If you followed my 3-part series on the history of Lemon Heaven, you’re probably wondering what’s next for this top, low cost beverage franchise. I had the pleasure of interviewing Marty Bennett, one of the company’s founders, about his vision for the franchise. Marty also offers some valuable advice to both current and prospective franchisees of Lemon Heaven.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What is your current day-to-day involvement in running Lemon Heaven?
Marty Bennett (MB): My personal duties with Lemon Heaven include obtaining venue accounts, providing web and social media content, legal contracts, franchise support, marketing, brand management, new franchisee training, and onsite support. Mirjam handles all accounting and administrative duties.
FC: What are your most successful franchisees doing in order to build and grow their respective businesses?
MB: Our most successful franchisees have an eye for detail. By that I mean their operation always looks its best and nothing is overlooked. In addition, they take the necessary steps to cultivate the important relationships with venue and event managers. Our most successful franchisees develop their territories with all available products and they build their fleet of equipment at the rate that is dictated by their market. They do not pass on events or venues.
FC: Can you name a few franchises (inside or outside you sector) that you admire, and why?
MB: McDonald’s because of their focus on extensive training and systems. Quizno’s because of the quality of their product (not so much their policies towards franchisees). Dairy Queen for their comeback and longevity. Very impressed with their rebranding and co-branding.
FC: What is your long-term vision for Lemon Heaven and how do you intend to achieve it?
MB: My long term vision for Lemon Heaven is to have our lemonade and mini donut brands available at all non-traditional locations, such as arenas, stadiums, and special events across North America. In addition, I see a co-branding opportunity for permanent locations either within our organization or a partnership with another company.
We plan to start acquiring non-traditional accounts before we have prospective franchise partners in place. We will either run the accounts corporately until we find the qualified franchisee or we will use the account as an incentive to invest in a Lemon Heaven franchise. We continue to look at the viability of traditional locations and viable co-branding opportunities.
FC: If you were to mentor a new Lemon Heaven franchisee, what are some of your most important words of advice?
MB: Always have an eye for detail. Honesty will always get you farther in business and life. Cultivate the business relationships that you have. Develop your business as quickly as your market requires. Focus on customer experience, quality of food, and speed of service. Above all, treat your employees like you would want them to treat the customer.
FC: Do you have any message for prospective franchisees who are considering a Lemon Heaven franchise?
MB: If you are looking for a franchise brand with products that you can be proud of, then Lemon Heaven/Cin City Donuts is for you. If you are outgoing, love dealing with people, and have an eye for detail, you have found the right match. Lemon Heaven/Cin City Donuts can be a seasonal business that you can run from your home or a full time business that operates all year. It’s a great business to run as a family.
FC: Is there anything else you wish to share about Lemon Heaven?
MB: Often with other franchise systems, people have to make a decision between a job and a full time business. With Lemon Heaven, you can quite often grow into the business as the demand in your market grows. The fact that there is quite often no bricks & mortar means that if a location does not work out, you simply move your portable carts and kiosks to a different location. The risk is minimized to a great extent.
To learn more about the Lemon Heaven franchise opportunity, check out their website.