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FRANCHISE FEVER PART I: IT’S GOING AROUND

I’m in charge of registration for a youth football association (Go ‘Cats!) in the Metro Richmond, Va., area where I live and where my fabulous company is headquartered.  The day registration opened in March for the 2011 season, I went straight to my neighborhood Cook-out, a drive-through restaurant chain that opened here recently.

It’s where I would plant the very first of the small number of newly minted yard signs that were lying in my trunk, with all of their gleam and promise, poised to make the announcement.  Because marketing and crowds go together like football and tailgating, and because I want to help build the best youth football association in the country (dream big, right?), naturally I considered Cook-out to be the critical component of my so-called strategery.

If you haven’t heard the buzz about the Cook-out concept – cheap delicious food associated with the prized namesake American tradition – or if you haven’t had to navigate your way around the cars oozing out of Cook-out’s lot in Richmond, mucking up traffic flow in all directions, then you’re missing something.  I’m often making up the substance of that ooze.  I’ve got three boys, and they have a lot of friends.  ‘Nuf said.

No matter if you love your job as much as I do, have you ever wondered, like I have, when you experience something like the popularity of a Cook-out, how you might get yourself in on some of that cha-ching?  I’m betting so.

Cook-out job postings indicate a plan to grow at a rate of 10-12 new locations per year.  Franchises are taking over the world.  So as someone who just joined the marketing team at SnagAJob to support the efforts of our employers to find and retain the most capable and best suited employees, our members, it behooves me to learn more about franchise inner workings.

So, first I discovered that Cook-out is a family-owned business – not a franchise.  I know, disappointing, right?  I’m out.  First lesson is that just because a chain is expanding rapidly, that doesn’t mean it’s a franchise.  But to me, Cook-out looked quite like Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Bojangles and all the rest of SnagAJob’s franchise customers.  Make a note to self: Do your research.

Even though owing a franchise can come with its share of hiring and other challenges, the second thing I discovered is that it can be an attractive financial proposition.  The best first article to read may be “Basics – How to Buy a Franchise posted on franchise.com, a franchise directory and thought-leadership website.

But then there’s so much more to consider.  Stay tuned for part two of this post for how you might determine if it’s the right time, if you’re the right person, if you’ve found the right franchise, if you would need to involve any professional services first, and…drum roll…for the best, worst and most surprising things about being a franchisee.

Part two of this post coming soon…

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Ashley Lohman is a content producer at Snagajob. When she’s not compelling employers to use Snagajob to mine for talent, Ashley can be found adventuring with her husband and three boys, taking care of all their pets, and serving year round on the board of a kick-butt local youth football association. In her spare time…wait, she doesn’t have any.

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