It never ceases to amaze me how food trends can sweep across the country creating a domino effect in the franchise industry. Once upon a time it was bagel shops, then Mexican fast casual, then every manner of hamburger imaginable. Most recently, pizza concepts are hotter than a large pie fresh out of the oven. Not just pizza, but a race to prepare custom ordered pizza in 5 minutes or less! And I have to admit, there are some sharp concepts out there, like the folks at Pie Five who are doing an awesome job – both at retail and in their franchise development effort.
But, prospective owners need to be careful. Trends come and go – some with great success and some, well, not so much. From a marketing point of view, I have to admit that latching onto a hot trend makes our job easier. A popular idea is a great springboard for PR, it’s easier to generate franchise sales leads and offers a quicker connection with consumers. But an owner needs more than that. They need to be sure their business will not just produce an initial splash, but deliver demand and interest over the long haul. And, whether they are more of an investor or a hands-on owner, success means a lot of hard work, so they need to choose a franchise concept about which they are truly passionate.
I cannot blame franchisors for riding the crest of a trend. In fact, I would be the first to exploit a wave of enthusiasm on their behalf. But prospects must look past the hype to make sure the fundamentals are in place as well, from a solid brand and business model, to thorough systems and support. Now, if you can find that unusual opportunity that has everything going for it – and it’s a business you can truly get excited about, then you might just be ready to invest in your future.