Founded in the suburbs of Chicago in 2010, Honey-Jam Cafe quickly found an eager customer base for their upscale breakfast and lunch dishes served in a friendly, casual atmosphere. Seven years later, the brand decided to grow beyond their two initial Chicagoland locations and take on their first franchise partner. To help them through the potentially daunting transition, Honey-Jam Cafe enlisted the help of SMB Franchise Advisors, the Philadelphia-based franchise-consulting firm specializing in emerging franchises.
Caroline Brannan, Honey-Jam Cafe’s CEO, said her team knew the brand would need help with the transition right away, but they weren’t sure where to find it until their lawyer recommended SMB.
“We knew that as we moved into franchising, it was imperative that we did everything right,” Brannan said. “That means the best systems, operating procedures, manuals and training for our franchisees. That’s a lot, and there’s little room for error. We didn’t have the time to dedicate to putting together a rock solid FDD and operations manual, so our lawyers recommended SMB.”
Dawn Abbamondi, Director of Marketing & Brand Development for SMB, said they were excited to work with Honey-Jam Cafe.
“The fast-casual restaurant industry is growing, and we always love to work with new and interesting concepts in that segment,” Abbamondi said. “Honey-Jam Cafe’s commitment to fresh and innovative dishes and becoming a community hub in each market it enters is an exciting angle. They also have a very attractive concept for owners. Because they’re a lunch and breakfast focused restaurant, they offer more freedom for franchise owners, which is an enormous benefit in the world of franchising.”
SMB’s primary role in launching Honey-Jam Cafe into franchising was ensuring the delivery of those crucial legal and operational concerns that Brannan’s team needed taken off their plates.
“We worked with them to establish the key terms of their franchise opportunity,” Abbamondi said. “We helped them develop their initial fee structures, Item 19, territory footprint, operations manual and even their franchising website.”
But Brannan said SMB’s value to Honey-Jam Cafe extended well beyond the development of their launch materials. The franchise advisors acted as a sort of industry guru, guiding Honey-Jam’s team through introductions to every angle of the market.
“In addition to composing our FDD and building out our fees, territory, training programs and financials, they walked us through what we could expect as we started to grow,” Brannan said. “They conducted a market analysis so that everyone on our team understood the competitive landscape, and they pointed out a number of common pitfalls that new franchisors face and how we could avoid them. The whole process was invaluable and made everything so much easier for us.”
Honey-Jam Cafe opened their first franchise location in 2017, bringing their unit count to three and they have plans to open another two restaurants before the end of 2018. Abbamondi said the team is still crafting development plans for Honey-Jam as they look toward their growth goals for the future.
“We have recommended several new avenues for lead generation, PR and marketing, after they tap into their professional network” Abbamondi said. “We see so much potential with Honey-Jam Cafe, and we’re excited to see them grow.”
As Honey-Jam Cafe begins to establish its growth plans for 2018 and beyond, Brannan said the brand owes its sure footing in the industry to the SMB team’s dedicated efforts.
“The key to growth, for Honey-Jam Cafe, has been installing excellent systems and training programs,” Brannan said. “A brand can run an excellent single-unit restaurant but it cannot duplicate that success in additional locations without a scalable system that accounts for every single aspect of its operations. That’s what their team helped us build. I’d recommend SMB Franchise Advisors to any brand that’s looking into franchising. The investment is small and the payoff is huge.”