How did you get into the industry?
We originally were involved with convenience marts, but decided that a family-style, value-driven restaurant serving delicious food would be a better investment. So, in 2008, we opened the first Sam’s Southern Eatery location in Shreveport, Louisiana. Since then, we’ve opened over 80 locations across 13 states. We accomplished this largely by offering Licenses to restauranteurs seeking to operate a business of their own.
What’s New in the Business or in the Franchise Model?
We now are establishing Brand Standards. Before franchising, our licensees were largely left to their own devices for running the business. We help when we can and offer support when it is asked, but ultimately, the Licensing Agreement lacked an ability to enforce certain requirements that we feel are integral for delivering the customer experience at Sam’s as it should. Now, with the franchise model, we can deliver the same level of service at each location.
Where do you See Opportunities or Challenges for the Franchise/Business Moving Forward?
I believe that old habits tend to stick around. Since our network of stores were not confined to a Franchise Agreement, it was up to the licensees to choose for themselves how they wish to run the business. Now, we have developed systems and processes that we wish to adapt into all our locations. Converting licensees will likely take some time, but its an effort we’re willing to make!
What is your Goal for the Business Moving Forward?
To grow! We’ve managed significant growth in the 12 years we’ve been in business, and now, with the help of a franchise system supporting us and our brand, we believe we’ll continue to expand by offering an extremely valuable investment at a cost that is much lower than most other restaurants franchises.
Talk to us About Training and Support, How Do You Deliver?
We have developed a two-phase Franchisee Training program that will allow for a smooth and efficient onboarding process. The first phase involves the franchisee spending time in one of our Corporate locations to learn both the Front of House and Back of House operations. The second phase will involve a designated member of the Sam’s Corporate team accompanying the franchisee as they launch their location – they will help with initial hiring, verifying proper installation of all equipment and appliances and assist with the Grand Opening. We also have designated “Field Consultants” that will be available for franchisees to contact if they have questions.
Your most difficult moment at the Franchise Business?
Because our company really didn’t rely on a consistent operational process, we realized that we lacked many resources that franchisees would come to expect to have access to. Fortunately, we have since developed a Manual with all the tools a franchisee will need to operate the business, and continue to develop additional tools for the benefit of the franchise network.
How is your Franchise Model Structured?
Training and Support Model:
The franchisee will spend up to two weeks with us at one of our Corporate stores, observing the day-to-day managing of a location and how to properly coordinate the team. Once the franchisee is nearing launch of their own location, a member of the Corporate Staff will accompany the franchisee for up to a week to help prepare for launch, assist in the initial hiring of employees and verify vendor relationships and inventory ordering systems have been properly put in place.
What is the Fee Structure?
At this moment, we are currently requiring a 6% royalty to be paid each month, plus 1% for contribution to a Marketing Fund that will be used to help promote the Sam’s brand.
Right now, our territory perimeters include a population of approximately 50,000 people or 3-mile radius of protection from any other Sam’s location.
Day in the Life of the Franchisee?
We truly believe our business works best with Owner/Operators. By having a passion for providing good service to people and creating jobs for the community, Owner/Operators will have the most potent emotional connection with the business and will manage the restaurant with heart and compassion. This scenario, we believe, to be a recipe for success – Owner/Operators are motivated, and we intend to give them everything they need so they have the best chance for success.
What does Your Franchisee Do in the Business Every Day?
Typically, the franchisee will partake in the role of General Manager (GM). We do also feature both Kitchen Manager and Front Manager roles, and if the franchisee has a background in the culinary arts, they may wish to help prepare the food in the kitchen. Other franchisees may be more customer service oriented and would prefer to be greeting customers in the front. A franchisee as a General Manager oversees the entire operation, fulfilling any priority task that exists at that time, and they may also be responsible for accomplishing certain tasks that are typically reserved for Kitchen Manager or Front Manager role.
Who is the Ideal Franchise Candidate?
I would say someone who has familiarity with restaurants, particularly in the Quick-Service space. We offer two predominant customer experiences – a “take-out” option whereupon the customer approaches a front counter and places orders directly with our Front Staff, and a “dine-in” option where the customer receives full table service courtesy of one of our of fantastic Servers. Franchisees that have worked in either environment will have advantages in terms of wherewithal and will likely feel more comfortable managing the business at the start. However, we feel our preparation processes have been streamlined such that you don’t need to be a Five-Star Chef to prepare a great meal with us. Once the franchisee has completed their Training, regardless of their prior experience, they’ll have the knowledge they need to feel confident.
Success Stories and Failures with Franchisees?
No successes yet, but no failures either – we are just now initiating our franchising efforts, and we are confident that we’ve prepared enough and built enough to provide franchisees with what they need to operate a Sam’s Southern Eatery like it should.
What Goals Do you Have for the Franchise Model in the Future?
To continue improving our systems and processes. We want to make the franchisees job and day-in-the-life to be as easy and stress-free as possible. We fully intend to embrace the feedback our franchisees will provide so that we can continue to fine-tune the operation and deliver a high-quality investment opportunity to those joining the Sam’s family.
For more information on the Sam’s Southern Eatery Franchise, visit the franchise site: https://samssoutherneatery.com/