With more than 1,300 franchisors, franchise consultants, and vendor members, choosing the best restaurant franchise can be an intimidating experience – especially for a stay-at-home parent trying to re-enter the workforce on their own terms. Our team of franchise advisers at the International Franchise Professionals Group (IFPG) can help demystify the franchise selection and investment process for aspiring business owners. In this article, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions that our franchise brokers hear from retail investors seeking business opportunities in the restaurant sector.
From Financing to Buzzworthy Brands: What Should I Know?
Whether you’re just getting started or already have experience as an owner-operator, there are some key elements to consider when evaluating restaurant franchises.
Financing your restaurant franchise
The first step is securing financing for your business venture. Your financial background will be closely scrutinized, so you’ll want to obtain financing in advance. Many franchisors will have a list of recommended lenders and alternative financing sources. It’s important to establish an operating budget based on the franchise’s fees, upfront costs and ongoing fees. Additional expenses such as equipment and personnel costs should also be considered. It’s also important to think about your ROI objectives and timeline – for instance, you might want to have your business up and running within three months.
Choosing the right franchise
When it comes to restaurant franchises, there are tried-and-true “buzzworthy” brands to consider – but there are also off-the-beaten-path concepts that could be worth exploring. Factors such as desired level of involvement, lifestyle preferences, risk tolerance, and desired region are all important considerations when selecting a franchise. The IFPG can advise you on many details of the franchise selection process, such as obtaining disclosure documents, evaluating the franchise opportunity, and researching the competitive landscape.
Location & Real Estate Requirements
Location is one of the most important factors in establishing a successful restaurant business. Keep in mind that the site selection process might take three to six months – or even longer. Youmight want to explore opportunities for co-branding as well. Also, be mindful of barriers to entry, such as zoning laws and local ordinances for restaurant businesses.
Understanding Franchise Regulations
Due to the nature of the restaurant industry, there may be additional regulations to consider such as foodservice safety. Make sure that you understand all applicable regulations and the respective obligations of the franchisor. This can help you better assess the level of compliance required and set realistic expectations for the process.
Choosing the Right Management Approach
Finally, it’s important to think about the management team you’ll need to run the restaurant. If you’re comfortable with owning and operating the restaurant yourself, you may wish to consider investing in an owner-operator concept. On the other hand, if you plan on hiring a manager, you’ll want to look for a proven brand with strong support mechanisms in place. Additionally, hiring the right personnel is critical for initial domestic expansion, as well as taking your business overseas.