FOOD FOR THOUGHT ON FRANCHISING

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Al Palladino

Owning your own business can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its own difficulties. Owning a franchise might be easier than starting your own business. With a franchise, there are

established systems and a proven business model in place to assist you, the franchisee. This way, you face fewer risks than those involved with launching your own business from the ground up.

One of the most common types of franchise is in the food industry, and they’re popular for a reason – everybody needs to eat, right? However, the food industry may not always be the best route: Margins are tight and the cost of food is rising. You also have to consider that your food inventory can spoil and that the industry is rife with ever-evolving fads. It’s important to keep an open mind when choosing what kind of franchise is best for you. Here are some details about both the food-based franchise industry and other options for franchising that may fit your needs better.


Food-based franchises

Food-based franchises range from dine-in to fast food, frozen yogurt to pizza and everything in between. According to FranchiseHelp.com there are more than 200,000 fast-food restaurant locations

in the U.S. and that number continues to grow despite the health-focused culture we live in. Clearly, there is much success to be had within this industry.

Pitfalls of the food business

Though many find success in the franchise food industry, the negatives sometimes outweigh the positives. Food franchises are at particular risk for loss of inventory.

It’s simple fact: In the food and beverage industry, products and inventory spoil. This can be due to power outages, keeping the product for too long or contaminations like an infestation. Then, of course, there’s always theft, too.

The food-based franchise industry also frequently faces fad trends. Two somewhat recent trends that come to mind include frozen yogurt and cupcake franchises. For years, it seemed as though a new location for these foods was popping up every week, but those fads have since cooled off dramatically.

Often, with a food-based franchise, the franchisee buys supplies from the franchisor. This can sometimes be a positive attribute, but may not work in every case. For example, grits are popular

in the south but aren’t in the north. A fish sandwich can be a hot-selling item for some communities on Fridays in the spring, but maybe not where there isn’t a large Catholic population.


Beyond food

There’s more to life than just food, and as a franchisee, you may benefit from veering away from the “traditional” franchise mold of food joints. With a new generation of readily available franchise concepts, investors should explore opportunities that pique their interests and match their lifestyles. There are many options available, including those that provide professional, consumer and entertainment services to millions of Americans – often without limits like inventory, cyclical demand and economic conditions. Helping others, spending time with the family, flexible scheduling, greater earning potential – whatever your goals are, there is a franchise out there to match.

Below are three examples of franchises that are off the beaten path of food-driven business (with inventories that won’t spoil).

Trampoline arenas: What better way for people to spend quality time with their families than to own a place where their kids and their friends want to hang out?

The fast track to being the coolest person in the neighborhood may start with owning an indoor trampoline arena. According to the Association of Trampoline Parks, there are currently 340 indoor arenas with revenues exceeding approximately $680 million. This is a family-friendly, fun franchise option offering ground-floor opportunities. The best part: It’s not just entertainment, but a great workout, too.

Insurance: On the professional services side, consider providing something else that everyone needs: insurance. Some insurance franchises offer their customers access to many more insurance carriers than independent insurance agencies. The best ones even offer their agents back office support, which allows for the agents to focus on and increase their sales

potential.

Pharmacies: There’s a rising trend in health-related franchise opportunities within the pharmacy industry. These franchises provide a consumer service that many people need: filling prescriptions. Providing your community with professional and convenient health advice, high-quality products, affordable medications and discounts for seniors

and others can prove to be a rewarding business venture.

Aspiring entrepreneurs face less risk when choosing to open franchise businesses, and the options for franchise types are nearly endless. Fully weigh those options and decide whether you want a franchise in the classic food-based industry or one that involves spoil-free inventory in the entertainment, professional services or health-related industries.

Al Palladino is president and director of operations at Rebounderz Franchise and Development. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida. Prior to co-founding Rebounderz, Al worked

at AT&T. He created all the proprietary software that Rebounderz units use.