Bennett Maxwell is the Founder of Dirty Dough. Beginning his entrepreneurial journey in elementary school by selling candy bars, Bennett now leads a pioneering cookie-selling franchise. Dirty Dough’s innovative centralized production introduces the first-ever three-layer cookie, streamlining franchise operations by addressing challenges like waste, quality control, and supply chain at the corporate level. This unique model allows franchises to operate with reduced costs and labor. With Dirty Dough, Bennett is looking to raise mental health awareness by encouraging authenticity and self-acceptance.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Bennett Maxwell explains what differentiates Dirty Dough cookies from the competition
- What qualities would Bennett like to see in a franchisee?
- How Dirty Dough assists franchisees in understanding all aspects of the business prior to opening
- Bennett describes the vibe in a typical Dirty Dough location
- What sort of capital investment is required from a franchisee?
- Why Dirty Dough adopted a franchise business model instead of expanding under singular ownership
- What is a mobile franchise?
- Bennett discusses his journey to becoming Founder of Dirty Dough
In this episode…
Many restaurateurs open a single location with the hope of expanding to more than one. In some cases, brands end up with many locations — some singularly-owned and others owned and operated by franchisees. Which of the two business models is best for restaurateurs who’d like to grow their brand?
According to Dirty Dough’s Bennett Maxwell, whose brand features a unique three-layer cookie, his best option was to franchise. Bennett says he was advised to do so by a group that owns hundreds of restaurants in Utah when they learned he was operating in a new market: gourmet cookies. Bennett didn’t have a lot of built-in capital and wanted to grow quickly, so franchising became the clear option.
On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Bela Musits welcomes Bennett Maxwell, Founder of Dirty Dough, for a conversation about franchising: the reasons to do it, the drawbacks, and the keys to franchisee success. Bennett details what he looks for in a franchisee, the reasons Dirty Dough is a good franchise opportunity, and everything the brand does to ensure that franchisees gain a positive return on their investment.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Bennett Maxwell
- Bennett Maxwell on Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube | TikTok
- Dirty Dough
- Chad Franzen on LinkedIn
Sponsor for this episode
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Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show. Powered by Rise25 Media, we featured top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world.
Bela Musits 0:20
Hello, listeners, Bela Musits here. I’m the host of this spot on podcast episode, where we feature top restaurant tours, investors and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn series. SpotOn has the best in class payment platform for retail. And they have a flagship solution called SpotOn restaurant, where they combine marketing software and payments all into one. They have served everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and Subway to small mom and pop operations. To learn more, go to spoton.com This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses get clients referrals and strategic partnerships through custom done for you podcast. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships with clients, referral partners and thought leaders in your space, there’s no better way to do it than through podcast and content marketing. To learn more, go to rise25.com or email us at email@example.com Today’s guest on the podcast is Bennett Maxwell. Bennett has been making use of his selling skills since his days of selling candy bars in elementary school. He’s traded in his elementary school candy bar business for something slightly bigger. Bennett is currently lowering business barriers and raising mental health awareness through his cookie selling franchise called Dirty Dough. He stands for authenticity and self acceptance, encouraging others to come as they are. You might even say that from a business perspective that it is one tough cookie. Welcome to the podcast Bennett.
Bennett Maxwell 2:10
Thanks, appreciate the intro, I’m gonna get a different ending take the tough cookie out of that bio.
Bela Musits 2:17
I thought it was pretty good. So let me ask you a question. If you’re at a non work related social event, and you get introduced to someone, and after that introduction, they say to you Oh, very nice to meet you. Bennett. What do you do? How do you answer that? requestion
Bennett Maxwell 2:36
cookies, just one word. That’s perfectly here here in Utah. I mean, we’re, we’re still fairly new. I mean, we opened up our first store in June of last year, so 11 months ago. But due to a lawsuit and some other things. Everybody knows who Dirty Dough is. So it gave me some good publicity. I think we have 10 stores that we’ve opened in in Utah as well, maybe nine in the last year.
Bela Musits 3:01
So tell us a little bit more about Dirty Dough.
Bennett Maxwell 3:05
Yeah, Dirty Dough serves large gourmet cookies. Every flavor. There’s there are sorry, every week, there’s new flavors. And so we’re competitor to crumble in that space. And the differentiator, I guess of us first STEM is to the consumer, these are stuffed cookies. So rather than kind of doing a plain black cookie with a bunch of frosting on it, we stuffed whatever we’re gonna put instead of on it. But inside and we see we do multilayered cookies. Like a three layer cookie, we’re the only ones that do that, which is you look at it, it looks like a peanut butter cookie, you break it open, there’s a chocolate dough in the middle, and then there’s hot fudge in the very center. And then that goes with the mental health messaging of these cookies represent life and they’re not perfect, they’re not supposed to look perfect, right. But they’re they can definitely be enjoyed. So and there’s a lot of other I guess tie ins but that’s kind of the main one. Now today’s the franchisee which I consider my customer more than the end customer. We pre produce all of the dough at a centralized facility and we ship out these pre portioned dough pucks. So you can run large volumes out of these tiny little, you know, eight hundreds 900 700 square foot retail pad. And then compared to like a crumble, we’re opening up for a half to maybe a third of the cost. But you and there’s just so much more simple to run your overheads a lot lower your your Labor’s a lot lower because again, I mean, anybody can find one or two employees to work in the store and grab something from the freezer and put it in the oven.
Bela Musits 4:42
Yeah, that sounds cool. So let’s say I’m, I’m someone that’s interested in opening up one of these stores in my location. Take me through sort of how that works. What are the qualities that you look for in a person who, who’s going to run one of your franchises
Bennett Maxwell 5:00
Yeah, the the ideal candidate is an existing franchisee of a food brand. So when we find one of those, that which is funny, because I mean, that’s the exhibit, that’s who we want to target. And that’s also the easiest people to sell. Because if you’ve never been in food, you don’t get the complexities of it, suddenly you say, Hey, I got this super simple model. And the people are like, Oh, that’s cool. Well, if you’ve ran a restaurant before, you’re like, that’s amazing, very low waste one or two employees. So and then identifying the area and looking at some demographics of, you know, the competitors, population density. I mean, you can get down to household cookie spending per month. So then we you know, then going on and identifying an area, but that’s, if they don’t, if they’re not a food franchise owner, then just being a franchise owner also helps a lot. Or I guess the third option would be you’ve been in food, but you’re not a franchisee.
Bela Musits 5:57
Yeah, yeah. So do you help them sort of understand the demographics? And is that part of the assistance that you provide?
Bennett Maxwell 6:05
Yeah, so we help them when they’re in the sales process, to locate a territory, because a lot of territories are starting to fill up. So it’s like, oh, I live in Utah, but we’re sold out of Utah, where else can I go? So there’s a lot of kind of that back and forth. And then once they actually sign then we connect them with our realtor partner, and they have every state and city and even shopping mall, from a one to 200 ranking based on the number of factors, I think there’s like 26 Different factors it’s pulling from, and then 100 is average. 200 is the best so and then you can rank where you’re looking at and it’s often that micro demographic rather than macro demographics. So not so much. Are you in New York versus New Jersey, but were in New York versus were in New Jersey? And that’s where this tool really comes in handy.
Bela Musits 6:54
Yeah. And do I need to build a dedicated building for this? Or I just rent some some space? That’s usually that allows foodservice?
Bennett Maxwell 7:02
Yep, you’re grabbing, you know, 800 square feet, to 1200 square feet would be ideal strip mall next to like a grocery store, grocery store already has our target, target demographic, which are primarily moms, right, going every day. And you know, if you’re within a stone’s throw of of of them, those stores tend to
Bela Musits 7:22
do better. Yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s fascinating. And so how much of that 1200 square feet is sort of, may not be used in the right terms, but sort of the front of the house versus the back of the house?
Bennett Maxwell 7:35
Yeah, I would say, Man, without ever even working in a restaurant myself. You walk and you maybe have this 15 feet for kind of customers to wait, and then you have a calendar. And then the next 15 ish, 20 feet back is kind of the where the employees are going to be baking the cookies, putting them in the boxes and handing it to the customer. Yeah, and then there’s a wall right there. And then on the other side of the wall, there’s just three compartments, seeing, you know, some storage of freezer and a bathroom. Okay, so without percentages that I mean, it’s pretty small. And that store that I’m describing is 900 square feet, kind of as I walked through it, in my mind, but very simple build outs as well.
Bela Musits 8:22
So I’m actually sort of preparing and baking these cookies in front of the customer.
Bennett Maxwell 8:27
Yes, yeah, that you still get that I mean, they’re being baked fresh every hour, there’s no preservatives used. So you don’t suffer at all with the quality but you still get all the benefits of scale and lower labor lower waste all about higher quality.
Bela Musits 8:40
Yeah. And sort of as a franchisee. What’s sort of the capital investment that I need to make to get one of these places?
Bennett Maxwell 8:49
Um, I would say most of them are coming in from mid to hundreds, all in, you know, franchise fee billed out equipment. But, you know, some like, I know, Houston was a little bit more expensive than that, where Oklahoma was a little bit cheaper than that. So but I’d say 250 is the average.
Bela Musits 9:06
Sure. Oh, that’s kind of neat. So, you know, when I think about cookies, I love buy cookies, that’s for sure. But when I go to the grocery store, there’s like a whole aisle of cookies. And it’s almost overwhelming for me. So what sort of makes these different and better? I mean, I understand the experience is different, right? Because I’m going to get them but yeah, take me through a little bit more of the motivation for all of that.
Bennett Maxwell 9:30
Yeah, so typically like a grocery store, if you’re buying prepackaged, then you know lots of preservatives, the freshness isn’t there. Or if you can go to their, you know, their baking section or their bakery, and those are a lot fresher. I’ve never seen them served warm, which warm cookie. I mean, that’s the secret, right? You just warm it up and warm cookies is a big thing. The other thing is just the they’re giant, you know, these are about a third of a pound. They have toppings and drizzles and those aren’t things that would be Be prepared, and that way, and then every week, there’s new flavors. So you have your Mainstays, and then every week, you can go back. And they’re just crazy flavors. I mean, I think we’re, you know, 80-90 recipes right now that are in rotations. So again, grocery store, you know, your, your chocolate chip, macadamia nut, I would just say the flavors is another big thing.