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4 Best Practice on How to Grow Your Franchisee Business



4 Best Practice on How to Grow Your Franchisee Business

Whether you are a franchise or other small business owner, you probably have asked yourself at some point how to grow your business. Entrepreneurship is both rewarding and extremely hard. You must lead, coach, counsel and direct your employees each day. You have to walk the talk and be the chief executive, the bookkeeper, the marketing department and even HR.

Because of this, it’s best to focus on growing one step at a time—don’t try to skip steps along the way. For example, even as a franchisor, Penn Station focuses on assisting franchisees with opening one successful restaurant and then another, as opposed to lofty goals that we could attempt to achieve without regard for our franchisee’s profitability and their overall success.

Before you think about growing your business, make sure your current operations are going well and you have the infrastructure in place to grow. Your current location or locations should be profitable before you open more. If they aren’t, fix any operational or marketing problems to increase sales, then focus on opening one location at a time.

Your goal could be to increase sales or open more locations, but no matter how you want to grow, advice from people who have already succeeded is a great place to start. We asked some of our top franchises for their tips on growing your franchise business. Here’s what they had to say.

Eric Fairbanks, owner of two Penn Station restaurants in North Carolina

Focus on operations first and then marketing. Operations are having the right person running your restaurant, following the procedures, training the team, and then backing them with good systems and support. The rest will follow. The baseline for marketing is community involvement. Personal relationships with local schools, churches, athletics and business leaders go a long way with local marketing.

John Doyle, owner of nine Penn Station restaurants in Ohio

You have to have an infrastructure in place to grow, and you don’t want to grow too fast. Going from one to two locations is kind of like having multiple children. Two stores feel like three or four when you have to split your time and resources, so make sure you are completely ready before you make the move.

Jeff Kelsey, owner of nine Penn Station restaurants in Kentucky and Indiana

Have both short- and long-term plans. Pay attention to the details and hire individuals who believe in your values and culture—don’t just hire warm bodies.

Don Robinson, owner of 20 Penn Station restaurants in Kentucky 

Focus on developing a strong team and culture inside your four walls before trying to increase traffic with promotions. You should go to over-prepared and deliver from day one.

Growing is a natural next step once you have a successful, profitable business. To maintain your success, avoid pitfalls like growing too fast and never lose focus on operational excellence.

Craig Dunaway has been president of Penn Station since 1999. Before joining Penn Station Inc., Dunaway was a partner at the regional accounting firm of McCauley, Nicolas & Company, LLC in Jeffersonville, Indiana, where he had worked since 1982 in various staff and managerial positions. Dunaway has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana University and is still a licensed CPA. Dunaway formerly had ownership interests in a Papa John’s® franchisee that owned 11 stores, and he served as the secretary/treasurer for that Papa John’s® franchisee. In addition, he had ownership interests in Coastal Cheesesteaks, LLC (headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina) until June 2011 and in Louisville Cheesesteaks, LLC (headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky) until January 2014, both of which are Penn Station franchisees. While a shareholder in those Penn Station franchisees, Dunaway served as secretary/treasurer. Penn Station was named one of the Best Franchises to Buy by Forbes in 2016 and 2018 and one of the Best Franchise Deals by QSR Magazine in 2016 and 2017.