Second in a series of articles by Kathleen Wood
I’m a firm believer in the American Dream…that if you are passionate and work hard, you can be successful. In my experience, the restaurant industry provides one of the most promising avenues for pursuing that dream.
Furthermore, I believe that franchising can be the ultimate vehicle for passionate, energetic people to achieve their version of the American Dream!
Franchising offers individuals and families the opportunity to “own” and operate a business that, from the beginning, should be well equipped for growth – starting with an established brand and supported by buttoned-up systems, proven operational metrics and strong, visionary leadership.
However, every prospective franchisee must ask him or herself at least two critical questions before diving in with both feet, to make certain their American Dream doesn’t devolve into an American nightmare.
- What I am so passionate about that I look forward to being 100 percent immersed in it every day?
- Other than monetary rewards, why do I really want to be in this business?
After all of my years of building businesses through my restaurant consulting practice, I’ve learned that one of the key determinants of long-term success has always been clarity. As you investigate various franchise concepts, ask yourself what truly gets your motor running. And, conversely, what doesn’t float your boat?
For example, if you don’t eat meat, don’t franchise a concept in which meat dominates the menu – no matter how much you think you can make. Similarly, if you don’t like fried food, why would you consider franchising a concept centered on all fried products? (You’d be surprised how many people have made these simple mistakes!)
Instead, focus on a concept that features food, service and a brand that you can be proud of, regardless what people may say. Can you picture yourself alongside family and friends enjoying your time there day after day?
Owning and operating a restaurant requires hard work and long hours, so there’s simply no substitute for being passionate about your job. Authentic, to-the-core enthusiasm can carry you through the good, the bad and the crazy days.
Second, align your passion with a well-defined purpose. Again, aside from the goal of increasing your bank account, why do you want to get into this business? After all, every business is designed to make money; and the good ones actually succeed at it! So, seriously, what’s driving your interest in this business, or restaurant vs. another business, or restaurant?
When my sister and I founded Suzy’s Swirl, we decided from the very beginning that our mission was to be in the business of re-igniting the American Dream by creating a vehicle for families and individuals to “own” and operate their own successful business. (I should probably add that we’re both passionate aficionados of high-quality yogurt, sorbetto and gelato!)
Along the way, we’ve had more than our fair share of long days, hard days and absolutely magical days. What carries us through them all is our crystal clear vision of re-igniting the American Dream by franchising the Suzy’s Swirl concept to no fewer than 100 families and individuals.
We’ve both found that there’s nothing quite as satisfying as being 100 percent committed to fulfilling this vision. And every step of the way, we are fueled by our passion to positively impact our crew, our customers and our communities.
Sure, it goes without saying that we want to make money through our great brand, strong systems, high-quality products, solid execution and amazing people both inside and outside of Suzy’s Swirl! But we’re both talented people; we could make money doing lots of different things.
It comes down to this: Our passion is Suzy’s Swirl!
In the end, combining Passion with Purpose can create a foundation that goes well beyond simply dreaming…to actually living your own American Dream.
Are you asking the right questions?
Kathleen Wood is a renowned restaurant industry consultant and co-owner of Suzy’s Swirl, a Chicago-based frozen dessert restaurant dedicated to offering the highest-quality frozen yogurt, sorbetto and gelato with craveable, bold flavors. For more information, visit suzysswirl.com.