Double Duty

A franchisee finds happiness operating two concepts: a Baskin-Robbins and a Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom.

By Devlin Smith

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every day, thousands of commuters tackle the I-5, an oft-congested highway connecting San Diego to Los Angeles, all in the name of some dead-end job. But Reza Abolhosseini makes the drive for his labor of love: The freeway links his two franchises--a Baskin-Robbins located in Dana Point and a Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdomoutlet at The Block at Orange.

To own not one, but two of his dream businesses, Abolhosseini is more than willing to work long days, often seven days a week. He starts each workday at the Baskin-Robbins franchise he bought two years. He arrives at the store between 8 and 10, spending the morning overseeing the ice cream business, meeting with his manager and helping out when needed.

Then it's off to The Block, an outdoor shopping and entertainment complex. Abolhosseini arrives around 11, just in time to help with the lunch rush. Here, once again, he oversees operations, and talks with his manager, employees and customers to make sure everything is running smoothly and everyone is content. "I stay in touch with the customers, just asking if they're happy with the food and checking if there's anything we can do to improve our guest satisfaction," says Abolhosseini, 43.

After the lunch rush subsides, Abolhosseini spends his afternoon dealing with paperwork for both businesses at an office he has set up at The Block. He usually heads home around 5 or 6 but stays later if his staff needs a hand. On weekends, Abolhosseini sometimes stays at Jody Maroni's as late as 10 p.m.

Even with this schedule, Abolhosseini can't seem to get enough. He recently called in to his stores every day while on a 10-day vacation. "The day I returned, I couldn't wait to get back to the business and get involved again," he admits.

This type of energy is characteristic, considering Abolhosseini isn't new to the multiunit, multi-concept life--he used to simultaneously operate three pizza franchises, a used car lot and a mini-market. Five businesses may now be out of the question, but that doesn't mean Abolhosseini is content to stick to two. "I like challenges, I like to stay busy and I always look at opportunities," he says.

Today, though, he's grateful for the challenge and variety his two franchises add to his life. "The reason I chose Baskin-Robbins and Jody Maroni's is because I love sausages and I love ice cream," Abolhosseini says. "And what you love is what you can do best."

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