For this Chief Development Officer, success is a mix of passion and common business sense
David Bloom has had a long, successful career in franchise development. For the Chief Development Officer of Capriotti’s, success is a mix of passion and common business sense. Check out his interview with 1851 below:
How did you fall into franchising?
I began my career in franchising as a franchisee over 25 years ago with Quiznos Subs. Quiznos only had 18 shops in Denver, Colorado when my partners and I met them. We opened the first locations outside of Denver and pioneered developing the brand throughout Texas, Louisiana and Chicago as multi-unit owners and area developers. I was then invited to join the corporate leadership team to put together an accelerated development program, which became extremely successful. We went on to open over 5,000 restaurants in 28 countries when the brand was sold to a large institutional investment group. Over the last 25 years, I have had the opportunity to build on that early success work with numerous brands in a wide variety of industries, both domestically and internationally; but the lessons I learned from so many great early mentors and people that believed in me as a business leader, entrepreneur and franchise owner have never left me, and I have worked to do the same for many others over the years.
What makes you love franchising?
I love the great friendships I have made along the way, as well as the constant challenge and opportunity to develop world-class brands and businesses that really change people’s lives. I have gotten to know, learn from and work with so many great people around the world these past years. I love what I get to do and whom I get to work with and for even more today, and hope to be able to do it for many years to come.
What do you wish would change in franchising?
There’s a constant stream of new people that are all too happy to tell you how to build success or to sell you a product before they have put in the time to build a solid reputation and a track record of success. All of the people that I know have built great, long lasting careers, outstanding reputation as leaders and successful businesses owners, have done so over the course of many years. Most of them, like myself may have failed numerous times along the way, but they have always maintained their reputation, integrity and commitment to learning, growing and giving back along the way.
What makes a great franchisee?
Great question, but I would say that the universal pillars for franchisee success regardless of industry are:
- Passion for the brand and a commitment to long-term success. First time business owners must be prepared for both good times and bad, since over the life cycle of any business, those that expect and prepare for the unexpected will usually reach and even exceed their goals in the long run. Why is it that so many people of diverse backgrounds and origins, starting with little to nothing, have been able to build such incredibly successful franchise organizations? I would suggest that it was their passion and commitment to their vision and mission that first determined their success, and that they added the skill and knowledge required along the way by partnering with great brands and people along the way.
- Possessing what I usually refer to as “common business sense” is essential. Past experience and a demonstrated success in other entrepreneurial ventures, franchise ownership or operating a related business, leading teams, participating in start-ups and/or working on other high performance teams are extremely helpful. An understanding of and hands on experience with the basics of leadership, marketing, financial management, mentoring & coaching of others and customer service skills are also really important and can be gleaned from a variety of life and personal experiences. I have had the pleasure of working alongside many professional athletes, sophisticated investors and private equity groups, former military leaders, successful entrepreneurs and people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences in the business world, all of whom leveraged their experience and strength of character to create great success in the franchise industry.
- For existing business owners and multi-unit owners expanding in to a new franchise business I would add the element of “fit.” Does the new brand and business model “fit” within your existing organization’s goals, strategy, expertise, infrastructure and expectations in financial terms? Equally important for these investors is alignment with the vision and values of the senior management team and ownership of the new brand.
What’s the No. 1 thing that sells franchisees?
The number one intangible asset I think people subconsciously look for when investing in a franchise is the reputation or the “brand equity” of that brand amongst consumers, current franchise owners and within the franchise and business community. This research can take the form of seeking validation amongst existing owners, friends, investors, landlords, lenders, trade publications and especially the brand’s public image on their web suite, on Google searches, their social and traditional media presence or even on consumer review sites such as Yelp. Great reputations are earned over time through a lot of hard work, and the commitment to doing the right things, in the right way, at the right time with the right people. Once earned, it acts as a magnet to other quality potential owners and investors looking to join a truly great brand. These brands have the ability to attract the best owners, get the best sites and inevitably obtain the attention and admiration they deserve.