Understanding the Latino market is key to franchising: the historic summit had some of the best experts in the field.

Author:Trevino, Joseph

THE 2015 LATINO FRANCHISING SUMMIT not only boasted some of the most famous Hispanic names in the franchise world, but also had firsthand accounts by franchisee persons.

Ralph Wiegandt, a Dallas-based franchisee who runs multiple 7-Eleven's and was born and raised in Mexico, captivated listeners when he told details of how he ran his stores.

Growing up in Mexico, Wiegandt said he fell in love with the 7-Eleven brand as a teenager, when he visited the States during a summer trip. During the first 40 years of his life, he worked in the corporate world in Mexico and had several businesses, including several OXXO's, a chain of convenience stores.

Once in the U.S., Wiegandt chose to start a business in franchising. He elected his old dream: 7-Eleven.

"I said, 'let somebody take care of the process so I can take care of the consumer.' That's why I partnered with 7-Eleven," Wiegandt told the group. "7-Eleven can help you to grow-10, 15 stores. Depending on your capabilities. It's all about following the process."

A big difference for businesspersons and franchisees from Latin America when they come to the U.S. is the competitiveness and blood, sweat and tears ethos, Wiegandt said. When he used to run a convenience store in Mexico, he was often doing administrative work back in his office, but here in the U.S. he had to buckle down and labor like a blue collar worker.

"You need to be hands on. You need to be totally operational-focused. You need to be rolling up your sleeves, cleaning the restroom, cooking hot dogs, taking care of all the details of your business," he said.

Then there is knowing your customers well and attending to their wishes and needs, which can vary from mainstream American consumers to very regional clients from different countries in Latin America...

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