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.
Wendy Clark-Wolfe is no rookie in the world of franchises. With a 20-year career as a Tim Hortons franchisee under her belt, she’s now opened a second business -- a World of Beer franchise in Buffalo, N.Y. -- while still staying with Tim Horton's. Though her beer store has been open for business only since August, Clark-Wolfe’s experience, along with the popularity of craft beer, gives her reason for confidence.
Here, she describes how she added beer to her franchise resume and the advice she offers for potential franchisees.
Name: Wendy Clark-Wolfe
Franchise owned (location): World of Beer in Buffalo, N.Y.
How long have you owned a franchise?
While my business partner and I have been Tim Hortons franchise owners for 20 years, this is our first World of Beer franchise. We opened the doors to World of Beer Buffalo in August 2015 and are so pleased with how well the brand has been received.
There’s a familiarity with franchising, so I felt like I knew what I was getting myself into. There’s also a confidence as the brand is strong, and there is an established system in place to help guide me. This helps to take some of the risk out starting a new business. With World of Beer particularly, the corporate team is always providing plenty of resources, marketing support and training.
What were you doing before you become a franchise owner?
Prior to joining the World of Beer family, I spent most of my time focusing on our Tim Hortons franchise.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I liked the look and feel of World of Beer. It was also a well-timed business opportunity as craft beer is growing tremendously in this area.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Total investment is around $ 1.5 million, with approximately $1 million for the construction and leasehold and $500,000 for equipment and inventory.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Besides looking online and on World of Beer’s website, I networked with other business owners, visited several World of Beer locations and spoke to the franchisor’s top management.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Location is imperative to the success of a business, so finding the right location took some time. Obtaining a liquor license, the complexity of getting the build done and adapting to a new concept were also challenges that we faced but all worthwhile, as World of Beer is performing extremely well.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Pick an industry that appeals to you and that you feel passionate about. Ask a lot of questions and talk to other franchisees in that industry to better understand the costs and obligations.
What’s next for you and your business?
We definitely plan to open more World of Beer locations. We are currently doing research on potential locations and can’t wait to see what the future holds.