Franchises

6 Wacky Franchises You Won't Believe Actually Exist

6 Wacky Franchises You Won't Believe Actually Exist

Naked Cowboy: Robert John Burck.

Image credit: Tristan Reville | Flickr
This story appears in the January 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Sixty years ago, the idea of passing cheeseburgers through a window to people in their cars probably sounded insane. A half-century from now, what fringe ideas will we consider mainstream? Probably not any of the following franchise concepts. But in the meantime, they’re amusing, creative and, in some instances, profitable detours from the mainstream. 

Something fishy

Captain Mac Daniel never returned our calls, so we’re not certain if his Amelia Island, Fla.-based Flounder Gigging franchise is licensed, or if he has ever sold any units. But we bet a few hours on his boat would be a hoot. Flounder gigging involves taking a 24-foot aluminum jon boat out at night into saltwater marshes, where customers use halogen lamps and a multipronged spear to “gig” flounder and other flatfish that lie at the bottom of shallow waters. Then they can take their catch home for dinner. 

Flipping the birds

Most people think of border collies as pets. But in the hands of David Marcks, they’re a livelihood. His Howell, N.J.-based franchise, Geese Police, employs specially trained dogs to run Canada geese out of parks, off of golf courses and away from business properties. Franchisees bring the canine crews out several times per day for as long as it takes to get the geese to move on. So far, the company has 15 franchisees in the Northeast and Midwest.

You are getting sleepy …

At most franchise locations, if you lie back and close your eyes, the cops will be shooing you along. But at Positive Changes Hypnosis, based in Dublin, Ohio, relaxation is encouraged. Using a six-point hypnosis system, clients at the company’s eight centers are led through sessions to help them with everything from losing weight and quitting smoking to playing better golf. Side effects may include clucking like a chicken when someone says the word “squirrel.”  

Buff stuff

The Naked Cowboy, aka Robert Burck, has long been a kooky fixture in New York’s Times Square. Several years ago he began franchising his concept. What do you get if you sign on? The chance to stand in the street in your underwear, boots and a cowboy hat, strumming a guitar (artfully placed to make it look like you’re naked), while strangers take your picture and give you spare change. The Cowboys also appear at events and even officiate weddings. So far 13 hearty, extroverted franchisees—seven women and six men—have gone down this career path, livening public areas in Paris, Los Angeles and Nashville.

Hairy situations

We’re not sure how their franchisees keep from itching all the time, but Lice Squad is on a mission to delouse Canada. The Cookstown, Ontario-based franchise runs clinics where a special device is used to dehydrate nits, or specialists can come into people’s homes to comb the little fellas out. And the best part is … well, we’re not sure there is a best part, but the treatment is chemical- and pesticide-free.

Rock ’n’ roll fantasy

Have you ever wanted to host a music festival but don’t have the connections or expertise to get it off the ground? Well, if you’re in the U.K., you’re in luck. Fake Festivals licenses its events to locals, who set up a stage, food stands and an area with entertainment for kids—and bring in tribute bands to rock the neighborhood. Organizers are responsible for marketing and promotion and get to keep 100 percent of proceeds. Glastonbury, it’s not, but feel free to pull on your wellies and short shorts all the same.

Edition: December 2016

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