WHY I BOUGHT
Why I Bought: How Wayne and Michaeleen Jensen Became the First Kitchen Wise Franchise Owners
The Jensens have turned Kitchen Wise into a successful family business thanks to the professionalism, support infrastructure and technology that Premium Service Brands has brought to the brand.
In 2019 multi-brand franchisor Premium Service Brands added a new franchise to its thriving network of service brands. Kitchen Wise, a kitchen-remodeling franchise, distinguishes itself from competitors by focusing exclusively on low-cost but high-impact cosmetic upgrades rather than full rehabs. The brand has quickly proven to be another savvy acquisition for Premium Service Brands, whose portfolio already includes some of the most sought-after brands in their industry. This year, amid an ongoing pandemic that continues to keep Americans at home, Kitchen Wise’s value is more pronounced than ever.
Prior to the acquisition, husband-and-wife team Wayne and Michaeleen Jensen were the first franchisees to join the Kitchen Wise brand with their operation in Salt Lake City.
“While in college, our family had a garage shelving business that we worked in to get them through school,” said Wayne Jensen. “After college, I became a school teacher. We moved around a lot, and each time we moved our family was always operating this shelving business as a second income. When the 2008 crash hit, I lost my teaching job. I went back to school to become a medical physicist, but that fell through and five years ago I couldn't find work anywhere.”
Wayne and Michaeleen moved back to Utah where Wayne’s brothers had kept the garage shelving business up on the side. Wayne and Michaeleen took that on full-time, and a year into it he had a client who asked if they had ever heard of Kitchen Wise. Her boyfriend was one of the owners of the Kitchen Wise brand, who were interested in beginning to franchise.
“We loved the concept and decided to test the products,” said Jensen. “We liked that the business dealt with existing kitchens and that it offered a very streamlined service that almost all homeowners needed. With our experience in the garage business, we had been in the organization game but had never worked inside the house at all with a finished product. The more we looked into the offering, the more we were impressed with the construction and ease of the Kitchen Wise system.”
In recent years, kitchens have been the most popular room for home renovations (just edging out bathrooms, according to The National Association of Realtors); the problem for most homeowners is that kitchens are also among the most expensive renovation projects. Kitchen Wise solves that problem by providing strategic upgrades that transform kitchens without any construction or demolition.
The key to Kitchen Wise’s inexpensive upgrade model, according to Brit Roberts, brand lead for Premium Service Brands, is its lineup of products and vendors. By sourcing high-end products from a roster of reliable vendors, Roberts says Kitchen Wise is able to provide the kinds of dramatic upgrades that typically require full gut rehabs to achieve. Once the products are selected, all that’s left to do is install them, which is a much faster and less invasive process than traditional renovations.
Impressed by the business model, the Jensens flew out to Wisconsin to meet with the Kitchen Wise corporate team and eventually signed on to become the brand’s first franchisees. Since the brand was new to franchising, the Jensens say they struggled to find the support they initially needed to succeed. That all changed the day Premium Service Brands acquired the Kitchen Wise brand.
“One day, we got a call out of the blue and were told that Kitchen Wise was being sold to another company,” said Jensen. “Once we looked into PSB and talked to them, we were impressed with what we were hearing. PSB made the transition very easy. It didn't take us long to realize that being part of Premium Service Brands was going to be really, really fantastic and that CEO Paul Flick really knew what he was doing. When we went to convention and saw the company as a whole and learned what they were doing to tie it all together and support us and the other franchises, it was extremely exciting.”
Now that Kitchen Wise is part of the Premium Service Brands family of home service brands, the franchise benefits from a range of new support systems and resources designed to make franchisees as successful as possible. Those resources include marketing, technology, routing and scheduling software, a contact center and a range of other essential operational systems that most independent business owners — and even franchisees in other systems — spend much of their time and money building and maintaining.
To help ensure that all of Kitchen Wise’s franchisees are successful, PSB also provides dedicated franchise business coaches who work closely with franchisees on every aspect of the business. “Franchisee coaches are essential to our model,” Roberts said. “When a franchisee faces a challenge, they aren’t alone — they’ve got a partner. That’s one thing that really separates PSB from other franchisors. If a franchisee needs help with their P&L sheet, we’ll go through every detail; if they are having trouble hiring, we’ll help out with recruiting — whatever it takes to help them grow.”
That support — and the fact that all of Kitchen Wise’s installations are performed by subcontractors — allows the brand’s franchisees to focus their efforts on growing their business.
“We went from having two people on the Kitchen Wise team to being part of a multi-brand company with a track record of success,” said Jensen. “We were trained on PSB’s systems and now we have ways to track orders, for example. We came away from that first convention knowing we had a huge opportunity, and that has definitely proven to be true. Whether it be the PSB team or our business coaches, they’re always coming up with new ways to help us improve, sharing best practices and providing new tools.”
The Jensens have been Kitchen Wise owners for two-and-a-half years now, and part of Premium Service Brands for a little over a year. With the new systems in place, the Jensens couldn’t be more excited to continue running Kitchen Wise as a family business, with all four of their children helping out in different ways, including their daughter Hannah working as a photographer in charge of their marketing and social media.
The combination of Kitchen Wise’s uniquely lucrative model and Premium Service Brand’s unparalleled support has made the franchise one of the most sought-after opportunities in the industry. Now, Kitchen Wise is actively seeking qualified franchisees like the Jensens in markets across the country. With ten territories spoken for and a goal to add 20–25 new franchisees each year, the team is preparing to leverage the brand’s strengths for widespread — but strategic — growth.
“The greatest part about franchise ownership with Kitchen Wise is the joy we see on clients’ faces when they realize how organized their kitchen has become,” said Jensen. “They know their home life will be so much better now, and that is universally true for almost every customer — we leave them with a better lifestyle.”
The initial investment to open a Kitchen Wise ranges from $101,875 to $144,000. This includes a $60,000 franchise fee. The brand is actively seeking franchise owners in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, San Antonio, Boston and Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information on franchising with Kitchen Wise, please visit https://www.premiumservicebrands.com/kitchen-wise/.