This post is the second of two parts. To read Part 1, please click here.
Leadership of Franchisor Also Important
As much as they were impressed by Mama Fu’s food, the new partners were also drawn to the executive leadership of the company, including Randy Murphy, who had been a Mama Fu’s franchisee before taking over the company in 2008. Given Murphy’s background, the company is very franchisee-friendly, Colarossi said.
“The team they have is very forward-thinking and that’s what we wanted. They’re a young brand,” Colarossi said. “The people behind the brand and the technology they bring with it, they go over and above. They know what the trends are. They know consumers.”
Build Brand Awareness Quickly
One of the lessons the Colarossis learned from their experience with Egg & I, and one they would pass on to others who might be bringing a new name to a market, is the need to build brand awareness very quickly.
They plan to be very proactive as area developers of Mama Fu’s. They will shoot for having six or seven restaurants open in Dallas/Fort Worth within two years; but realistically, Rose Colarossi said, it will probably be more like three or four, because the process is driven by what real estate is available.
“In order to permeate a market, you do need that brand awareness,” she said. “I feel that it’s key and we learned that with Egg & I. We were the first ones in the market.”
“You don’t just want to pop up one and then wait a year or two, you really want to be aggressive.”
But, she cautions, you don’t want to sacrifice excellent locations for the sake of creating brand awareness quickly. She is in the midst of scouting various sites right now for her very first Mama Fu’s and is looking at sometimes three different locations a day. She said a franchisee has to be patient in order to get an optimal spot.
Best Practices for a Successful Franchise
Once a restaurant is up and running, there are a number of steps a franchisee can take to make it successful, Colarossi said, speaking from her experience with two Egg & I units. Greeting customers as they enter your establishment and thanking them as they leave is one aspect of ensuring return business, but an operator must also keep his or her eye on containing costs, she said.
“In the restaurant business, the margins are so small and you’ve got to make sure that your profit is not leaving out the back door or the front door,” she said.