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Why I Bought My Franchise: Chinu Patel, Robeks

The experienced franchise owner chose to diversify his portfolio with Robeks after seeing how well-positioned its business model was for the future.

When Chinu Patel’s children started raving about the smoothie place in their local mall, the franchising veteran had enough experience to know he should pay attention. 

Since moving to the U.S. from India more than 25 years ago, Patel has spent the past two decades investing in several franchise locations with his brother, including eight Subway restaurants. This past year, Patel decided to diversify his portfolio with a new franchise concept: the 85-unit, Los Angeles-based fresh juice, smoothie and bowl franchise Robeks

1851 Franchise spoke with Patel to learn more about his franchising experience and find out what made him buy a Robeks franchise.

1851: How did you get interested in franchising?

Chinu Patel: When I originally moved to the U.S., my first couple of jobs were part-time work in the fast-food industry. We had some family friends who were franchise owners, and they showed us how franchising can create strong profits and allow you to manage multiple locations without needing a daily presence. My brother and I originally invested in a small donut shop franchise, and then purchased a small supermarket. From there, we started to invest in Subway franchises. Coming from our first franchise, which was a smaller scale location, upgrading to a major brand showed us how powerful the backing of a larger company can be.  

1851: Describe the moment you knew you wanted to buy the franchise. What made you buy?

Patel: One of my current Subway locations is located a few stores down from a Robeks store in a strip mall. Over the years, both my son and my daughter have come to really love Robeks’ smoothies and products. When we decided to expand our portfolio with another franchise concept in 2018, we researched the Robeks business model and really loved what we saw.

1851: Why was Robeks a better fit than other brands in the segment? 

Patel: The strong commitment to health really set the brand apart from others in the segment. The food industry in general is moving toward healthier options, and it was clear that Robeks aligned with that movement.

Thanks to all of my franchising experience, I was able to see right away that Robeks offered a lucrative opportunity to diversify my portfolio with a proven, off-premise-focused business model that is perfectly positioned for the current times. Robeks was a dream of ours, and I credit my children for really pushing me to make that dream come true thanks to their passion for the brand. 

1851: Walk us through your journey as a franchisee candidate with the brand. What happened between your first inquiry and opening your first location? Did you attend a Discovery Day?

Patel: It has been a long journey. After doing our due diligence, we attended a Discovery Day and were able to meet the team and get a better understanding for the passion behind the brand. We originally signed the agreement back in the end of 2018 and have spent the past two years finding the perfect site and getting the ball rolling. Currently, we are in the construction phase for a location in Lakewood, Ohio. Since day one, the Robeks leadership team has been incredibly helpful in positioning us for success.

I own a Subway franchise in the Lakewood area, so I have become very accustomed to that community. It is a small city with a very tight-knit, residential community and a lot of families. There are not a lot of competitors in the smoothie sector in the area, so there is definitely an un-met consumer demand for healthy options, which was an important factor when choosing our location. Also, our location is in a prime spot that will promote strong foot traffic in conjunction with other stores in the area.

1851: What advice would you give to a franchisor who is hoping to get more franchisees to sign on?

Patel: The ease of entry is very important — people can be scared to open their first business or to expand into a different industry. While it will always be a lot of work, it is not as difficult or impossible as it seems and franchisors should be able to show that to prospective franchisees. If the franchisor takes the time to put the right infrastructure and support in place, prospective franchisees will feel more confident that following their dream of business ownership is possible.