Buying a Franchise

What’s It Like to be the First Franchisee In a Region?

The experience of one coffee franchise owner provides a lot of insight into the decision-making process for people who are planning to buy a franchise.

This businessman was the first franchisee in his state for a well-known chain of coffee shops. He jumped in with no proof that this company would do well in his region, largely because he had enjoyed their coffee when traveling and felt positive toward them from the point of view of a consumer.

On the day his franchise opened to the public, the new franchise business owner started his day at 3:00 a.m. and worked through till 3:00 the next morning. He was busy the whole time. Customers were camped out the night before just to be there when his new franchise opened because they believed in the quality of the brand. There’s nothing better for a new franchisee than having a brand that’s already so successful that people are clamoring to come in.

This businessman could have gone with another brand that was successful in his territory, or even a local chain with a strong following. Choosing a company that was already advertising in his market and already succeeding in his state would have been a safer move. Instead he went with a nationally known brand with no previous local presence, confident that the name recognition would work in his favor.

He was right. The most common response to his new shop was excitement that his town finally had this famous brand.

In a sense, the famous company had already been marketing in his area for his franchise, even though there wasn’t a single franchisee of that particular brand anywhere near him and his customers. His neighbors were aware of the brand and some had probably made a point of stopping in when they were in a town that had the franchise – just as this new franchisee had.

This first franchise was so successful that other franchisees have started the process to open locations elsewhere in the state. Not only did potential franchisees see the opportunity to open a successful coffee shop but the franchisor saw an opportunity to expand their reach to new markets instead of focusing on markets already saturated with their brand.

Realistically, not many brands generate enough following in untapped markets to have people waiting in line on opening day. It’s also important to recognize that buzz is just buzz. If you don’t follow through and provide the anticipated experience to your customers, their excitement won’t last enough to create lasting success for your business.

Still, the new coffee franchisee’s sleepless night when he opened his shop was a good sign for him, and he has been able to reach the goals he set for himself. The people following in his footsteps now that the first franchisee has been successful will probably do well too, but there are things to be said for being the pioneer.

If you find yourself saying, “We really need a _____ here,” you might have found your perfect franchise business opportunity.”

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