Looking back, what's one decision you regret, and what did it teach you about running multiple franchise locations?
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Looking back, what's one decision you regret, and what did it teach you about running multiple franchise locations?

Looking back, what's one decision you regret, and what did it teach you about running multiple franchise locations?

“Regrets? I’ve had a few,” Frank Sinatra sang in his classic 1969 song, “My Way.” Franchisees, however, must do it their franchisor’s way—at least when it comes to following the system. Yet, in so many ways (culture, organizational structure, hiring and firing), they are free to make their own decisions—which of course opens them to making mistakes as they grow. We asked three multi-unit restaurant franchisees to tell us about one of their big regrets—and what they learned from it.

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ROB BRANCA

Company: President, Branded Management Group and Branded Realty Group

Brands: Dunkin (200+), RimTyme, Interstate Battery

Years in franchising: 20

Branca is the elected leader in the Dunkin’ Brand Advisory Council, Chair of Northeast US Region, Member of the IFA Board of Directors, Chair of Inspire Brands’ Government Affairs Committee, IFA Franchisee of the Year, and Past Chair of the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference.

My biggest regret is not becoming a franchise owner sooner than I actually did. The lesson learned is to invest in your own success early, whether it means seeking out opportunities or building an infrastructure for planned growth and building the best team possible.

JOHN METZ

Company: RREMC Restaurants, CEO, Founder

Units: 62 Denny’s, 5 Hurricane Grill & Wings, 2 Wahoo’s Fish Taco

Years in franchising: 22

John Metz is a Past Chair of the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference and former franchisor of Hurricane Grill & Wings, which he sold to FAT Brands in 2018.

My biggest regret is not following my instinct to do a fast-casual version of Hurricane Grill & Wings. I’d come up with a concept called Hurricane BTW (Burgers, Tacos, Wings) that would be a fast-casual version of our brand. I took it to our senior team, and no one would support me. We had 75 stores and a big pipeline at the time, and they said it would kill the pipeline. We would have been competing with Wingstop, which now has more than 2,000 stores.

So I tabled Hurricane BTW until about a year before I sold Hurricane to FAT Brands in 2018. But, right before I sold the company, I decided to do it anyway. I opened three and they were successful. When I sold Hurricane to FAT Brands, they didn’t pursue it.

Today, as a Hurricane Grill & Wings franchisee, I’m excited to be developing 5 to 15 Hurricane BTW stores as a franchisee of FAT Brands, with their support.

So my biggest regret is that I wish I’d done it when I first thought of it.

DENISE DOWNING

Company: PJD Investments

Brand: Toppers Pizza (La Crosse and Onalaska WI, & Winona, MN)

Years in franchising: 22

Learning to delegate effectively is a crucial lesson in being an owner. Letting go can be hard, but if you don’t it can lead to burnout and can also hinder the growth of your business and your team. By empowering your managers and trusting them to make decisions, you give them room to grow, but also free up your own time to focus on other important aspects of your business. Allowing them to fail sometimes is part of the learning process, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and improvement. Trusting in your team’s abilities and giving them the ability to take ownership can lead to a more resilient and successful business in the long run. Looking back, we wish we would have stepped back sooner and let managers run things more. Today we are in a place where we cannot imagine stepping back into the stores. Our management team prides itself on problem-solving on its own. We still guide them and provide feedback regularly and are still very much a part of daily operations, but by letting go we allow them to feel ownership in the business.

FRANCHISEE BYTES

What is your passion in business?

Driving the culture, building teams, keeping energy high, and filling the boat (taking people with us)!
—Al Bhakta, Founding Principal, CMG Companies, 143 KFC, 101 Sonic Drive-In, 90 Rent-A-Center, 38 Ace Hardware, 35 KFC/Taco Bell, 22 Little Caesars, 2 Taco Bell

My passion in business has always been solving problems to make the business more efficient on the basic level. On a high level, it would be the overall growth of the business. There is nothing more fun than growing a business, whether it is with Hoogland Restaurant Group or with one of the other businesses that we run.
—McLain Hoogland, President, Hoogland Restaurant Group, 117 Marco’s Pizza

Honestly, it would be the people. To be able to serve our different communities is my passion.
—Joseph Omobogie, President/Owner, Golden Management LLC, 14 Golden Chick, 11 Tropical Smoothie Cafe, 4 Marco’s Pizza, 2 Thai Express, 1 Captain D’s

Having a positive impact on people’s lives.
—Jim Balis, CEO, Sizzling Platter, 345 Little Caesars, 139 Wingstop, 105 Little Caesars Mexico, 92 Jamba, 30 Dunkin’, 22 Jersey Mike’s Subs, 7 Sizzler, 5 Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, 2 Cinnabon

Being able to give back in the way of foundation donations and helping grow the livelihoods of our operating partners who work with us.
—Kadirali “Ali” Chunara, President, Chunara Group of Companies, 62 Checkers & Rally’s, 50 Dunkin’, 10 Take 5 Oil Change, 10 TGI Fridays, 9 My Eyelab, 7 Blaze Pizza, 7 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, 5 Kale Me Crazy, 4 BurgerFi, 3 Nothing Bundt Cakes, 2 Church’s Texas Chicken, 1 Jimmy John’s

Creating and managing successful teams.
—Wyatt Batchelor, Managing Partner, MBN Brands, 65 Jimmy John’s, 58 Burger King, 22 KFC

Leadership development. The process of coaching and servant-leading others from where they are to where they want to be gives me the most energy, enthusiasm, and fire to grow and get better.
—Antonio McBroom, CEO, Primo Partners, 15 Ben & Jerry’s

I love the growth—both in the company and in our leadership team.
—Raj Patel, President, The Hari Group, 88 Dunkin’, 6 Dave’s Hot Chicken, 5 McAlister’s Deli

Published: May 13th, 2024

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