The fan favorite burger brand is building on strong momentum as it prepares to cross the 400-unit milestone
It’s rare for restaurant brands to find a new direction for growth after thriving in a highly competitive industry for over 30 years. But for Johnny Rockets, a unique combination of brand history and forward thinking innovation has made it the norm.
Originally founded in 1986, Johnny Rockets is a fan favorite burger concept that spans generations. Designed to be a restaurant that’s not confined to any specific decade or era, the brand serves top quality burgers, fries, onion rings and milkshakes with exceptional customer service that keeps people coming back. But it isn’t just the food or family friendly environment that make Johnny Rockets stand out—the brand boasts a reputation that resonates among consumers and business owners alike.
“Besides being the best burger restaurant in the business, Johnny Rockets stands out because it’s all about a fun and unique atmosphere. Our restaurants are more of a destination than a traditional place to eat—Johnny Rockets is far from your average burger joint,” said Crystal Wells, director of franchise sales for Johnny Rockets. “Even after rebranding or image and introducing a new look, that positive environment is still evident across our entire system. And there’s no doubt that both consumers and franchisees want to be a part of it.”
Johnny Rockets recently rolled out a redesign across its entire system in order to stay ahead of the latest industry trends. By moving away from dancing employees and a classic 1950’s style and focusing on putting food first, the brand is ensuring that its fresh, never frozen burgers and customizable menu options are stealing the spotlight for consumers. And it’s clear that this approach to its business model is working—Johnny Rockets boasts a strong global presence that leads to over $300 million in annual sales. That momentum is then something that its franchisees can leverage as they launch their own restaurants in the local communities that they call home.
"Johnny Rockets has grown tremendously over the last year, opening 61 restaurants in 2016, which is an exceptionally exciting feat for a brand with a 30-year history," said James Walker, president of global operations and development. "This is in large part due to our Diner 2.0 refresh and the versatility of our brand and prototypes. Our flexible footprint and corporate support team provides franchise partners both the structure and options they need to ensure Johnny Rockets succeeds in their market."
Excellent food and top tier customer service are only a few of the competitive advantages that franchisees gain access to when joining Johnny Rockets’ system. The brand offers four different location prototypes—traditional, express, drive-thru and kiosks—enabling its franchisees to open the restaurant that’s the best fit for their community. The brand is also experiencing rapid growth across the globe, from North and South America to Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The importance of that type of recognition and awareness can’t be overstated—it allows local owners to tap into its legacy reputation when getting their business off the ground.
However, legacy isn’t all that Johnny Rockets brings to the table. The brand is also committed to innovation and consistently enhancing its business ownership opportunity, ultimately ensuring that its franchisees are ahead of the competition. And in order for Johnny Rockets franchisees to truly be successful, they need to be prepared to capitalize on that leading position.
“If you lack the drive and determination, you won’t be successful in a franchise model. It is not an 8-to-5 job. You’re running your own business and franchisees need to have the fire in their belly to be successful,” said Gene Savage, director of franchise development and real estate for Johnny Rockets. “You must be someone who will get up in the morning and make things happen. Someone with a passion to succeed. You also need to have good ‘business sense.’”
But Johnny Rockets franchisees aren’t expected to bring all aspects of that business sense to the table on their own. The brand offers its local owners unrivaled training and support, which extends far beyond a restaurant’s initial grand opening. Johnny Rockets makes it a point to lend a helping hand whenever a franchisee is in need. That’s why the brand is looking to partner with qualified local owners who are driven and passionate about its model.
“The ideal Johnny Rockets franchisee is someone that brings either restaurant or management skills to the table. Even if you’re new to our specific industry, we have the training programs in place to set you up for long term success,” said Wells. “Johnny Rockets is really a family, and everyone on our team makes it a top priority to support our new owners as they get their restaurants off the ground. Our system is designed so that if you meet our qualifications, are passionate about the brand and are willing to follow our proven business model, you’re going to be perfectly positioned to thrive as an entrepreneur.”
As Johnny Rockets prepares to close out 2017 on a high note and move into the new year, it has its sights set on achieving major milestones with the help of its franchisees. With 399 locations currently open for business, the brand is eager to cross the 400-unit mark soon. And now that its new design is visible in restaurants all over the world, Johnny Rockets is looking forward to collaborating with local owners to ensure that things are running smoothly. At the end of the day, it’s that strong relationship between business partners that continues to fuel Johnny Rockets’ impressive success.
“I was always under the impression that being a part of a franchise system meant that you had no say in your business as a local owner. But that couldn’t be further from the truth—Johnny Rockets works right alongside you to make your business the best that it can be. I’ve been with the brand for over two decades now, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to become a franchisee,” said Joe Gelshenen, a Johnny Rockets franchisee on Long Island, New York. “I give Johnny Rockets a lot of credit for remaining as competitive as they have over the years. It’s not easy for a legacy brand like theirs to remain top of mind for consumers or business owners, but they’ve created a system that works. Our momentum is incredibly strong right now, and I’m confident that trend will continue going forward.”
To learn more about becoming a Johnny Rockets franchisee, please visit https://www.johnnyrockets.com/franchising/.