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Meet the New Scalable Franchise Model from Pet Wants

By starting with a mobile, events-based franchise and moving on to opening a brick-and-mortar storefront within a year, Pet Wants franchisees can keep overhead costs down, generate brand awareness and recoup their investment faster.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 4:16PM 11/03/22

Founded more than a decade ago, Pet Wants, the only national provider of pet food freshly delivered to customers, has become a household name for pet owners and franchise professionals across the U.S. As a result, more and more savvy entrepreneurs are joining the Pet Wants’ brand and entering the booming pet food market. This year, the Pet Wants team is shifting its strategy to make its business model even stronger, moving to a more scalable retail model that starts mobile and builds to a full-blown retail pet store model in a way that doesn’t break the bank.

Pet Wants franchise owners will now start out with a mobile or event-based business and focus on acquiring subscription delivery customers and building connections with local pet parents in their first year. At the end of their first year, franchisees will add the launch of their retail pet store and grooming center that sells Pet Wants food, custom chews and treats, as well as supplements. 

“Our model used to give an option: mobile owner or a retail owner,” said Pet Wants VP of Operations Paul Kamm. “But what we saw was that a franchise owner’s volume would increase significantly when they opened a physical location and gave customers the opportunity to visit us anytime they wanted. So, our new franchise model going forward will be starting with mobile, and then moving to a brick-and-mortar location after a year. Our focus is on making our franchisees as successful as possible, and we learned that a physical location makes a huge difference.”

In phase one of this strategy, Pet Wants owners will open the mobile event-based franchise, which is designed to help build local brand awareness as they take advantage of farmers’ markets, dog shows, community events and festivals. Events like these are a great and inexpensive way to introduce Pet Wants food to a large number of customers and an easy way to acquire new subscription and delivery clients, Kamm says. 

As the business grows, the mobile unit is designed to transition into phase two by easily scaling into a full retail storefront operation that works in conjunction with mobile delivery. One year after launching in the mobile event-based phase, franchisees have created connections by making deliveries in a Pet Wants vehicle and attending community events. This growing customer base will pay off when it comes time to open the retail store. But Kamm notes that the Pet Wants storefront isn’t just another retail pet chain. 

“We are not a traditional pet store — we are a dog and cat nutrition and wellness store,” said Kamm. “We don’t have a huge array of products, which allows us to avoid the costly overhead associated with larger pet chain franchises. Many of our stores occupy less than the industry average and require fewer employees as well, coming in at around 1200 square feet.”

These factors help make the Pet Wants franchise remarkably affordable. Startup costs for a Pet Wants franchise range from $42,500 to $202,000, which is tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars less than big-box pet franchises. 

While the cost to start the franchise is affordable, the concept offers a high value proposition. For example, Kamm says that Pet Wants franchisees can take advantage of dual revenue streams once they open their brick-and-mortar store: retail sales (both in-person and online through the brand’s eCommerce platform) and grooming services. 

“There is a synergy between them — most of our customers are looking for both food and grooming, and they want total wellness,” Kamm said. “As customers get to know the value of Pet Wants food and the impact it has on their pets’ lives, they spread the word. That drives traffic to your website and into the store.”

When it comes to the simplicity of the operations, Pet Wants exclusive premium fresh pet foods are manufactured in the brand’s U.S. facility and shipped in small batches directly to Pet Wants franchises, which means franchisees enjoy exclusivity when it comes to customer demand. Franchisees will also have access to a training and development curriculum that provides the tools to become an expert in the field of pet nutrition so they can offer more than just great products. The team’s expert knowledge will help franchisees establish credibility when they talk to prospective customers about their pets’ needs. 

Overall, Kamm says this new scalable strategy is primarily about meeting customers where they are. “Some customers love the home delivery, while other people would rather come in, do some talking, and pick things out themselves,” he said. “With this new strategy, we are offering both methods and appealing to a larger pool of clientele, especially because we can add on grooming services as well.” 

Incoming Pet Wants franchisees can start with a brick-and-mortar storefront if they’d prefer, Kamm says, but most owners will start with mobile, limiting overhead and providing them with the opportunity to get started with building their retail location and recouping their investment faster. The Pet Wants team will also be hands-on every step of the way to ensure franchisees can pair up with local real estate experts to find the ideal start and get the build-out ready to go.

Now, with plans to have over 200 units open by 2024 and a goal of signing 60 new locations in 2022, the time has never been better for savvy entrepreneurs to leverage the support of Pet Wants’ proven brand and scalable business model to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams

The total investment necessary to begin the operation of a Pet Wants Franchise is between $42,500 to $202,000, including a $42,500 franchise fee that can be earned back through the brand’s Winner’s Circle program. For more information, visit: