Meet and Greet Day, Meet the Team Day, Candidate Day, Discovery Day; different companies call it by different names, but regardless of its name, Discovery Day is a key component of the franchise sales process. And, according to Toppers Pizza director of franchise development Mark Cairns, who chooses to keep it simple with “Discovery Day,” that name can even be a bit of a misnomer.
“It’s really not discovery, the candidate by now has had most of their questions answered and a good understanding of what Toppers is all about,” said Cairns. “After talking with other franchisees and visiting locations, the day is really more of a ‘fit confirmation’ day than discovery.”
Cairns adds that the focus for any franchisee coming to a Discovery Day should be on answering two simple questions: Is this the business that I want to be part of, and are they going to deliver on their promise?
“Our prospective franchisees come to meet the people behind the brand and connect with everyone one-on-one,” said Cairns. “We encourage them to spend the day looking under the hood with founder Scott Gittrich. He is an open book, they can ask him anything, and that allows them to make a real connection with the brand and our people.”
And while Discovery Day is first and foremost an opportunity for prospective franchisees to gauge their fit with the company and its leadership, Cairns says that the day is equally valuable as a tool for Toppers to confirm the franchisee is a fit for the brand.
“On our end, these prospects have been vetted already on the easy stuff: do they have the financial capability, do they have the experience or are they partnering with someone who has experience?” said Cairns. “But at Discovery Day we get to find answers to a more important question – do they have heart?”
And if that prospect has the passion Toppers is looking for and a mindset to roll up their sleeves and get to work, Cairns says the brand has a high close rate for those that come to Discovery Day – as high as 75 percent.
“For our size of company, people are totally blown away by our support when they finally come visit World Headquarters,” said Cairns. “We have around 85 locations, but more than 40 support team members employees at HQ. The level of support we offer our partners is much higher than the rest of the industry, but you have to come experience that for yourself.”
Todd Geatches, a multi-unit franchisee that signed on in 2016 to develop more than 20 locations in Colorado and Wyoming, remembers that same thing about his Discovery Day more than a year ago.
“I had done my homework on the brand, had done internet research and watched all the videos, but wanted to meet Scott and his team in person,” said Geatches. “What stood out most to me was how developed the team already was. They only had about 70 restaurants at the time and I just couldn’t believe how many folks there were to support us for a company of that size. I was blown away.”
Geatches reiterates that Discovery Day is a crucial element to the decision-making process, and that it solidified in his mind that Toppers was the correct choice for him.
“My advice to prospective franchisees? Just make the trip to Whitewater, get to know them and see what they have put together,” said Geatches. “No matter what franchise you are considering, go meet them face to face and get a feeling for who they really are.”
Clearly, more and more franchisees are taking Geatches’ advice and seeing for themselves what separates Toppers from other franchises in the industry. The brand is currently on pace to hit its goal of 200 units by 2020, with 16-18 openings this year and another 20 on tap for 2018.