Avoiding the Sinkholes: Sage advice for potential franchisees considering multi-unit expansion.

Author:Saxton, Adam
 
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As more companies look to franchising to grow quicker and smarter, emerging entrepreneurs continue to explore restaurant ownership as a lucrative business option. The franchisor/franchisee relationship is unique and allows companies to expand rapidly, while giving entrepreneurs the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of owning their own business. Multi-unit operators have become the prized jewels to franchisors, as we help lower the number of people a company must train to maintain consistency and can assist with accelerated expansion.

In turn, multi-unit owners are given a business model that allows us to not only open franchises with a proven structure and framework, but also utilize the company's nationally recognized name to assist with our supply chain needs.

However, owning and managing multiple units is no walk in the park, as it's just too easy for operators to lose focus, try to do everything themselves and run into unexpected troubles. Many believe this is the industry for them, then in the process of becoming a multi-unit owner, they uncover unexpected pitfalls that can make or break their franchising business.

The Saxton Group owns 80 McAlister's Deli restaurants as part of FOCUS Brands. Our family-owned business has seen it all and we've been through the ups and downs. We've uncovered a variety of habits and factors to consider to ensure our business continues to grow in smart and fruitful ways. Multi-unit ownership can present its challenges, but for smart operators, the risk is always worth the reward. Dodge a few traps and you can thrive.

NEVER COMPROMISE ON REAL ESTATE

The urge and curiosity to instantly expand is a common feeling. But when is the right time? There are several factors that should influence that question, with one being real estate availability. You can't manufacture a great site, regardless of your will to grow. The right real estate opportunity either exists or it doesn't. All franchisees struggle at some point in their careers with finding the ideal site within the markets or territories they've chosen. As a franchisee, one of the worst things you can do is feel pressured to make a long-term real estate decision on a short-term opportunity that you know wouldn't be as successful. Smart franchisors know this too and provide the time and resources necessary for a franchisee to identify the right location. It all goes back to being patient. If what you're looking for isn't available, wait until a more fitting...

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