FAQ (Ask Mo)
What advice would you give to potential franchisees who are researching opportunities?
First we would say, “Do Your Homework." There are many brands selling franchises and some of them are unproven concepts. Make sure you choose a brand which has a proven track record and a loyal customer following. Also make sure you know what you are getting into. Owning your own business can be very rewarding, but don’t let anyone tell you it is easy. It is hard work, but it can be a great lifestyle, too.
Once someone has zeroed in on their final candidates what are the key factors they should consider?
That’s a great question. First of all, two elements are absolute musts: one, a proven management team with a record of success and two, a strong unit level economics. Without these two factors, we would advise caution. Equally important is a great product and exceptional customer service. The food business is pretty straight forward. If a brand offers a good product at a fair price, welcomes their guest in a warm and clean environment with a friendly smile, and continuously operates to a high performance standard, chances are they will succeed. Beyond the basics, a brand must have a point of differentiation and a culture of openness to help them remain relevant to constantly changing consumer demands.
How does Smiling Moose Deli measure up to these criteria?
We believe Smiling Moose Deli is firing on all cylinders. Our strong customer loyalty statistics, low crew and management turnover ratios, and strong unit level performance, all indicate we have something special to offer. It’s rare to see such a relatively new brand offer both a ground floor opportunity, and exhibit a mature understanding of what it takes to run a successful business. At the end of the day, we just try to work hard, play hard, have some fun and treat people right. It’s a simple formula that works well for us—and it can work for you, too.
What is the typical size of a Smiling Moose Deli?
We look at sites between 1,200 and 2,000 square feet, depending on location and potential consumer traffic. We have found one of the benefits of our concept is that we can adapt our footprint and consequently the cost of entry to match the market size. This is a big benefit compared to some concepts who only offer a cookie cutter approach to real estate.
How about Training and Support?
Smiling Moose Deli has a seasoned staff of Professionals, dedicated to the support of our Franchise Owners. This includes our: President of Smiling Moose Deli Franchise Company, Director of Franchise Operations, Brand Manager, Training Managers, and Professional Accounting Services Firm. All of these people and resources are available to our franchisees as they start their businesses. We are never more than a phone call away.
What are the financial qualifications to buy a franchise?
Smiling Moose Deli’s franchisees pay an initial franchise fee of $25,000 for the first store, $20,000 for the second, and $12,500 for each additional store. The area representative fee is $2,000 per store as determined by our demographic software for a designated market area. Franchisees need a minimum of $100,000 in cash or cash equivalents and a $250,000 net worth. We are aware that many franchise brands require less liquidity, but we know through experience that a new franchisee will be better off with this amount. We do not want our owners to get into their first store and be unnecessarily cash-strapped.
What is the average cost of a Smiling Moose Deli?
The costs are better expressed in ranges rather than averages, because there are several variables such as square footage, geographic location, tenant improvement allowance, etc. That said, we see our cost of entry ranging from $220,000 to $405,000. This includes the initial franchise fee, furniture, fixtures, equipment, leasehold improvements, pos system, signage, grand opening advertising, miscellaneous other costs and some working capital. In the fast casual niche, we feel these are very attractive parameters, especially when compared to our average store sales.
Does a franchise store have an exclusive territory?
The exclusive area for all traditional locations is a one mile radius from the site, not including some less traditional venues such as those with captive audiences. The most common examples are airports, hospitals, university buildings and sports arenas. High density downtown or business center applications are dealt with individually, usually at the time of signing a franchise agreement. It is our intention to locate restaurants in a manner that minimizes negative impact between stores, while simultaneous building brand presence and market strength.
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