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Why This Hospitality Industry Veteran Made the Switch to Franchising with Kitchen Wise

After the hotel industry brought him to both coasts and everywhere in between, Dave Murray decided to turn his “COVID vacation” into an opportunity for more career control by investing in the home organization franchise.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 8:08AM 12/06/21

Dave Murray spent over 40 years establishing himself as a leader in the hotel world, but now the renowned hospitality executive is stepping outside of the hotel industry and into the home organization business with Kitchen Wise, the fast-growing kitchen, pantry, closet and bathroom organization home service franchise backed by multi-brand franchisor Premium Service Brands

“The hotel business was great when I got into it — Marriott had fewer than 100 hotels when I joined the company as a general manager, and I helped them open two a month for years,” said Murray. “It was a wild ride and a great opportunity. It offered an ever-changing landscape, and I enjoyed providing the customer service, the challenge of generating revenue and the opportunity to create an excellent product. But my decision to become a business owner was all about taking control over my own destiny, which I knew would make me happiest.” 

From Hospitality to Home Improvement

Murray says his career in hospitality took him to cities all over the country — Chicago, Minneapolis, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Portland, Indianapolis, Washington D.C., Baltimore and Montgomery, just to name a few. “Towards the end it was becoming quite the grind,” he said. “The company at the top was really pushing to come up with creative offerings, and it was up to the management teams to figure out how to make it happen.”

Eventually, Murray decided he wanted a career where he had more control over his life and also wanted to sell something customers could be excited about. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Murray knew it was going to impact the hotel industry in a big way, and he decided it was the perfect opportunity to pursue something new. 

“I went on a ‘COVID vacation,’ and I realized the hotel business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon,” said Murray. “I started selling with Empire Flooring. Home improvement hadn’t skipped a beat, and I found that I really enjoyed the home services industry.”

After realizing he could utilize his customer-oriented hospitality skills to thrive in the home improvement industry, Murray began looking into franchise concepts to start a business of his own. When he discovered Kitchen Wise and researched the concept, Murray knew he had found his match.

“It was an opportunity to do what I was good at and have more control over the return on my investment,” said Murray. “The Kitchen Wise team was very accommodating, and I liked that there wasn’t a lot of head-to-head competition. Unlike a moving company or something similar, I knew kitchen organization wasn’t a saturated market. I also loved the business model. The labor model is easier to deal with than having a whole slew of hourly employees, which is great with the current labor market.” 

How Kitchen Wise Positions Owners for Success

Kitchen Wise is part of the Premium Service Brands family of home service brands, which means the franchise benefits from a range of support systems and resources designed to make franchisees as successful as possible. Those resources include marketing, technology, recruiting, vendor partnerships, product sourcing, routing and scheduling software, a contact center and a range of other essential operational systems that allow franchisees to focus on what matters most — servicing the customer. 

And Murray says that opportunity to successfully service the customer and positively impact homeowners’ lives was one of the main reasons he joined the brand. “When you are offering something like flooring, customers may feel like they need the service, and are often faced with spending a lot of money that they don’t necessarily want to spend,” he said. “But with kitchen pull-outs and organizations, customers are really looking forward to what I'm putting in and will enjoy their space more. It makes people's spaces more functional, and they will see their lives improve.”

Kitchens are the most popular rooms for home renovations, according to The National Association of Realtors, but a traditional rehab is out of many Americans’ budget. Kitchen Wise solves that problem by providing strategic upgrades that transform kitchens without any construction or demolition, dramatically reducing the cost of upgrades. That approach has made Kitchen Wise one of the most sought-out opportunities in the industry, especially as homeowners spend more time considering renovation projects due to the pandemic

The Scalability of Kitchen Wise and Premium Service Brands

Murray’s Kitchen Wise of Birmingham, Alabama location opened in October, and he has no plans of slowing down now. I’m going to keep my eyes open to new opportunities, and I would love to invest in another franchise to grow laterally in my market,” he said. “There is already a 360º Painting in town.”

Growing a portfolio vertically within the same market gives franchisees like Murray the opportunity to leverage their existing relationships in the same market to generate more business. Additionally, franchisees can tap into neighboring Premium Service Brands operations and benefit from cross-promotional leads and referrals. 

Looking ahead, Kitchen Wise hopes to expand with qualified franchise partners in available territories. With more than 18 locations sold and a goal to add 20 to 25 new franchisees each year, Kitchen Wise is gearing up for continued growth across the country.

“Dave Murray has an impressive resume in the hospitality industry, and we are thrilled to welcome him into the Premium Services Brands family and expand the Kitchen Wise footprint,” said Iric Wexler, Chief Development Officer for Premium Service Brands. “Dave will help grow the Kitchen Wise name in Birmingham and pave the way for future growth.”

The initial investment to open a Kitchen Wise ranges from $108,100 to $147,000. This includes a $65,000 franchise fee. The brand is actively seeking franchise owners in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, San Antonio, Boston and Raleigh, to name a few locations. For more information on franchising with Kitchen Wise, please visit https://www.premiumservicebrands.com/kitchen-wise/.

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