For a certain breed of entrepreneurs, making a big name for themselves—and their brands—comes naturally. Here are some of the top franchisees in 2015.
With a new franchise opening up every seven minutes in the United States, it can sometimes be hard to rise above the fray. But for a certain breed of entrepreneurs, making a big name for themselves—and their brands—it comes naturally. Based on information culminated from FRANdata, here are some of the top franchisees in the country.
Nineteen years ago, a chance visit to Smoothie King so impressed Dave McMahon that he contacted the corporate offices, signed a four-store deal and opened his first out in Texas. Today, McMahon has 26 Smoothie Kings in metro Houston and in College Station, with a 27th planned in Missouri City this month and more in 2016. The total makes McMahon, 61, the largest franchisee for the New Orleans-based international smoothie chain.
Alan and Tracy Balen have contributed to significant multi-brand expansion with Checkers/Rally’s and Qdoba. The couple, who operate 16 Checker’s/Rally’s restaurants and four Qdobas, have been in franchising for 24 years. “Growing multiple brands makes sense to us. We learn a lot from each brand that helps us with the other brand. It broadens our abilities,” Alan Balen told Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine.
Amin Dhanani has proven himself to be a leader in expansion and growth with Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. Dhanani, 38, recently was named the brand’s Franchisee of the Year, after growing his organization to 125 Popeye’s restaurants in just five years (40 of which were new builds). His goal for the coming year is to add 10 more locations organically.
John Judson, an early franchisee of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, has provided guidance, support and leadership to his fellow franchisees for several years. Judson, who bought a single franchise in St. Louis in 1994, now has 15 units, two partners and locations in St. Louis, Chicago, Salt Lake City and Boston that brought in $16 million in revenue last year.
Scott Richburg, a Sport Clips franchisee, was recently honored by Multi-unit Franchisee Magazine for displaying outstanding performance and leadership by a veteran. “As an officer in the military, I learned how critical every person on the team is, and that developing the team is what’s most important. It takes every person on the team to be successful,” said Richburg, who currently owns 15 Sport Clips locations throughout Little Rock, Arkansas.
Aslam Khan has achieved incredible success in the United States with the Church’s Chicken brand. Khan immigrated to the U.S. in 1987 with $20 in his pocket and started as a dishwasher earning $3 an hour in a Church’s restaurant in California. By 1999, he’d bought 97 Church’s restaurants and became CEO of his own company, Falcon Holdings. Today, he is the largest franchisee in the Church’s system and also operates franchises for Long John Silver’s, A&W and Piccadilly Cafeteria—300 in all.
Renu Aggarwal’s success as a franchisee is an American dream story. In 1989, she and her husband moved from India to Texas, where she was a homemaker and sold jewelry wholesale. In 1997, she surprised her family by using her savings to purchase a Subway store. Today, she owns 55 Subways in Texas and New York and recently added a new brand, Wing Zone, in Houston. Over the next five years, she plans to add 100 more stores.
Steve Sager has never thought small. As a franchisee and development director for Subway, he opened more than 260 stores in the past 30 years. Today, he operates 16 Subways and seven Auntie Anne’s. With a knack for spotting emerging brands, he recently signed an agreement to open 20 Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria restaurants.
Michael Orcutt has been on both the corporate and the franchisee sides of Domino’s Pizza for 40 years, and he once led U.S. store operations for the chain. Today, his “Team Cowabunga”—the largest singly owned Domino’s franchisee in the U.S.—operates 101 Domino’s locations in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, employs more than 1,700 people, and he’s still looking to grow.