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FranDev Players: David Brand, Senior Director of Franchise Development, FranDevCo

As a former franchisee, this director of franchise development says he knows what brands need to do to succeed.

Before he sold franchises for a living, David Brand was a franchisee himself. His experience  gives him a unique perspective on the industry because he knows what it’s like to be a franchisee, but also understands what it takes to be a good franchisor. 

Today, the 50-year-old is senior director of franchise development at FranDevCo, a company that partners with emerging and mature brands to provide franchise sales, management, and process guidance to generate sustainable growth.

What Brand likes most about the industry is the people. “It's a very unique world with a lot of really smart, passionate people,” he says. “I've never seen a more connected community who care about each other. They’re very smart, brilliant, and motivated.” 

1851 Franchise asked him for other insights on the franchise development world today. 

1851 Franchise: Tell me about what you do with your organization?

David Brand: When we bring a brand in, I do a detailed review and get to know the Franchise Disclosure Document inside and out in order to learn everything about the brand. How do they generate their leads? What's the customer experience? What's the gap they're solving? And then, most importantly, who are they looking for — who's the right fit for them as a franchisee?  

1851: How did you get into franchising?

Brand: My background was in the rental car business, until 9/11, which really impacted the industry and I got downsized. I got a call from the headhunter that needed an operations manager for a franchise.  And I'll be honest with you, the only thing I knew about franchising was McDonald's and NFL football. But that was like my MBA.  We were bought out by private equity and they cut our salary in half. So I bought a franchise. I think that had an impact on the success of my career right now because I've been on both sides of it. 

1851: What are the keys to consistent growth for a brand?

Brand: The tighter the operational structure, the better the brand is going to be. The brand has to have all aspects of the business figured out, and really train the local franchise well. When you're buying a franchise, you don't want to reinvent the wheel. 

1851: What do people want to see in a franchise ownership opportunity?

Brand: I think the biggest turn-on is having impact in their local community. We're lucky we get to work with really sharp people who have worked in corporate environments who get to a point when they're looking for a franchise culture. You're seeing a lot of great people saying, ‘I want to make great income, but I also want to make sure that I can take care of my people and also take care of the community.’

1851: What are the hurdles to franchise growth right now? Is it COVID-19?

Brand: I think with food and fitness, it's been tough. When COVID-19 hit, I didn't know what was going to happen. It scared me. But to be honest with you, I've never been busier. I've been very lucky to oversee the majority of placements for an oil change franchise, Strickland Brothers. I've been very lucky to bring over 100 new units this year. Also, Strickland Brothers is a very cool business. It’s a brick-and-mortar business, which is your most-stable investment, but with a service aspect. I think they're solving a gap right now because people don't want to go into a dealership, stand at the counter, shuttle back and forth and wait a full day for an oil change. At Strickland Brothers, you can stay in your car, keep your windows up, and be out in 10 minutes or less.

1851: What are your biggest goals or plans for 2021?

Brand: 2020 was my best year by far. I think it’s going to continue with 2021. You just get people thinking, I'm just going muscle through this until things go back to normal, which I really hope and pray they do.