So you love burgers so much that you have decided to run a burger joint of your own. There are two pathways to owning a burger joint, starting your own business and buying into a burger franchise. While what is right for one person might not be right for another, owning a burger franchise can give you all the perks of being your own boss, but with a support structure that will help ensure your success. You will also have a popular brand to stand behind. On the flip side though, you don’t have complete creative control. It all comes down to what is right for you personally.
If you are considering owning a burger franchise, check out this step by guide through the whole process:
Make sure it’s the right decision.
There are a lot of pros and cons for both owning your own burger joint and buying into a burger franchise so you need to first do a lot of research. Then when you have all the facts, be honest with yourself about what you want. If you like to be in control of all aspects of your business, being a franchisee is probably not right for you. As a franchisee, you are expected to use the franchisor’s brand and to follow certain rules that will be laid out in your franchising agreement. If on the other hand, you like the idea of having a well-known brand behind you and a corporate headquarter that can offer you support and training then a burger franchise is a good option.
While it is okay to be a first-time business owner, you do need some business skills. If you don’t think you are equipped to handle finding the right location for your business, training staff or managing the finances, then being a business owner may not be the right career for you. While owning a burger franchise might appear to be an easy moneymaker, there is a lot of hard work that goes on behind successful franchises. You can’t just sit back and expect things to just happen for you.
You need to also make sure that have a strong enough financial portfolio to be successful as a burger franchise owner. When you buy a burger franchise, there will be an initial franchise fee and then subsequent royalty fees that you will pay monthly. Some franchisors charge higher initial fees than others so you need to go through all your finances and figure out what range you can work with. Financial experts recommend that when making your calculations you consider what other income you have, your general lifestyle (Do you like expensive vacations and vintage wine?), as well what you expect to earn from the franchise. You don’t want to end up bankrupt in your first year so it is important that you are completely honest with yourself.
Make a list of criteria.
Once you are certain that owning a burger franchise is right for you, the next step is finding which franchise you want to join. Most likely if you are interested in burger franchises, you have a favorite restaurant or two as well as a few favorite dishes. Think about what you love the most about them and use that as a basis for your list. Even if you already have a strong affinity for one particular restaurant, don’t jump hasty into a decision. It is still important to shop around to ensure that you are making the best choice.
Other things you should be looking for in a burger franchise are a strong support structure and training program. What this looks like tends to vary so be clear on what you would prefer. You want to work with a franchisor who is invested in the success of his or franchisees. Of course, money is always a factor too; so be honest about what you can afford. Burger franchises range from under $10K to 500K or more depending on the brand. Stick to what you can realistically afford without going bankrupt in the first couple of years.
Now that you have a solid list of what you are looking for, it is time to research. Don’t just rely on google though. Call up potential franchisors. Set up consultations. Find out what they offer franchisees. Do they offer advertising and marketing help? Do they offer a strong training program? Do they really seem invested in the success of their franchisees?
Don’t just look at one or two. Get a real feel for your options before making your final choice. Choose one that shares a similar mission. Each one will have a different philosophy of customer service and their own way of doing things. Go for the one you believe the most strongly in. Without shared values and mission statements, it will be hard for you to stay passionate about your business and passion is the key to success.
Hire a lawyer.
Unless you have a law background yourself, it is impossible for you to know all the legalese needed in contract negotiations. It is a good idea to hire a legal advisor who can guide you through the whole process of becoming a franchise. You should also ask him or her to look into any concerning litigation that the parent company might be involved in.
Pick your burger joint
Now that all that leg work is done, it is finally time to choose your franchise and go about becoming an owner of your very own burger joint. All franchisors have some sort of pre-approval and approval process that you will need to go through first. And then they usually will offer you training and support as you pick a location, hire staff and purchase inventory. How long a training program offered tends to vary. And some franchisors are more hands-on than others.
If you have done your homework correctly, there should be no surprises throughout the process. You’ll know exactly what to expect and soon all your hard work will pay off.