I, For One, Welcome Our New Potato Overlords
I, For One, Welcome Our New Potato Overlords

Potato franchise game continues to heat up.

You heard it here first, folks – potatoes will rule the roost in 2015.

When we spotlighted hot trends for this year, spuds were at the top of the list, as personified by French Fry Heaven – a franchise specializing in, you guessed it, French fries.

“There are only a handful of us doing what we do,” French Fry Heaven CEO Scott Nelowet said. “We do not look at others entering the fry industry as competition, but we welcome them as entrepreneurs who are helping expand the idea.”

Now another franchise is playing the potato game, albeit in a different direction.

“Can Potatopia Make the Potato Sexy?” asks a recent headline from Franchise Times. While the answer is almost certainly a resounding “ew, no,” it’s one more example of potatoes staking claim in the franchise world.

After losing his advertising business in the throes of the Great Recession, Allen Dikker decided to launch his own fast-casual restaurant. However, unlike your standard eatery, this one would be focused squarely on eveyrone’s favorite starchy vegetable.

“I didn’t want to do anything that’s been done before — I don’t want a pizza place or a salad concept or a burger concept,” Dikker told Franchise Times. “If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do something completely different and unique and I’m going to take the risk as well, because it could very well flop.”

While it may seem like a concept focused solely on baked potatoes would get boring for consumers, Dikker discovered a truth known by Nelowet – the taste of potatoes can be transformed by very little. A tiny bit of sauce here, an extra topping there – the possibilities are seemingly endless.

Dikker has slowly entered the franchise game, but hopes to have 10 locations, three of which will be franchisee-owned, by the end of 2015.

According to William Bulmer, president of Potatopia brand adviser Progressive Financial Planning Services, the humble potato will elevate the franchise thanks to everyone’s favorite demographic: Millennials.

“Allen’s concept fits that niche extremely well,” Bulmer told Franchise Times. “You spend seven or eight bucks and you’ll be stuffed when you leave. It’s inexpensive, cool and something you can talk about with your friends.”

While Bulmer may be hilariously overestimating how cool Millennials find potatoes, there’s no denying they’re a staple of nearly everyone’s diet, whether baked, fried or mashed.

The more things change, the more America’s love of tubers stays the same.