What I Learned When Finalizing My First FDD: Stumpy’s Hatchet House
What I Learned When Finalizing My First FDD: Stumpy’s Hatchet House

Transparency is important to the axe-throwing franchise brand within the pages of its franchise disclosure document.

Turning your business concept into a franchise is no easy feat, and creating that first franchise disclosure document, or FDD, often presents an exciting yet formidable challenge for newcomers to the process.

Stumpy’s Hatchet House would know. The axe-throwing company made major waves when it first opened its flagship location in Eatontown, New Jersey, in April 2016. Since, the brand has grown to eight open locations with 16 in total set to arrive in 2019. The company’s expansion plans include targeting the Midwest for development, in particular.

Stumpy’s has four partners, each of whom hold different roles; one of the brand’s leaders is Trish Oliphant, who serves as Franchise Director, Décor Designer and Director of Swag. Oliphant explained that the idea to franchise came not long after Stumpy’s opened its flagship location in 2016. Being the first indoor hatchet-throwing venue in the United States, Stumpy’s garnered a lot of media attention, “which led to awesome business from the start,” she said in an email.  

“With a good amount of organic inquiries asking if we would consider selling franchises, we decided to look into it,” Oliphant continued. “Franchising offered the opportunity for rapid expansion of our brand.”

When Stumpy’s decided to franchise, Oliphant said they were introduced to Atlanta-based Franchise Marketing Systems, which she described as a company specializing in getting new franchises off the ground.

They guided us through the process of developing our franchise model, FDD and marketing our unique brand,” Oliphant said.

The FDD process was new to all four of the Stumpy’s partners. Since getting that first FDD right was a high priority, they were all involved in drafting the document, Oliphant explained. The team wanted to make sure they were disclosing all of the information necessary for prospective franchisees to make an informed decision prior to entering into the franchise relationship, Oliphant said.

We each have a different role and specialty at Stumpy’s Hatchet House, which meant that each partner was able to address the portion of the FDD that related to them,” Oliphant explained. “We wanted to be sure that we were providing our prospective franchisees with a document that provided them with essential information to own and operate a Stumpy’s Hatchet House.”

When asked what advice she had for brands looking to franchise as they go through the process of creating an FDD, Oliphant highlighted the franchisor-franchisee relationship.

“The relationship between a franchisee and a franchisor is vital to the growth of your brand,” she said. “It is a 10-year commitment and all parties need to feel secure in their decision. We always tell our prospective franchisees, ‘Your success is our success.’ It needs to be a good fit for everyone.”

The brand is currently working on its FDD for 2019, and the Stumpy’s partners want to make sure there is transparency in all aspects of the business. They do not want franchises to experience any surprises, Oliphant said.

“As we grow our business, the model does change and we are diligent in updating these ongoing changes in our FDD, making notations throughout the year to include in the following year’s FDD,” Oliphant said. “We look at this yearly update as an opportunity to make improvements in our operations. We involve our franchise attorney along with our sales broker to find out if there are any areas in our FDD that they feel we could clarify."

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