Good News For Food Franchise Industry


There’s good new in the food and beverage and franchise industry: businesses are hiring!


Though the economy’s growth remains sluggish and less than expected, new hires are filing into rank at food franchises and establishments nationwide. The total number of hospitality and leisure related jobs reached 14.2 million in June– and all time high. The food and beverage sector accounts for 10.5 percent of the total U.S. Workforce, another record for the industry since the government began tracking jobs in the 1930s.


Sales at U.S. restaurants and bars are predicted to reach a record $461.3 billion this year, a 3.8 percent gain from 2012 the National Restaurant Association estimates.


These positive numbers alone are reason to celebrate, as they indicate an economy that’s finally eating out again and enjoying life a bit more. The pursestrings are not cinched as tightly as before and spendthrifts feel more comfortable spending on dining experiences. For some establishments, business has returned to pre-recessions levels. Casual and quick-casual dining establishments have seen the biggest increases.


The increase in spending both in terms of tabs and traffic isn’t only paying off for those searching for jobs. Investors and new franchisees are also seeing major returns on their investments. So far, shares of Starbucks stock has risen 29 percent; 30 percent at Dunkin Brands Group Inc. and 51 percent at Sonic Corp., all are good barometers for the food franchise industry. Domino’s Pizza is finalizing plans for its first-ever national hiring week.

What Young Fast-Food Franchises Can Learn From In-N-Out Burger

Flipping burgers, mixing up milkshakes and deep-frying French fries aren’t exactly on par with brain surgery but the life of a fast food franchise employee is far from easy.


Over 60 percent of low-wage earners are fast food franchise employees that log hours for big corporations, like McDonald’s, that are hugely profitable (90 percent of big corporations last year posted a profit). Most low-wage earners make $8 an hour and do so without paid sick leave or healthcare coverage. Not to mention, patience is probably in short supply for most fast food employees. Last, and not surprisingly, fast food establishments experience a high turnover rate.


But one burger joint, In-N-Out, has mastered the balance of happy employees and satisfied customers.


The 232 restaurant chain might be best known for its celebrity encounters (Paris Hilton was on her way to In-N-Out when she was charged with a DUI) and foodie following (famous chefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller are devotees) but many of In-N-Outs “regulars” are probably unaware of how much the company has done to maintain its original standards.


Founded in 1948, In-N-Out has resisted franchising and going public, despite the fact that, if it did, it would probably give newly successful burger franchise Five Guys a run for its money. Despite turning up its nose at franchising, In-N-Out bests both Burger King and McDonald’s in sales per unit, the primary measurement of store success.


How is it possible for a fast food chain to best two restaurant franchise behemoths? In short, it’s because In-N-Out does its best to keep employee turnover low, to invest in the future of its employees and to create a company culture that its customers and employees love.


In-N-Out hasn’t changed its menu since 1948, which has given the fast food favorite time to perfect what is on its menu: burgers, fries and milkshakes.


According to In-N-Out Burger’s website, its commitment to its food begins with its burger meat, which is free of additives, fillers and preservatives. All beef comes from In-N-Out’s own facilities in California and in Texas where each burger is made from high-quality beef chuck, which In-N-Out Burger’s butchers inspect and grind themselves.


The green stuff on your burger– lettuce– is hand-leafed at each In-N-Out Burger location right after your burger is cooked to order. Cheeseburgers feature the real deal American cheese. Each burger bun is baked–not bought. Milkshakes are made with ice cream and milk.


Good food is part of what keeps customers happy and coming back for more but it’s not the only component. Happy, helpful staff is also a major reason why many become repeat customers.


First and foremost, In-N-Out offers xx things most fast food enterprises don’t:


– opportunity for advancement

– pay above the hourly minimum wage

– employee benefits


You Pay For What You Get

Since the beginning, In-N-Out paid employees more than minimum wage. According to an article in BusinessWeek, In-N-Out, “Associates always made at least $2 to $3 above minimum wage,” and that as of early 2008 part-time workers at In-N-Out were making more than the full-time workers at Wal-Mart. Store managers at In-N-Out Burger make at least six figures and are eligible for monthly bonuses commensurate with store performance and sales.


Work Your Way Up

About 80 percent of In-N-Out’s store managers started at the very bottom before finding their way to the top. In 1984, Rich Snyder, the son of In-N-Out’s founder, established In-N-Out University. As a harbinger of quality food it made sense for In-N-Out to also produce well-trained managers. The university program is meant to reward hard working associates who have worked full-time at an In-N-Out location for a year. Rich recognized that a multiple hour shift cleaning up spilled fries seemed miserable, but wanted associates to feel like they were a part of something bigger. One reason that the chain hasn’t expanded so rapidly is because of its dedication to turning out the right kind of manager from In-N-Out University.


Most managers work for In-N-Out an average of 14 years. Part-timers remain on with the company for an average of two years.


It’s Not All About the Benjamins

Rich established an expansive set of benefits for full and part-time employees. For part-time workers, In-N-Out provides 401(k) plans and paid vacation. Full-timers are given health, dental and vision plans on top of what the part-time workers receive.


In a world that glorifies corporate profits above all, In-N-Out proves that appropriately paid and cared for employees need not drive up prices or reduce quality.



Sushi Freak Rolls in New Restaurant Concept

From rice, fish and occasionally vegetables, the Japanese created sushi: a food that’s become so ubiquitous in American culture it can be found just about anywhere– including gas stations.


While gas station sushi might not be the best choice, a new franchise concept, Sushi Freak, is offering its customers as much choice as possible.


The permutations are endless at a Sushi Freak franchise. You’re only limited by your imagination. Even if you aren’t a fan of “the raw stuff”, Sushi Freak’s list of available sushi filling ingredients — 51– include many cooked and seafood alternatives.

 sushi franchise

Customers follow a basic four step ordering process to create their own 8-piece sushi rolls: select your wrapper (soy or seaweed), pick your protein, choose your fillings and top it off with the sauce, raw fish or other topping of your choice. In addition, Sushi Freak offers vegetarian, gluten-free soy sauce and rice-free options, too.


This dedication to customization stems from Sushi Freak co-founders Michael Broder and Jenifer Duarte, whose previous food and beverage experience “got them rolling.”


Before Sushi Freak opened its first location in San Diego, Calif., the dynamic, sushi-loving duo worked for The Pacific Rim Asian Bistro in Albuquerque, New Mexico that boasted a 160 piece sushi menu. Guests of the bistro would often request for certain exclusions or additions to their sushi orders. After the one-millionth, “Can I substitute…” request Michael and Jenifer saw the need for a customizable sushi restaurant franchise.


Why It Works


A mixture of tighter budgets and greater food knowledge (thanks to the Food Network and television shows Top Chef, Chopped and The Taste) has produced a more discerning consumer: one that knows what they like to eat and how they want it made.


The beauty of Sushi Freak is that it allows customers to order exactly what they want without sacrificing the traditional sushi experience. Jenifer and Michael made sure to consult one of the best master sushi chefs they knew (the kind that isn’t allowed to touch rice until after a one-year apprenticeship) to refine the sushi making process at Sushi Freak.


The Nitty Gritty


While a definitive initial investment can’t be given for legal reasons, the estimated initial investment for a Sushi Freak franchise is $179,900 – $297,000.


Franchise term is 20 years with an option to renew for another 20 years.


Typical Sushi Freak restaurant franchise is 1200-1500 square feet.


100,000 minimum cash required.


An ideal Sushi Freak franchisee has a strong background in business management with a passion for serving people and very intrinsically motivated.


Sushi Freak is seeking franchisees in all 50 states and international locations.


One owner or designated manager must be involved in the Sushi Freak franchise on a full-time basis and be held responsible for the daily operations and management of said Sushi Freak location.


Owning and operating a Sushi freak includes: use of Sushi Freak’s brand name, trademarks, recipes, operational systems, methods and décor. Support is provided in:


  • Facility planning
  • Fixture, equipment and leasehold improvements
  • Lease negotiation
  • Site selection
  • Corporate training for owner/operator and general managers
  • Kitchen workflow design
  • Ongoing support from training/operations team
  • Ongoing updates for increasing profitability
  • Products
  • System efficiency
  • Favorable national contracts with suppliers of goods and services