A round-up of the biggest recent multi-unit and multi-brand deals, highlighting just how popular this form of business ownership has become.
Words by Kieran McLoone, deputy editor for Global Franchise
The figures supporting the case for multi-unit franchising are numerous, but sometimes it’s easier to comprehend just how successful something is by examining some recent case studies.
To highlight the prevalence of this form of business ownership, here are a handful of multi-unit deals and agreements that have been made by numerous leading franchise brands as of late – for a comprehensive look at all the latest stories, make sure to visit globalfranchisemagazine.com/ news
Dogtopia: Doggy daycare in Texas
Prominent North American petcare franchisor Dogtopia recently announced not one, not two, but three multi-unit franchising agreements that would add a total of 15 new Dogtopia centers to the brand’s portfolio in San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi, Texas.
Signed with three distinct, experienced franchisees, these new locations showcase how reliable brands promote increased multiunit ownership. Amber Woods, for example – who will open four sites in Houston – is a multi-brand franchisee and currently the largest Soccer Shots owner in the brand’s network.
“It’s clear that experienced multiunit franchisees are now taking the pet industry more seriously since COVID-19,” said Alex Samios, VP of franchise development for Dogtopia, “and they want a brand that has the experienced leadership, support, and systems that they are accustomed to.”
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop: Dual development
In the three months since legacy franchisor Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop acquired chicken wing brand Wing Zone, both brands have signed many single- and multiunit development deals that are set to bring more than 30 Capriotti’s and 30 Wing Zone locations to the States.
The cause? A belief in the franchisor’s systems, says David Bloom, the chief development officer for both brands. “Our expansion is validation of the strength of our business model and our partners are excited about the phase of growth for both brands. Our continued success is what makes us the industry leader and will continue to separate us from others out there.”
Goldfish Swim School: Lessons in three leading states
Learn-to-swim concept Goldfish Swim School signed a 19-unit franchising agreement with experienced multi-unit operators Rockridge Growth Partners in March 2021 to bring new locations to Florida, Texas, and Virginia.
Multi-unit agreements similar to this have been the backbone of Goldfish’s growth strategy in recent times, with the brand signing further deals in Arizona, New York, and Texas. It’s not just franchisors that multi-unit is benefitting, however; franchisee groups are recognizing the opportunities it brings, also.
“As a multi-unit, multi-brand operator, the pandemic shined a light on the tremendous value in having a diversified portfolio to allow for balance and stability,” said the leading principal of Rockridge Growth Partners. “With prime real-estate availability and attractive lease options, we are eager to get these locations open as quickly as possible.”
Brooklyn Dumpling Shop: Generating a buzz
Before brand-new concept Brooklyn Dumpling Shop even opens its doors in spring 2021, it has already signed up several multi-unit owners who will develop the zero-human-interaction QSR chain throughout Connecticut and New Jersey.
The first deal signed for Connecticut comprises five Brooklyn Dumpling Shop sites, with the first opening in New Haven. The second, which will bring eight restaurants to New Jersey, has been signed by experienced multi-unit franchisee Nick Desai.
As with almost every multiunit success story, these flagship franchisees joined up with Brooklyn Dumpling Shop because the base concept was strong, and it was easy to see why owning several locations could be superior to just operating one: “Getting into the brand early is a very wise decision. In the next two or three years, I expect we will see a lot of automat restaurants, so it’s great to jump on board with the innovative concept now,” said the brand’s first multi-unit franchisee, who currently remains anonymous.
Dunkin’: The benefits of multi-brand
When several brands exist under one franchisor, it allows franchisees to take advantage of cross-promotion, increased recognition, and – in the best circumstances – multi-brand ownership.
This has been the driver behind recent deals coming out of Inspire Brands, which owns the likes of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and SONIC Drive-In. In fact, the parent company recently announced multiple development agreements that would see 26 new Dunkin’ restaurants open throughout Texas. Furthermore, eight of them would be multi-brand sites that also offer Baskin-Robbins’ menu of ice cream.
“Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins’ growth would not be possible without the introduction of new franchisees to the system, coupled with dedicated existing franchisees, which demonstrates their high confidence in our brands and world-class support team,” said Grant Benson, CFE, senior vice president of franchising and development, Inspire Brands.
Hoots Wings: Flying high in the state
Entrepreneurial couple Cary and Jackie Albert, who have a portfolio containing 30 Schlotzsky’s restaurants, have signed a deal to open 60 Hoots Wings sites over the coming years – the brother brand to popular U.S. hospitality chain, Hooters.
The couple plan to open at least six Hoots sites in 2021, and then pick that number up by opening eight to 10 new sites every year afterward.
“Hoots Wings is an attractive franchise option to Cary and I because we get to be on the ground floor of an emerging concept on the fast-track for growth while benefiting from all the perks of having a national brand backing us,” said Jackie Albert.