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.
Chris Locher of Roswell, Georgia, must really love ice cream because after spending five years in Baskin-Robbins' executive ranks -- as director of operations for its Eastern Region -- he jumped to the franchisee side and just this past August opened the first of two Georgia stores with his wife, Mindy. The couple then hired their two daughters, Madison and Miranda, as staff. Of course, Baskin-Robbins has upped its famed "31 flavors" to 1,200 choices, so Locher may have a ways to go to try them all.
Name: Chris Locher
Franchise owned: Baskin-Robbins shop in Roswell, Georgia
How long have you owned a franchise?
I opened my first Baskin-Robbins franchise on Aug 27, 2015, after signing a two-store deal with the company. My first shop is in Roswell, Georgia, and my second will be located in Marietta.
During my tenure as director of operations, East Region, for Baskin-Robbins, I showed so many people how to become successful franchisees that it was time to do it for my family and for myself.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
For 10 years, I was the vice president of operations in the Southeast, for Papa Johns. Most recently, I ran the East Region for Baskin-Robbins as director of operations. I held that position for five years and loved the brand, so I decided to go out on my own and buy a franchise.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
Baskin-Robbins is a 70-year-old, iconic brand that’s built a business around delivering fun. We literally sell fun and make people happy! It doesn’t get much better than that. Everyone leaves with a smile, which makes it such a satisfying career choice.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
The total for the store cost was around $250,000; site development/buildout, $125,000, equipment, $85,000; start-up inventory, $15,000; and cash reserves, $25,000.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
My background prepared me for franchise ownership. In the past, I’ve had many different roles and acquired the experience to be successful for myself.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
The waiting, especially since I like to keep busy. Lease negotiations and construction can take a long time, but both are so important to get what you want and need.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Plan, plan, plan and then do more planning. Take your time to get it right the first time. As a franchisee, you only have one chance to make a first impression once you open your doors.
What’s next for you and your business?
To open my second location and make it just as successful as my first Baskin-Robbins shop. Eventually, I would like to build a network of Baskin-Robbins shops to pass down to my children.