a comprehensive playbook to ensure successful operations within the four walls. If they follow our system and have a commitment to operational excellence, then they should be successful at operating the store. The very best franchise partners are not only great operators, but they are also fantastic marketers. They should never stop marketing the store! They need to make sure that everyone who has the potential to walk or drive to their store is given a reason to visit and have a great guest experience. Unfortunately, this is an area where most franchisees are the weakest. Many believe that marketing is a singular event and take the Field of Dreams approach that if they build it, people will come. That’s obviously not true. The best franchisees know that you never stop marketing.

Finally, great franchisees are great leaders for their hourly team members. A great team that is focused on the whole guest experience can overcome the daily challenges that come with the restaurant industry. You can be a great operator and great marketer, but if you do not become the employer of choice in your market, it won’t matter. The greatest franchise partners are phenomenal leaders in front of their hourly team members. They are supportive of their goals, coach them when needed and support them at all times. They also have extremely low turnover and very high guest satisfaction scores. Great teams can overcome the daily challenges that occur in the restaurant business.

What's the number one thing that sells franchises?

That’s an easy one – it is the fulfillment of Freshii’s mission to Help the Citizens of the World Live Better by Making Healthy Food Convenient and Affordable. Our guests love the diversity of our menu and eat at Freshii multiple times a week, even multiple times a day. That is because they can come in and choose from the dozens of menus items we have in different categories – or customize their own meal – and love everything they have. Our guests love the total Freshii experience, but it is our food and menu innovation strategy that sells them on the brand.