Having served under two industry titans, Anderson has honed his skills in leadership and franchise development.
Bob Anderson, CEO of Jimboy’s Tacos, has been involved in the world of franchising for over two decades. In that time, he has watched the industry grow and evolve into the sophisticated landscape that it is today. Anderson was introduced to the industry through the United Franchise Group, where he worked as a sales representative before being promoted to regional vice president of one of the group's brands in Dallas. Today, as the CEO of Jimboy’s Tacos, Anderson says he still draws on those early experiences in the industry to inform his leadership style.
1851 connected with Anderson to learn more about his professional journey and find out what qualities he believes make for a great franchisee.
How did you first get involved with the franchising industry?
I have been very fortunate to work under and learn from two titans who have put a major mark on franchising throughout the world. Initially, I was seeking an opportunity where I could utilize my business development skills, and I was introduced by a family member to Ray Titus, who is one of the world’s leading franchise authorities and the founder and CEO of United Franchise Group (or UFG). UFG consists of a number of award-winning business-to-business brands. I was hired by Ray as a sales representative and was quickly promoted to regional vice president for the Sign-A-Rama brand in Dallas, Texas. Today, there is not a day that goes by that I do not draw on the leadership, development skills and lessons I learned during the time that I worked with Ray. I then had an opportunity to work under Jim Treliving, the founder and CEO of Boston Pizza Restaurants, as the managing director of development. Jim was the ultimate visionary, and he had a profound impact on my ability to create a vision and go after it.
What do you love about the industry?
There are so many aspects of the franchise industry that I really love, and they get me excited about my work each and every day. However, if I need to narrow it down to one thing, it is undoubtedly the entrepreneur’s spirit. I find that the energy, enthusiasm and optimism of entrepreneurs can be challenging at times, at other times it can even be treacherous, but when it is harnessed correctly, it is exhilarating and incredibly rewarding.
What do you wish you could change in franchising?
Overall, I believe that companies and professionals in the business of franchising, as well as the IFA, have made significant progress in the promotion of the value of a franchise growth model. Like any good business strategy, franchising is not the solution for every brand, nor is it a growth model for every business. I would encourage anyone who is considering franchising their business to seek guidance from experienced industry professionals and legal council.
What's the biggest change you've seen in the industry since you started out in franchise development?
There have been many changes in franchise development over the past 20-plus years, and the landscape for franchisees has shifted dramatically. Most significant would be the emergence of multi-brand and multi-unit operators, as well as well capitalized young entrepreneurs. Additionally, the sophistication level and manner in which a franchise candidate can conduct research and can aggregate information about a brand and franchise opportunity is revealing. This requires an experienced, knowledgeable and capable development team.
What makes a great franchisee?
First and foremost is that we recognize that great franchisees come from many different walks of life. With that said, I believe that there are three primary common characteristics that are shared by successful business owners. For starters, they have passion. I’m talking about an unwavering passion for their product and brand. This cannot be overstated. The second characteristic that they share is that they are highly focused. Their purpose is clear and simple, and their actions are intentional. Lastly, they build strong teams. The presence of leadership, coaching and communication skills is omnipresent.
What's the number one thing that sells franchises?
This is a question that I get asked all of the time, and I suggest that it is the wrong question to ask because we are not interested in just selling franchise fees to anyone. The question we ask our team is, ‘how do we create enough value that operators will continuously open new restaurants?’ Unfortunately, there is not just one thing. However, the one place to start would be on the people. Specifically, having the right people on your team, identifying your core customer and aligning with operators who are a good fit to the culture of your brand.