Philip Schram: Lessons Learned in Franchising
Philip Schram: Lessons Learned in Franchising

After nearly 10 years with Buffalo Wings & Rings, here are a few of Philip Schram's ingredients to create a recipe for success.

While most young boys dream of becoming an astronaut, a firefighter or the next big basketball star, Philip Schram’s vision for his grown-up-self followed a much different trajectory—for as long as he can remember, this Buffalo Wings & Rings executive always wanted to be an entrepreneur.

Born in Paris, France, Schram quickly noticed that in his native country, it’s often difficult to be an entrepreneur. While most adults went on to work for the government, Schram struggled to find anyone around him who was in the business of business. After spending 10 years hunting down the right opportunity, he found what he was looking for—4,130 miles away in Cincinnati, Ohio.

As soon as Schram obtained his green card, he didn’t waste any time getting started as an entrepreneur. After buying Buffalo Wings & Rings in 2005 with a coworker, Schram worked his way through the company wearing many hats—first as president and CEO, then as the executive vice president and chief development officer. The experience had its ups and downs in the beginning, but through it all, he’s helped the company come out on top in the sports restaurant franchise industry. With 65 units globally, the Cincinnati-based company is breaking the mold when it comes to merging elevated family dining with sports and chef-inspired food.

When it comes to franchising, here are a few of Schram’s ingredients to create a recipe for success.

1. Be selective when choosing your franchisees.

“Proper training and selection of franchisees is paramount. Make sure you do your homework so that you know exactly what you’re getting when you bring someone on to represent your brand. As a franchisor, this is not always easy, and at times you might feel like you have to compromise,” Schram said. “These are the people who will be out there in the field, representing the business firsthand. Make sure you can completely entrust them with this important responsibility.”

2. Be transparent.

“In my own experience, I’ve been in charge of recruiting, and I’ve seen just how much conflict can arise when there are different expectations. Make sure people know exactly what they’re getting into—from income and operations to what their work-life balance will be like,” Schram said. “Be as open and transparent as possible to make sure that people won’t be disappointed.”

3. Learn to say “no.”

“To grow in size, you need to first grow in quality. Sometimes ideas may come your way that may not always be right for the brand,” Schram. “It’s OK to turn ideas down. In the end, it’ll be in the best interest of the company.”

4. Embrace change.

“It’s so important to always be evolving. This is the biggest factor in remaining relevant to your customer base. If you have something that is working right now, in this moment, don’t get complacent. Always be one step ahead. Think of the next generation of customers and what they might like.”