Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email email@example.com.
Yogurtland has a business philosophy that can be summed up by one acronym: THTK, or, "totally honest – totally kind." This philosophy, plus a solid product in the fro-yo industry, was what originally drew Sung Ok to the company five and a half years ago. Today, this franchisee believes that the sky is the limit at Yogurtland. Here's what he's learned.
Name: Sung Ok
Franchise owned: Five Yogurtland locations in California and Texas, with three more set to open in 2015.
How long have you owned a franchise?
Five and a half years.
I wanted to be involved in a business where I can potentially grow to 50 stores. With Yogurtland's pioneering self-serve frozen yogurt concept, I felt this was possible.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Just prior to buying a Yogurtland franchise, I was the owner and operator of a Full Service Hand Car Wash and Detail Center in Fountain Valley, Calif.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I believe in the product and, more importantly, I believe in the Yogurtland corporate leadership. Their business philosophy is rooted in years of experience and respect. Yogurtland is "THTK:" Totally Honest – Totally Kind
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
$35,000: Franchise Fee
$170,000: General construction
$200,000: Machine and equipment
$25,000: Misc. expense and business startup cost
$430,000: Approximate total cost
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I mainly draw upon my past business experiences. I also developed a strong relationship with Yogurtland corporate and with my neighboring Yogurtland franchisees, with whom I share success stories and best practices.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
All cities are not alike, especially when it comes to building a new business from ground up. City agencies are usually the root cause of unexpected delays in store opening.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Future franchisee must be patient, must be a team player, and must understand the importance of branding and protecting your brand.
What’s next for you and your business?
For foreign investors who are trying to obtain permanent U.S. residency, we are offering a business opportunity through YL Investment Fund 1, LP., a Yogurtland franchise EB-5 program. Additionally, we are opening three new Yogurtland locations in Texas in 2015.