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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even though Huddle House has been around for half a century, Gregg Hansen is dedicated to keeping the brand fresh. With 18 – soon to be 20 – locations around the U.S., Hansen is the chain's largest franchisee. Since he became a franchisee eight years ago, he's been dedicated to helping Huddle House's remodeling overdrive and raising the bar for the 50-year-old brand. Here's what he's learned.
Name: Gregg Hansen
Franchise owned: Huddle House, with 18 locations in Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I have been a Huddle House franchisee for a little over seven years.
I want to be an independent owner of my business and be in charge of my own success and utilize my strengths. But, I don't want to recreate the wheel. Franchising is a perfect way to do that.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I have managed restaurants since the age of 18 and have owned various businesses since 1995. Huddle House was the perfect re-entry into the restaurant business.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I wanted to get back into the restaurant business and was looking for the right opportunity. I fell in love with the Huddle House brand and food. It was the right opportunity!
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
I took over an existing franchisee's Huddle House that wanted to make a change, so there was a very low cash entry point.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I received significant support and advice from Huddle House corporate and field staff. I also spend a lot of time in the restaurants and together with key staff developed many of the philosophies and systems that we still utilize today.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
I honestly don't remember any unexpected challenges. Lots of challenges... but not a lot of surprises.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
I think the most important advice that I can give is to keep your monthly fixed costs, particularly occupancy costs, as low as possible. High costs will just make things harder, low costs will make things easier.
What’s next for you and your business?
We have grown substantially the last eight months. While we do have another location or two in the horizon, we will spend the next year replenishing our people resources and improving operations of the locations that we acquired the last few months.