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Repeat Business

When your franchise is a roaring success, what's the next step?

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This story appears in the January 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In 1987, just three years after taking a cook position with a Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits on the south side of Chicago, John Brodersen got his father to cosign for the $800,000 loan he needed to open his own location. Brodersen knew he wanted to be a business owner, but he wasn't prepared for the response when he opened. "On the second day, the drive-thru was 50 cars deep," he recalls. "The McDonald's got upset because the traffic was blocking their entrance."

Business was booming. The location generated enough cash in the first three days to secure all the Milwaukee territory Broderson wanted. And though he never planned to open multiple locations, the buzz his store created forced him to act quickly. "With all the investors milling around, I knew if I didn't do something, someone else would," he says.

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