Franchising is all about consistency, about duplicating a system and product across state and even national lines. While the franchise units within your system need to follow the same blueprint, that doesn’t mean your franchise system needs to resemble anybody else’s.
I don’t know how many times I’ve had to eat lunch in a franchise restaurant that’s about 98 percent similar to some other place I’m already familiar with. When you get down to it, usually, a sub shop is a sub shop and the same with pizza places and coffeehouses. Business people can be copycats, and if Jack demonstrates that he can make money selling charbroiled pickles, you can bet Joe will be setting up across the street next week with a hibachi and a truckload of gherkins.
But my experiences have taught me that the really successful franchise systems are the ones that start with a unique vision and maintain it, even at the cost of short-term gain. When you offer not just a distinctive product or service but a unique atmosphere and culture, you’ve set yourself apart in ways that can pay off big-time down the road.
Maybe it’s a Louisiana thing. When our CEO, Tony Avila, founded the VooDoo BBQ & Grill franchise a decade ago, he had to overcome the skepticism of people who thought he was a fool for pitching a barbecue franchise in a city, New Orleans, renowned for Creole cuisine and seafood. But that’s what Tony was after — something out of the ordinary. He knew people there and elsewhere in the country could find New Orleans-style cuisine. He knew they could get barbecue.
But New Orleans-style barbecue? That was something else entirely. It starts with a foundation of slow-cooked, competition-style meat and adds distinctive side dishes, flavorful sauces exclusive to VooDoo and a fun atmosphere drawn from the streets of the Crescent City. VooDoo BBQ has come a long way since it opened on one of the main Mardi Gras parade routes on Fat Tuesday 2002 (another move your business advisor wouldn’t recommend; it was pretty crazy). Along the way, we learned from our mistakes, suffered through some false starts, even lost a restaurant to Hurricane Katrina.
Sure, you have to take some chances and hang in there when your instincts tell you you’re doing it all wrong, that you’ve already hit the iceberg, that So-and-So’s Fried Frog Legs Emporium is doing great and has a better business model. It takes guts and smarts to hang with your vision and see it through.
But when you’ve succeeded, when you’ve proven the doubters wrong and created not just a successful business but a real culture, a world of your own in which great people are employed and happy and guests are coming back again and again — really, is there a better feeling in the world?
When you start researching franchise systems, look for the distinctive ones, the brands that stand out from the rest. Franchising is full of imitators — keep your eyes open for franchises that embrace original ideas. They’re the brands that more often than not find long-term success. Besides, if you wanted to be like everybody else, why’d you decide to go into business for yourself in the first place?
Senior Director of Franchise Development
VooDoo BBQ & Grill franchise company
Learn more about the VooDoo BBQ & Grill franchise opportunity.
Who says you can’t mix business with New Orleans style pleasure! Our franchisees benefit from our passion for extraordinary food, great atmosphere and sound business sense. If you’re looking for an award-winning franchise opportunity that instantly distinguishes itself from the competition with an unrivaled product in an otherwise comparable BBQ industry, then welcome to the VooDoo BBQ & Grill franchise and our unique “New Orleans Style” BBQ. We offer an innovative franchise opportunity in a growing industry by leveraging a proven concept that adds New Orleans flair to everything from our expanded menu to our mouth-watering taste. Come share in our magic!