Franchise Chatter (FC): What is the ideal neighborhood and territory for a VooDoo BBQ & Grill restaurant? In what regions of the country do you expect the strongest demand?
Chad Tramuta (CT): We typically look for areas with at least 45,000 in population with a good mix of business and residential opportunities. Catering is a strong revenue generator in our model and we typically see steady traffic during lunch hour which is why we must see a good mix between business and residential.
There’s a lot of pride that goes into finding the right real estate. We have a full service approach and it starts with our Real Estate team working with our franchisees and local real estate professionals to identify every location in your market that meets VooDoo BBQ & Grill’s criteria. This includes physical attributes of the locations, such as access, visibility, signage, tenant mix and traffic patterns. It also includes a demographic review looking at the population and makeup of the trade area around the proposed location.
Although we believe most markets across the country would enjoy the benefits of a VooDoo BBQ & Grill, at this time our main focus is on developing the southeast region first then working our way outwards from there. We believe that where there’s competition there’s obviously demand so we anticipate continuing to receive attention in the BBQ markets such as Texas, Carolinas and Tennessee to name a few.
The Atlanta market is one that we very strongly believe could be our most successful market when it’s all said and done.
We are just being patient and are looking for the right types of franchisees to take on the exciting opportunity of developing in these major markets of interest.
FC: What specific steps do your most successful franchisees take in order to build and grow their respective businesses?
CT: Not sure if there are any specific steps other than following our systems and programs. Our most successful franchisees will tell you that it’s not rocket science. There are reasons why we went through all the time and effort to create our operating systems, which when followed can lead a franchisee to success. We will continue to learn from our mistakes so our franchisees never have to.
FC: Can you tell us a bit about the initial investment and ongoing expenses to run a VooDoo BBQ & Grill franchise? What is the profit potential for your franchise?
CT: The total investment inclusive of franchise fee, equipment, construction and working capital, etc. will range between $340,500 to $595,000. These estimates do not include tenant improvements (T.I.) which is given to the franchisees by the landlords. Our average flagship 2,800 sq. ft. restaurant will require an investment of around $550,000 depending on real estate and other uncontrollable and controllable costs.
Our royalties are 5% of gross sales and our marketing is 2% of gross sales. Details on these items and more can be found in our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).
I’m very limited on the amount of information I can share pertaining to profit potential. However, we do include an Item 19 (Earnings Potential) in our FDD and our current franchisees are always happy to validate their experiences with prospective franchisees.
We manage our franchisees to two important benchmarks and those are that we would like to see at least a top line revenue of $1,200,000 and a bottom line of at least 10%. It should be noted that we have franchisees exceeding these benchmarks and we also have some who are falling short.
The only true way for our prospective franchisees to determine profit potential will be for them to perform their due diligence and validate with franchisees. We strongly encourage this step in the process.
CT: Our goal is to become the largest fast casual BBQ concept in the U.S. while continuing to win numerous awards for our food’s taste and quality. We will achieve this goal by awarding licenses to highly qualified franchisees through virtual seminars, marketing campaigns and other internal and external initiatives. We anticipate awarding 62 licenses in 2012 and 78 licenses in 2013.
FC: Is there anything else you wish to share about VooDoo BBQ & Grill?
CT: Like most franchise concepts, we have all the standard pre-opening and ongoing training, consulting and operational programs in place for our franchisees to be successful. The bullets below are some of the additional features and benefits that our franchisees enjoy.
- An innovative opportunity in a growing industry
- Leveraging a refreshing, proven concept that adds New Orleans and Caribbean flair to extraordinary food
- Access to established operations systems and POS technologies
- An opportunity to serve a quality product that will bring back BBQ lovers time and time again
- Expanded menu featuring traditional New Orleans items
- Our beloved signature side items
- Competition style BBQ allowing guests the option to choose from 3 proprietary sauces – “to sauce or not to sauce”
- New Orleans food and culture is unquestionably recognizable and globally desired
- Monthly ad fund fees going directly back into each franchisee’s market for targeted and specific campaigns
- Our product, service and atmosphere allow us to stand out from the “traditional” BBQ industry
Here is how the experts rank VooDoo BBQ & Grill:
- 2011 Franchise 500
- Top 500 Franchises – #326
- Top New Franchises – #23
- Top Franchises Under 50 Units – #18
- Under 50 Units Food Franchises – #2
- Under 50 Units Most Popular – #2
- Best in Category – Honorable Mention