How to Open a Franchise Restaurant

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Guest Post by Joel Libava

Early conversations people have when they’re thinking about getting into franchising often involves opening a franchise restaurant business. Why?
Because restaurants are busy. Americans love dining out. And the data proves it.

According to Statisa.com, the average food away-from-home expenditure of U.S. households (in 2021) amounted to about $3,030 U.S. dollars per year. And while that’s less than the numbers from say, 2019 (because of the pandemic), spending at restaurants is trending up.

Bottom line? U.S. consumers love dining out.

The good news? There is a way for you to get some of that money being spent on dining out. Open a franchise restaurant!

Are You the Right Candidate for a Franchise Restaurant Business?

Before you get too far down the “I want to own a franchise restaurant” path, the first thing you need to do is make sure you’re a good fit for a franchise business. How?

By taking a hard look at yourself with regards to your willingness to strictly follow a franchise operating manual.

What’s in a Franchise Operating Manual?

Have you ever seen a franchising manual for a restaurant franchise?
If not, here are some of the items that are included in it:

  • Menus
  • Recipes
  • Inventory requirements
  • Décor
  • Signage
  • Technology requirements
  • Marketing/advertising templates
  • Customer service standards

And more.

But how will you know if you’re right for franchise ownership? Look at your past experiences as an employee.

For example, did you follow the rules laid out by the company? Were you okay with doing so? Will you make a commitment to do so as a franchisee?
If your answer is yes, going the franchise route could end up being a satisfying endeavor.

But which franchise should you open?

How to Choose a Franchise to Open in the Food Service Space

This part of the process involves deciding on what type of restaurant you’d like to own. Some of the choices today include:

  • Fast food
  • Breakfast food
  • Healthy food
  • Specialty food
  • Full-service

In most cases, I’ve found that the choices people make when they buy a food franchise have more to do with familiarity and comfort than anything else.

But there are exceptions.

For instance, people who dedicate their lives to eating healthy aren’t going to buy a franchise that specializes in fried chicken.

And newer categories, like breakfast food, attract a fair share of interested franchisees. That’s because it’s perceived as being new. Less competitive.
But what if you’re someone who wants more than a typical restaurant franchise can offer? As in way more?

Open a Full-Service Franchise Restaurant

If I could tell you one thing about owning a full-service restaurant business, it’s this:

“ Full-service restaurants have multiple high-dollar streams of income coming in, day and night. Take Twin Peaks for instance. We’re open from 11:00 am to midnight on weekdays, and until 1:00 am on weekends.

That means our excellent food, our famous 29° beer, and our hand-crafted cocktails and beverages are bringing in revenue more than 12 hours a day,. That’s a huge advantage over other restaurant concepts!

But there’s so much more you get when you become the owner of a full-service franchise restaurant like Twin Peaks.

What You Get with a Full-Service Food Franchise

Franchisees of full-service restaurant franchises have access to a plethora of systems, tools, and resources to help them operate a successful operation. Some of these include:

  • A proprietary operating manual
  • Restaurant POS systems
  • Software/hardware
  • Food and Beverage inventory systems
  • Proven marketing/promotional systems
  • Menus
  • Real estate assistance
  • Support from headquarters

And more, including an established franchise brand you can leverage to help you succeed as a franchisee.

Would you like to open one?

On Opening a Franchise Restaurant

Let’s say you’re impressed with a specific brand in the restaurant space. What are your next steps?

1. Contact franchise headquarters.

These days, most people fill out a short online “Request Information” form.

2. Talk to the franchise development representative.

Once you’ve requested information from the franchisor, you’ll receive a follow-up asking you to schedule a time to talk with your rep.

During the call, your franchise representative will give you a rundown of the opportunity, along with next steps. And yes, you’ll be able to ask questions about the business, territory availability, the brand, and more.

3. Go through the process.

The process of exploring a franchise opportunity is a step-by step, week-by-week process. And as you’ll see, the steps you need to take will be spelled out.

For example, in week #1, you may go over branding and positioning. For instance, what makes the franchise special?

Week #2 may consist of going through their product offerings, pricing, and inventory requirements (in this case, food, and beverages). And so forth.

By the end of the process, you’ll know practically everything you need to know about the brand and the opportunity.

4. Talking to franchisees.

Part of the franchise buying process involves research. And one of the best ways to conduct your due diligence is by talking to (and visiting) franchisees.

Remember, they’re the ones who are doing what you’re thinking of doing. So call them!

5. In most cases, you’ll be invited to headquarters to meet the executive team.

Visiting franchise headquarters is a great way to see the operation in action…in real-time. You’ll meet department heads, find out who’s going to support you, and get a feel for the company and the culture.

6. Making a Decision.

The final step in the franchise purchasing process is for you to say yes or no. And while it’s true that opening a franchise restaurant is a big deal, if you truly like the brand and the people behind it, and the franchisees are happy and profitable, your decision may not be that difficult.

This post was written by The Franchise King®, Joel Libava. He’s a 20+ year industry veteran, the author of two books on how to buy and research franchises, and a Franchise Ownership Advisor.

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