Franchise Buying Guide

Uncommon Currency

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Guidant Financial specializes in helping entrepreneurs purchase new franchises using their retirement funds.

When Allied Domecq QSR-the franchisor of Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts and Togo's-created its financing program, the company was more interested in making the financing process easier for all franchisees than in targeting a specific group. The company selected three lenders from a group it had informal relationships with and created a preferred lender program. Through the program, the three preferred lenders-New York City-based CIT Group Inc., Washington, DC-based National Cooperative Bank, and Danbury, Connecticut-based QuesTech Financial LLC-have a shorter, customized loan application for Allied Domecq franchisees.

"Based on our experience and feedback from our franchisees, we thought by focusing on a select few preferred lenders who wanted our brands to be a core focus of their business, we could provide a more consistent source of funds, a higher level of customer service and competitive interest rates," explains Adrien Deberghes, assistant treasurer for the franchisor.

Carlos Teixeira is one franchisee of Allied Domecq who has benefited from the preferred lender program. A franchisee since 1986, Teixeira owns eight Dunkin' Donuts franchises in New York. "[The preferred lender program] specifically benefited me, because QuesTech's offering was tailored [to Dunkin' Donuts]. They knew and understood the business," the 45-year-old franchisee says.

Such programs have opened doors for franchisees who otherwise may not have been able to afford a franchise or qualify for financing. But as with most franchisors offering financing programs, Allied Domecq isn't content to gloat over prior accomplishments-they're always interested in improving their offering. "Considering how dynamic the industry and the capital markets are, we're constantly looking at whether [the program] is as effective as it can be," Deberghes says. "We're happy with what it's doing now, but it can always be better."

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This article was originally published in the June 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Uncommon Currency.

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