Every year, franchisors across the nation open nearly 12,000 new units across all business industries. From hair salons to restaurants, these franchises bring in millions of dollars annually and set a solid foundation for owners – even those with little business experience – to launch a successful career. Below are three franchise stories chronicling their path to success.
Jerry Heath and Hungry Howie’s Pizza
Mills Sinclair: Franchisor And Franchisee
Cassandra Stokes and the Newk’s Eatery Franchise
For Jerry Heath, his success in opening nearly a dozen Hungry Howie’s Pizza franchise locations wouldn’t have been possible without the support from two key mentors: his father and Hungry Howie’s president, Steve Jackson. Though Heath initially pursued a college degree in architecture, his experience working at Hungry Howie’s and his love for making pizza motivated him to earn a degree in business instead to better prepare him for franchise management.
Despite the fact that Heath was fresh out of college, the franchise structure provided him with a low-risk, low-investment opportunity to become a successful businessman. This, and financial support from his father, enabled Heath to open 11 Hungry Howie’s Pizza restaurants and five Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich restaurants. Since he was a young boy, Heath was passionate about making good pizza; he claims that his belief in the concept of running a quality business was what helped pave his path to success.
Burgers, buffets, and pizza have made Mills Sinclair one successful businessman. Sinclair, a Chicago native that grew up in Arizona, comes from a family of inventors and has been nursing his passion for finance, real estate, and business since he was a young man. He earned a finance degree from Arizona State University in 1969 and immediately went to work for Young, Smith and Peacock, an investment banking and brokerage firm. He then started his own brokerage firm in 1983. It was while he was working on real estate and tax advantage deals for Abby’s Legendary Pizza that he saw potential in the restaurant business and acquired the brand in 1988. Abby’s has grown from nine restaurants to 36; 34 of those he owns and two are franchisee locations.
Growing Abby’s inspired Sinclair to look for other franchise opportunities which led to his partnering with Golden Corral. Today all four of Sinclair’s Golden Corral locations across Idaho and Arizona are doing well. Eight years ago Sinclair also capitalized on an opportunity to open Southern Oregon’s first Sonic Drive-In. He now has five across the state. Throughout his entire franchise career, Sinclair never stopped looking for new opportunities and investment options and made a point of owning the real estate his businesses sit on. “When you own your own real estate, you’re building equity as well as getting sales,” he says. He’s also learned to work through failures, a lesson that’s been one of the hardest on his path to success.
Cassandra Stokes, along with her company Stokes’ Sekots Too LLC, was chosen as Newk’s Eatery’s Franchisee of the Year after making history with the 101-unit chain. Stokes made a mark on this fast-growing, fast-casual restaurant chain by surpassing performance standards in operational categories like zero leadership turnover and the highest overall guest response in the chain’s 12-year history.
After retiring from a 26-year-long career in the military, Stokes redirected her education and training in hospitality management to franchise ownership when she invested in a successful Wingstop franchise. In 2013 Stokes opened the first Newk’s Eatery in Nacogdoches, Texas and is currently working on plans to launch another in Lufkin, Texas in the coming months.
Stokes’ success in the franchise industry has been fueled by her passion for creating an unforgettable guest experience and creating an environment that hosts quality leadership at the management and hourly partner levels. She’s also sought the guidance of Newk’s franchise business consultant team to exceed operational standards, lowering cost of good by minimizing waste and portion control, and keeping labor investments below industry benchmarks. Lastly, Stokes has found franchise success by placing a high priority on labor investment, and recognizing that a positive, hospitable team is key to establishing a warm, welcoming restaurant environment.
For more information on opening a franchise, visit Bruges Franchising. Bruges Waffles & Frites is a community-oriented brand, both in the local neighborhoods we serve, and within the franchise community. Along with a passion for unprocessed, flavorful and indulgent foods, the Bruges Franchise is committed to maintaining a consistent culture of quality training, continual communication, accountability and a positive work environment. Join the Bruges Franchise family, today.