1851 caught up with the franchise development professionals of various brands to learn more about the state of the industry and their predictions for the year ahead.
1851: What's the number one thing franchisees are looking for in the conversations that you're having with prospects?
Ben Woodruff, VP Development at WOOPS!: There are really two main buyers for us: an investor seeking ROI, or someone who cares about the mission. We have a passion-driven brand, and a lot of our candidates love confections, baking, macarons and the café environment.
1851: Do you have an ideal franchisee in your system, and what are their qualities?
Woodruff: We have a lot of great franchisees. The ideal one for us is someone well-capitalized, with a business background. They have leadership qualities,the ability to scale and build a team, and hire properly. Our franchisees aren’t really working behind the counters, they are focused on growth and development. We do tons of events and non-retail things like pop-up carts, so the ideal franchisee is someone willing to get out in the community.
1851: What's the biggest challenge facing franchise development right now and how are you overcoming it?
Woodruff: The economy. We’re competing with the stock market and the employment market. To overcome it, we are selling the shit out of our brand. Sometimes you can’t win the battle, but with our brand and all of the opportunities to generate revenue outside of the retail location, that's a big selling point. If they don't have the best location on the planet, they can buy four pop-up carts and run those all over town, they don’t need to keep opening stores. They enjoy the ability to grow and not be tied to the retail store.
1851: Why should franchisees invest in your industry and in your brand specifically, and why should they invest now?
Woodruff: It’s non-retail, and we’re growing. French macarons are gaining in popularity. You think you see them everywhere, but to get decent ones, most markets are highly fragmented and highly underserved, creating a great opportunity for franchisees.