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How it Took Moving to the U.S. for this Entrepreneur to Achieve His Dreams

Buffalo Wings & Rings co-founder and CEO Philip Schram realized his American dream through franchising.

The franchising industry exemplifies the epitome of the American dream. It’s accessible, varied and offers a proven business model. For many, the industry provides the opportunity to reach a level of success they hadn’t even imagined for themselves. Philip Schram, the chief development officer of Buffalo Wings & Rings, had not only dreamt of business ownership, but fastidiously worked towards it, only to see the doors close over and over again without a window in sight. It wasn’t until he came across franchising that his future of entrepreneurship was truly realized.     

Schram made a giant leap of faith by moving from France, where he was born and raised, to the U.S. to pursue his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. It wasn’t a lack of drive that kept him from owning a business, but a lack of connections and necessary resources. According to Schram, it’s much less encouraged for individuals to start their own business in Europe.

“My dream to own a business started when I went to middle school,” says Schram. “When I was in college, I was part of an organization of students who wanted to be entrepreneurs. I couldn’t manage to start a business right out of school and I got a lot of push back from people. I was not born in a family of entrepreneurs, so I wasn’t connected. In France, connections are everything. You weren’t going to come across a website that said, ‘Business for sale,’ the way you do here.”            

But as one could imagine, it wasn’t as easy as simply moving to the U.S., founding a business and becoming an overnight success. September 11th took place very shortly after Schram and his wife found themselves in the States. “Immigration froze and it was incredibly challenging to get a green card,” he says. “Very few families were able to stay.” Fortunately, the Schrams were granted their green card and have been proud U.S. citizens for 16 years.

First on the Schram’s agenda: assimilate to U.S. culture. “We wanted to make new friends in the U.S., not just be friends with other families from France,” says Schram. “Business-wise, I think France is much more individualistic. It’s more about me. We had to learn the importance of teamwork. So when I came across the franchising industry, it felt like the perfect fit for a new U.S citizen. Franchising has been designed by Americans for Americans, with teamwork at the core of the industry.”

Jumping all in, Schram was determined to live out his American dream, which meant business ownership that was scalable. The U.S., Schram says, is the perfect market for franchising because regulations and streamlining give businesses the ability to expand while maintaining streamlined management, even if a location is on the other side of the country.

“The American dream is to be successful, to have security and to be able to be proud of what you’ve accomplished,” says Schram. “My wife and I are really in love with the U.S. and the franchising industry has made if possible for us to live out all of those things.”