1851 Franchise sat down with Doug Wong, Senior Director of Global Franchise Development at Denny’s, to talk about his experience in the franchise industry
One of the most iconic names in franchising, Denny’s is consistently ranked among the most valuable franchise properties in the foodservice segment. The diner brand has been growing for over 50 years and now maintains over 1,600 restaurants across 14 countries.
Denny’s senior director of global franchising, Doug Wong, has worked closely with a number of the brand’s highest net-worth franchisee prospects to open new units across the world. Wong talked to 1851 Franchise about why he enjoys meeting prospects before they sign on and the importance for prospective franchisees to research a brand before investing.
1851: How did you get into franchising?
Wong: I had a job at Pizza Hut, and in ’91 I was asked to relocate to Wichita, Kansas to head up their non-traditional licensing department. From there, it was a pretty natural transition into development, which has been my specialty ever since. I worked in development for a number of different brands before I was hired by Denny’s in 2005.
1851: What do you love about franchising?
Wong: I love meeting potential owners. It’s exciting to talk with them about what they are looking for and then watch their growth after they’ve signed on. It’s amazing to watch that dream of ownership realized for so many people.
1851: What do you wish would change in franchising?
Wong: I think franchising is still largely misunderstood by most people. I’d like to see more effort to educate the public on what franchising is and to educate potential investors on the basic tenets of the franchise agreement and the expectations of a franchisor-franchisee relationship.
1851: What makes a great franchisee?
Wong: The best franchisees are the ones that have really put in their due diligence before signing on and have realistic expectations about what their experience as a franchisee is going to be like. That’s the most important baseline, then you add an unrelenting drive and passion for the brand, and you’ve got a top-performing franchisee.
1851: What’s the most important thing that drives a prospective franchisee to sign up?
Wong: The three most important factors to attract franchisees—particularly for a legacy brand such as ours—is brand health, brand growth, and brand relevancy. Those are the three elements that are going to tip the scales for any prospect who has done any research.