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Ready for a little Franchising 101 tutorial?

Let me ask you a question. What do these businesses have in common… McDonalds, Click-fil-A, and Dunkin’ Donuts?

They are all business which incorporate franchising into their business model.

And it’s no coincidence that they are just a few of the most successful — and fastest growing — US companies.

Franchising is a specific type of business where a company takes a successful business idea, and it leverages other independent business owners to come in and run local versions of that business concept.

Oftentimes, a national franchise is very selective about who it allows to come in and establish a local franchise location, requiring a significant amount of capital and often years of experience in the field.

Independent franchisees may have to put up cash and have a certain number of years of prior relevant experience, and in exchange, the franchisor will share all of their systems, training and processes, often accompanied by centralized advertising and marketing.

As a result, independent franchise owners tend to be very sophisticated and smart and savvy business owners. Just my kind of people. 🙂

So what makes a successful franchise business?

I interviewed 21 top franchise business owners, asking each of them to share what top franchise business they admire and why.

Here are the top answers from successful franchise owners, industry experts, and thought leaders about what they admired in a franchise opportunity.

James McGovern, Healthy Hospitality Group

Favorite Franchise: The Coffee Club.

Why this franchise: “[It’s a] leader in my field of hospitality,” says McGovern. It’s just an “examplary Aussie franchise with great product and great systems.”

Learn more about Healthy Hospitality Group

Learn more about The Coffee Club

Harold Miller, Franchise Science, Inc.

His favorite franchise: Orange Theory

Why he likes Orange Theory:  They have an excellent management team, offer one of the best boot-camp style workouts in a well-thought-out curriculum, and take full advantage of technology and measurement.  All the components to succeed in franchising are present now or forthcoming through upcoming evolution in health-tech.

The best new franchises are utilizing both healthy living and technology, as well as robotics, AI, and other intelligence to offset rising labor costs (whether a restaurant with automation, or a hotel with a robot instead of a front desk).  

Learn more about Orange Theory

Learn more about  Franchise Science Inc.

Jay Visnjic, SP Square

His favorite franchise: Hilton

Why he likes Hilton: Staying with Hilton brands is always a memorable experience. Hilton focuses on guests and develops a unique culture within each of their brands, such a Hamptonality within the Hampton Inn brand. Hilton management teams are highly qualified to run hotels.

Learn more about Hilton Hotels

Learn more about SP Square

Joe Vallee, El Wingador Restaurants

His favorite franchise(s): Chick-fil-A and McDonalds

Why he likes Chick-Fil-A: From the quality of food to customer service, I’ve never had a bad meal or experience at Chick-Fil-A.  You can drive past any location during any time of the day, and it is always crowded. They even have people directing traffic out there!

They’ve expanded their great breakfast menu, and also have fun, family promotions like Daddy Daughter Date Night. Regardless of what religion you’re associated with, you have to admire them for not “”selling out”” by opening on Sundays. I think they surpassed KFC for the top chicken fast food chain in the U.S. a while ago, and that’s not to knock KFC at all.

Why he likes McDonalds: Obviously, when you think of fast food, McDonald’s immediately comes to mind. They’ve certainly had their share of rough spots over the years. Their stock, as well as their sales, have fluctuated over the last few years, and the rise of healthier eating establishments has compelled them to add similar menu items. You have to admire how they bounce back. Regardless of whether you dine there or not, their resiliency and staying power is undeniable.

What is another franchise he likes? A Philly start-up called honeygrow has some of the best food I’ve tasted in some time, and I eat there frequently. They offer high quality salads, stir-fry, and desserts made with various kinds of fresh honey, and can all be customarily made to your perfection through a kiosk.

They have each season’s produce in their seasonal salads, too. After you eat there, you know you’ve had a healthy meal. As an aspiring restaurant owner currently looking for investors, these guys have made us all proud in Philadelphia. Apparently, they went through almost 100 people before they got investors, and now they’re taking off at lightning speed.

I can’t fathom why it took that long! They started in 2012, and in addition to their Pennsylvania stores, now have locations in Maryland, Boston, Chicago, Delaware, North and South Jersey, New York and Virginia.

The coffee craze was apparently the best thing to ever happen to Dunkin’ Donuts—or just Dunkin’ in the future, so I’m not sure whether it was from pressure from Starbucks that made them do this or whether it was sheer luck, but I’m amused and somewhat floored how a franchise that was based on donuts has completely reinvented itself with another product not associated with the actual name.”

Learn more about Chick-fil-A

Learn more about McDonalds

Learn more about honeygrow

Learn more about El Wingador Restaurants

Bryan Caplan, Bryan Caplan Marketing

His favorite franchise: Dunkin’ Brands

Why he likes it: “I’d say, hands down, Dunkin’ Brands, and specifically Dunkin’, is an amazing franchise. From their ubiquitous real estate plays (I literally see a new Dunkin’ every 5 minutes in the Boston area) to their creative, engaging, and interactive branding, it’s no wonder why most cars in New England (and beyond) will have some remnants of a Dunkin’ trip – be it a crumpled bag, that orange/pink straw, or yesterday’s cup sitting in the holder.

Learn more about Dunkin’ Brands Franchising

Learn more about Bryan Caplan Marketing

Safwan Khan, Startupily & Cryptoify

Favorite Franchise: Forever 21 Brands

Why this franchise: I read an article about Do Won Chang the owner of forever 21 brands on how he created it and has expanded it ever since. To be honest, I love reading or listening about rages to riches stories and this one is inspirational.

Do Won Chang and his wife moved to the US from Korean in the early 80s. When they moved they were so poor that Do Won had to work three jobs every day to support his family. He was a janitor during the day, gas station attendant in the afternoon and worked in a coffee shop evenings and nights.

They both lived a very frugal life for quite a few years and saved up as much as they could to open their first clothing store in 1984.

That store grew into forever 21, which changed the fashion industry to date and is now a multinational company with 480 stores worldwide. They are generating more than $3 billion in sales per year.

Learn more about Startupily & Cryptoify

Learn more about Forever 21

Dashawn Bledsoe, National Ice Ball League Sport, Inc.

Favorite Franchise: Walt Disney, Apple, & Virgin

Why this franchise: I admire Franchises like Walt Disney, Apple, & Virgin.  I’m a Sport League owner and notice how these two companies have risen above most franchises for years. Walt Disney has been a powerful world contributor when it come to helping children and development of great new asset companies.

Virgin is a also a great showing diversity in multi conglomerate development and always presenting support is humanitarians.

Apple has been a leader in technology lasting a great life and I see them growing in new directions like with the solar phone partnership & sport vinyl  phone deal we could be doing in a few years around the time of our National Ice Ball League Sport Festival in NYC bring in over 10,000 fans.

Learn more about Walt Disney, Apple, and Virgin Company

Learn more about National Ice Ball League Sport, Inc.

Tim Conn, Image One Facility Solutions

Favorite Franchise: Neighborly (previously known as the Dwyer Group).

Why this franchise: There are so many great franchise opportunities that are really great, but if I had to choose one organization other than Image One, I would definitely say Neighborly previously known as the Dwyer Group.  They are an amazing organization with a great culture and code of values. That is a key to success in any franchise organization!

Learn more about Neighborly

Learn more about Image One Facility Solutions

Tamara Dean Heimberg, WOW 1 DAY Painting

Favorite Franchise: O2E Brands (parent company of 1-800-GOT-JUNK)

Why this franchise: I did a great deal of research before buying a franchise.  The most interesting franchises in my opinion are related to home services. There’s a tremendous opportunity to disrupt this industry by offering services that impress homeowners by going beyond the ordinary.

I was looking for a franchise that was already established in the marketplace with brand recognition. I also wanted to be a part of a franchise that had strong systems and processes in place to support the franchise partners. 

In the end, I was most attracted to O2E Brands and, specifically, one of its emerging companies called WOW 1 DAY Painting.  All of O2E’s home service companies take the ordinary home service and make it exceptional. Another thing that impressed me about O2E Brands was the very open, supportive, inclusive corporate culture and its strong sense of social and environmental responsibility.  The strong corporate culture and the talented teams that work behind the scene in IT, marketing, customer support, to name a few, are what make this franchise company so attractive.

Learn more about O2E Brands

Learn more about WOW 1 DAY Painting

Tim Murphy, Rebounderz

Favorite Franchise:  5 Guys, McDonalds, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-A

Why this franchise: I loved Applebee’s in the 2000s as it was how they took care of their franchisees for success, and the fact that I worked for my mentor, Abe Gustin Jr who was the former Chairman and CEO of Applebee’s International.  Today, I like 5 Guys, McDonalds, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-A, and many others for the way they respond to and for their franchisees. How they listen and help their franchisees to succeed.

Learn more about 5 Guys, McDonalds, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-A

Learn more about Rebounderz

Matt Haag, Coach Brokerage

Favorite Franchise: College Pro Painters

Why this franchise: I am biased but since I have first hand experience with College Pro Painters, I greatly admire their business model. It’s amazing that a company provides college students with invaluable business experience. College Pro Painters gave me exposure to a broad range of business and life skills including time management, interviewing, marketing, sales, negotiation, sourcing, purchasing, asset management, managing a P & L, customer service, production of a product and service, people management, training, quality control, and payroll.

I also learned how much I could push myself – I recall logging 100 hour work weeks while being a full time student during the spring semester before painting season (summer break). This is not expected by the franchise company, but it’s a business where you get out what you put in and I was highly motivated to earn business.

College Pro Painters is the entry point into business and the working world for hundreds of college students every year. My experience provided me with internship opportunities and ultimately a full time IT and management consulting position in a highly respected firm.

Learn more about: College Pro Painters

Learn more about: Coach Brokerage

Richard Weintraub, Your Franchise Advisors

Favorite Franchise: 1-800 WATER DAMAGE

Why this franchise: While I admire many of the thousands of franchises in existence, I admire 1-800 WATER DAMAGE for the following reasons. They offer several investment options to prospects including the ‘Partnering Model’. With this model, 1-800 WATER DAMAGE invests almost $300,000 in the franchisee’s business & splits the profit with the franchisee 50/50.

The total investment in this model is only $59,000, & the franchisor guarantees the franchisee $60,000 in “Bonus Income” over the first 2 years to cover his/her personal expenses. So you are guaranteed to earn back your entire investment!

Learn more about 1-800 WATER DAMAGE

Learn more about Your Franchise Advisors

Erica Duran, Erica Duran International

Favorite Franchise: UPS Store franchise

Why this franchise:I admire the UPS Store franchise.  I actually had no idea it was a franchise until I looked it up to write this.  Being a digital nomad, I’ve had the UPS Store manage my physical mail for years.  They are always so professional and organized that I thought they were all corporate owned.  

Each store has a very small hometown feel and the employees make it a point to personalize the service and know their customers’ names.  It is hard to keep consistency in a franchise situation and to mix in and balance that with such great personalized service is a great accomplishment for the UPS Store.  

Learn more about UPS Stores

Learn more about Erica Duran International and

Garrett Dallas, Coinstar

Favorite Franchise: Taco Bell

Why this franchise: Taco Bell has always been a franchise I admire. It is a strong brand that remains relevant over time. The food is craveable and delicious with flavor profiles that resonate globally.

Learn more about Taco Bell

Learn more about  Coinstar

Ken Williams, The Goo Group

Favorite Franchise: Jiffy Lube International

Why this franchise: I worked for Jiffy Lube International for over 17 years on both the company side and franchise side in customer service, field management and then as Director of  Store Support for the 3rd largest franchisee. At the time, we had over 135 stores. As a franchiser, they provide exceptional customer service, store support through training, management classes, onsite management assistance, IT support such as database management, and real estate evaluations for new stores.

Learn more about Jiffy Lube International

Learn more about The Goo Group

Yoon Cannon, Paramount Business Coach

Favorite Franchise: Chick-fil-A

Why this franchise: I have a huge respect for Chick-fil-A. It’s not everyday you see leaders like Founder and former Chairman S. Truett Cathy take such a radical stand in living out his personal core beliefs in how he runs his business.

I admire his corporate purpose statement that the franchise business exists “”To glorify God by being a faithful steward to all that is entrusted to them.”  Truett Cathy was an incredible model as a faith driven business man. It’s inspiring to see Chick-fil-A not compromise on every franchise location being closed on Sundays.

I admire their core value of generosity, donating over $68 million to charities since its founding.

It’s no surprise to me his humble beginnings turned into a Billion Dollar success story and legacy.

Learn more about Chick-fil-A

Learn more about Paramount Business Coach, LLC

David Kipp, Chick-fil-A

Favorite Franchise: Chick-fil-A

Why this franchise: The franchise that I admire most is Chick Fil-a, and the main reason is the fast food industry is so competitive but they seem to hold everyone to a higher standard to be successful. It is a business but they seem to try and create a family atmosphere which for a company that big is very impressive, and will continue to make them successful.

Learn more about Chick-fil-A

Learn more about Happy Tax Chicago

Jeff Butler, LifeSimple

Favorite Franchise: Chick-fil-A

Why this franchise: My most-admired franchise is Chick-fil-A. In any consumer business, you need to have the “Result Areas” that drive your business. Everything leaders in a consumer business do should go back to how it affects the Result Areas.

In the foodservice business, the Result Areas I believe in are Food Excellence, Customer Experience, Team Experience, Operations Excellence and Financial Results.

Chick-fil-A does a nice job of consistently serving good food. Where Chick-fil-A really excels is in the Customer Experience. The Team really know how to take care of customers. And I love that the team says “it’s my pleasure”. It is attention to the little things that makes the difference.

And the Team always seems to be enjoying themselves. To me, that is so important. I believe that a happy team drives the Customer Experience and really good managers know how to create the environment where the Team wants to be at the store making happy customers and happy teammates.

Operations Excellence is the details of operating the store. Things like team hiring/training/development, scheduling, ordering of supplies and cleanliness are very important in the food business.

Overall, I believe that if you do an outstanding job of managing the first four Result Areas with a keen eye on costs, the Financial Results will come. Leaders cannot just focus on Financial Results; they need to “lead by example” on Food, Customers and especially the Team. Then the Financial Results will come.

I say “especially the Team” because I am a big believer that the team is the most important component to deliver remarkable results. When you have an exceptional team with exceptional leadership, the Team takes care of their fellow teammates and then everyone takes care of their customers.

And who leads the successful execution of the Result Areas? I am also a big believer in Owner-Operators. Owner-Operators have skin in the game and significant upside where they can create strong long-term Result Area results leading to long-term profit and growth. Good Owner-Operators know that the key to success is what goes on in within the four walls with Food, Customers and the Team. Chick-fil-A uses a hybrid Owner-Operator/franchise program that enables success for exceptional, Result Area-driven managers.

As a leader, I always strive to create the environment where our team can create remarkable results. And Chick-fil-A is a leader in the execution of Result Areas.

Learn more about Chick-fil-A

Learn more about LifeSimple

Venkatesh Thyagarajan, Chabot Solutions

Favorite Franchise: Subway.

Why this franchise: They have an excellent training program and across the globe they have mastered the art of maintaining the same quality, despite allowing for regional customizations in their sandwiches, they have managed to maintain the same taste across the globe

Learn more about Subway

Learn more about Cabot Solutions

Kevin Smith, TEP Corporation

Favorite Franchise: State Farm

Why this franchise: I admire State Farm franchise most because their opportunity allows potential business owners to get paid to train. Unlike most franchises, you don’t have to worry about the upfront cost (given you meet all of their requirements) and can plug into a fully operating location. This situation allows customers to focus on scaling their business, which yield a high success rate.

Learn more about State Farm

Learn more about TEP Corporation

Robin Boyd, The Scentuary

Favorite Franchise: Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzel

Why this franchise: They had low food cost; the franchise fee was affordable; the training process was succinct and concise; the home office support was great; the product development/p.o.s. program was creative; the pretzel product was a healthy snack; and the customer engagement fun.

Learn more about Auntie Anne’s

Learn more about: The Scentuary, Inc. This business model is centered around wellness & healthy lifestyles. We use aromatherapy, natural body products, and healing modalities to foster less stress and more peace. We partner with local businesses/practitioners to create a healing space in the community. 

Wrap Up

There is no perfect franchise business which will work for everyone.  If you are considering a franchise business, take some time to do due diligence or consult with one of the franchise brokers listed above.

Need More help with getting qualified leads?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz is a serial entrepreneur and the owner of a chiropractic and massage clinic, a nutritional supplement business, a podcaster, and co-founder of Rise25, which does lead generation for B2B businesses. If you need more qualified leads for your franchise business, contact us here. We work with B2B business owners who want to use a proactive business outreach strategy leveraging Linkedin to get more clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships.

We also have a done-for-you podcast service, where we help you to launch & operate your own podcast for business development and lead generation purposes. It includes our team of copywriters, audio editors, and web developers who take 99% of the work – so that you will spend less time (yes, less time!) on prospecting and more time talking to qualified prospects and working with clients you love.

We have limited bandwidth of who our team can work with, but if and when you’re ready to offload all of that work plus incorporate strategy around how to get more leads & revenue from your show, get in touch.