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Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa’s New President and Chief Development Officer Sees a Bright Future for Health and Wellness Franchising

After two decades in restaurant franchising, John Teza is making the switch to a well-positioned brand in a promising segment.

By Ben Warren1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 3:15PM 08/25/20

Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, the 475-plus-unit spa franchise that has expanded steadily across markets throughout the U.S. and Canada over the past fifteen years, has a new president and chief development officer. John Teza joined the brand in August, leaving the foodservice segment behind for the spa and wellness category, perhaps signaling the start of a larger shift in franchising.

John Teza has been involved in the franchise industry since the late 90’s as both an operator, and more recently, as part of an institutional investment team. He has been an active advocate for both the franchise and restaurant industries, serving on the boards of both the IFA Foundation and the National Restaurant Association. Teza is also an investor in several technology companies aimed at improving operational efficiency in the retail, service, and restaurant sectors. But it was his work with Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, the NJ based franchisor with 1,750+ locations and nearly $1.2B in system where he made a name for himself as one of the most effective development professionals in franchising. In his time as chief development officer for Jersey Mike’s, the sandwich brand was the fastest-growing chain in America for three consecutive years. 

Teza is the first to admit that unit growth is not always the best indicator of a franchise system’s overall health. In fact, “from a franchisee’s perspective, rapid unit growth is often a reason not to join a brand,” Teza said, “as early-stage systems and skillsets are often exhausted, and unit growth becomes a priority unto itself.” That said, Teza referred to the Jersey Mike’s growth during this period as “pretty remarkable.”

In Hand & Stone, Teza sees many of the same characteristics that led to the restaurant brand’s long-term success: a firm commitment to hiring and training, a diverse product offering, elevated brand positioning and marketing spend, the presence of critical business intelligence platforms that support scale, and most importantly, a commitment to support the communities in which it operates.

“Jersey Mike’s was already a mature and successful company. We built upon a really high performing team, attracting some of the best multi-unit developers in the country,” Teza explained. “At the same time, we focused hard on enabling our successful existing area developers and franchise owners to continue their growth with the company.”

At Hand & Stone, Teza said he sees a brand similarly well positioned to lead a consumer category poised for significant growth. “Todd [Leff, Hand & Stone’s chief executive officer] and the Hand & Stone team have built an incredibly strong organization, with a foundation based on a diversified, robust, and innovative consumer offering, industry leading unit-economics, passionate franchise partners and team members, and a commitment to elevating the safety and security of its customers and practitioners. By focusing on professionalism, affordability, and convenience, along with promoting a membership-based model, Hand and Stone has created new demand for spa services in the middle market.

Hand & Stone’s growth strategy has been deliberate and consistent, something Teza said is key to long term success.

“They’ve grown the brand the right way,” he said. “The focus has been on franchise owner success, not growth for the sake of growth. They have recruited high-quality and experienced franchise owners, have remained committed to a successful site selection profile, and are mindful of maintaining a business model in which their partners can thrive.” He added, “Todd’s strategy of remaining focused on core growth markets and limiting the size of development agreements for new partners has enabled the brand to maximize its reach in existing markets, while maintaining significant white space in new and emerging markets.”

Crucially, Teza said Hand & Stone’s operational model is also well positioned to thrive in a rapidly shifting consumer landscape. By introducing a number of wellness and skin care services, all performed in one location by a small staff, Hand & Stone has secured multiple revenue streams that complement one another and can buoy each other should an unforeseen event — like a pandemic — affect one or multiple services. In recent years, new skin care services have been the fastest growing segment of the business.

“It’s a crucial strategic differentiator, from both a consumer and a business model perspective,” Teza explained. “Our customers have multiple channels to access the brand and can deepen their relationship over time. From a business model perspective, the diversified revenue stream is an advantage, as is the nature of the recurring membership and gift card revenues.” 

At a time when the future of so many businesses remains uncertain, diversification is key. Teza said, “What is absolutely foundational about Hand & Stone is that the model is already diversified at its core.”

Teza’s decision to join Hand & Stone reflects more than the brand’s own accomplishments and positioning. The entire segment, Teza says, is primed for significant growth.

“Consumers are more conscious of their health and well-being than ever before and are looking for proactive and affordable ways to make their lives better. The worldwide $4.5T wellness economy continues to outpace overall GDP growth and the pandemic has created significant shifts in the overall competitive landscape. Hand & Stone is well positioned to benefit from these trends”

As Teza steps into the role of president and CDO for Hand & Stone, he says his primary focus is “keeping up the good work.”

“They have an incredible foundation of execution in place and there is very little that needs to be re-tooled.” Teza explained. “We’re going to look at opportunities to optimize or amplify certain aspects of the brand, but the goal is really just to build on the team’s success.”

Of course, foodservice franchising isn’t going anywhere. Even with all of the challenges the coronavirus crisis has brought upon the segment, Teza said it remains in a strong position. But he has little doubt that health and wellness is the industry to be in, thanks in large part to the strides made by Hand & Stone.

“I love the restaurant industry, and I’m excited about some of the changes and opportunities we’re seeing in that segment right now,” Teza said. “But there’s nothing more exciting than joining a brand that’s on the leading edge of transformational consumer trends, and that’s what Hand & Stone is doing. They’ve made advancements not just for their brand, but for the entire industry, and I couldn’t be more excited to get involved.”


Hand & Stone is a 450-plus unit massage and facial spa franchise with a mission to bring massage and facial services to the masses. Launched in 2004, Hand & Stone now has locations in 31 states and Canada. The brand has been named number #1 in the spa category by Entrepreneur Magazine for 2020, ranked number #8 on Forbes' Best Franchises to Buy list for 2019 in the high investment category and is the fastest growing spa concept in the country. For more information on franchising with Hand & Stone, please visit