Twin Peaks, known for its made-from-scratch food, draft beer and of course the Twin Peaks Girls, brings many different owners into its franchise opportunity. Carolyn Vangelos is one of those franchisees. Carolyn Vangelos bought into her first Twin Peaks restaurant with her husband, Andrew Bayless, and co-owner, Jay Schneider, in 2012.
The husband and wife team has worked together for more than 15 years and owns three Twin Peaks restaurants in the Phoenix, AZ area, with an additional one in the pipeline for Q1 2020. We had a chance to interview Carolyn Vangelos about her franchise growth and experience as a Twin Peaks franchise partner, to share with those considering a Twin Peaks franchise opportunity.
Twin Peaks: How did you get started in the franchising business?
Carolyn Vangelos: I started working with franchises in 2006 when my operations company, BMG, was recruited to work with the franchisor for Buffalo Wild Wings in the Phoenix market. We worked for over five years developing five locations of the Buffalo Wild Wings brand in The Valley. We worked closely with corporate Buffalo Wild Wings as well as the other local franchise groups to promote the brand and improve operations through what turned out to be a difficult financial time for both Arizona and the rest of the country. Still committed to the growth of the brand, we opened two locations and continued control of operations until 2011, when we parted with the local franchise group to pursue other avenues. Through research, partnership, and the creation of our franchise group, AZ Peaks, we began the partnership with Twin Peaks.
TP: What made you decide to get into the franchising business?
CV: At past operations, we felt the franchise model was a great fit for us. We were looking for the right brand that we believed in and where we felt confident we could apply our operational expertise towards financial success.
TP: How did you find out about the franchising opportunity with Twin Peaks?
CV: Our group learned that the first Twin Peaks location was opening in Scottsdale, AZ. We assumed that any opportunity to franchise was taken and were told as much after we reached out to Twin Peaks leadership in Dallas, TX. We had a brief meeting with the representative for the Scottsdale location and quickly learned that it was to be a “Corporate” market. We still wanted to get in front of the Texas leadership and founders and developed what we thought to be a winning formula for development for future Twin Peaks stores in a market we knew well. We took the trip to Dallas, toured locations in the area, and knew that we wanted to franchise the brand. After delivering our plan to Twin Peaks leadership and several meetings later, our group signed with Twin Peaks and plans for our first location in Phoenix began.
TP: What drew your interest to Twin Peaks?
CV: Initially, what drew us to the Twin Peaks brand was quite simple – cold beer, made-from-scratch food, the perfect sports viewing experience, and of course the all-female front of the house Twin Peaks Girls. The mission to “create an experience you can’t live without” is something that through the past seven years has remained the goal and objective as brand operations have evolved.
How do we achieve the mission? The answer is with simple guiding principles: respect, excellence, loyalty, hospitality, an adventurous attitude, and being experts in what we do inside and outside our four walls each day. What really impressed me is that, in general, the decisions that guide changes in the menu, operations, and brand image keep these goals, objectives, and mission top of mind. Twin Peaks was and still remains ahead, on trend, and evolutionary in design and menu, and on the cutting edge in the training and development of its people. I have been and continue to be pleased to represent the brand.
TP: What perception or knowledge of Twin Peaks did you have prior to partnering with them?
CV: They were the new kids on the block with less than 30 locations, which was a draw to us, as we felt we could be a part of an exciting, growing brand. The initial perception was that the brand fell into a narrow segment of casual dining geared towards sports and male clientele, however as franchise partners, we have been a part of the evolution and, while we have retained our core goals and DNA, the brand has been in front of trends and continues to deliver on exciting food, beverages, and sports events.
TP: Has your perception of the brand changed? If so, what changed your perception?
CV: The part of my initial perception that has evolved the most has been the broader nature and impact the brand makes in each trade area it is in. In other words, the narrow segment which I initially believed the brand was a part of has grown. Our reach into our communities has grown through the commitment to developing the brand into a national and soon to be an international name. The same core values of the total experience, the evolution of the menu, the commitment to remain “made from scratch,” the partnership with the franchisees, and the caliber of overall presentation allow us to continue to grow successfully within existing markets and beyond.
TP: How has your experience been so far as a franchise partner of Twin Peaks?
CV: The overall experience has been great – one with inclusion for all franchisees and a voice in the expansion and development of the brand. At the same time, there is the ability for autonomy in running your franchise as your own business, which speaks to the core leadership of the brand.
TP: How has your past experience in owning a franchise helped with your experience in growing a successful business with Twin Peaks?
CV: Successfully running a franchise relies on a number of qualities, but most of all the managers and staff that you choose to run and operate the business day to day. Working with another franchise before Twin Peaks gave me the basis for what to expect from the franchisee/franchisor relationship. Twin Peaks has a unique set of operational standards that works with your managers and staff for a unique experience focused on driving sales and delivering top-level hospitality to our guests.
TP: Do you think you make a different impact as a female franchise partner of Twin Peaks?
CV: Working with an all-female service staff, I have been thrilled to see the growth and development of excellent young women in this industry and with the Twin Peaks brand. Not only do we work with our staff on Twin Peaks specific standards within the operation, but I have also been able to provide opportunities for promotions within our company, witnessed numerous graduations, career goals achieved, and financial independence for our female staff members. We encourage our female staff members to create and achieve goals and take part in fundraising and special events for our local community, and encourage each team member to take part in our elections both locally and nationally.
If our interview with Carolyn resonated with you, it’s time to check into the Twin Peaks franchise experience! Twin Peaks is built upon five brand pillars: the Twin Peaks Girls, made-from-scratch food, 29° draft beer, sports on wall-to-wall TVs, and of course, the local lodge atmosphere. Twin Peaks, ranked #4 in casual dining sales growth, is a clearly defined brand that delivers category-leading financial results. For more information on the Twin Peaks franchise opportunity, contact us today!