By Holly Celeste Fisk
Dual branding is one of the hottest trends in franchising. Now Ed Blair, founder of Dallas-based Main Street Concepts LLC, is turning up the heat. Blair launched the first quintuple-branding location, dubbed Main Street, in July. The Farmers Branch, Texas, location combines a Shell Oil gas station with a five-restaurant food court.
"We found out that fast food generates three times as much revenue per square foot as a convenience store," says Blair, who spent almost two years persuading franchisors to give his concept a shot. Most were reluctant to allow Blair to build units where employees would work side by side with employees of competing franchises, a problem Blair addressed with a unique point-of-sale system that ensures each franchisor receives its due royalties.
"I look at it like coaching," says Blair. "If everybody works as a team, we're likely to win the game."
The Farmers Branch Main Street includes Pizza Inn, Hardee's, Popeyes, La Creme and Taco John's outlets, but future Main Streets will be customized to best match the customer demographics in their areas.
Blair and Monty Whitehurst, Main Street's vice president, are working on the rights to three more franchises, including Baskin-Robbins, and permission from Shell Oil to build 17 more units in Texas.
With fuel for the fire, quintuple-branding just might be the hottest thing since the drive-thru window.