Fransmart Blog

Restaurant Franchise Real Estate – Two Hidden Opportunities

Posted by Staff on Mar 27, 2012
By Mark Treptow:  Fransmart has established a reputation in the industry for identifying emerging fast casual food franchise concepts and building them into high volume, high growth national and global brands.  To get a concept from A to Z, of course the food has to be great and you have to be an exceptional operator.  But it’s not enough to be an exceptional operator – you’ve got to have great real estate too.  One of the brands in our portfolio, Nature’s Table Café, has carved out a very successful niche in the fast casual food segment and created additional markets by taking advantage of these two hidden opportunities.

Out position your competition. I’m reminded of the phrase “look at what everyone else is doing and do the opposite”.  When I think about restaurant real estate, the “opposite” is the non-traditional site.   By definition, these sites are not for everyone.  The more moving parts, the more complicated the kitchen setup and cooking process is, the harder it is for a concept to take advantage of these opportunities.  By contrast a non-traditional site is perfect for a café concept with a flexible foot print and no heavy cooking.  Nature’s Table Café does a great job of capitalizing on non-traditional sites.  Catering to the busy consumer and offering healthy breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack options, you’ll find a Nature’s Table Café in select airports, travel plazas, college campuses, food courts, office complexes, corporate call centers, downtown office towers and so on.  A hidden plus: These sites are also usually a lot less expensive to build out than traditional sites.  Says Rich Wagner, Co-Founder and Sr. VP of Nature’s Table Café, “We’ve always done exceptionally well in traditional sites surrounded by competition but we’ve also discovered a great opportunity in non-traditional sites.  These sites create additional markets for Nature’s Table Café that in many cases makes us the only fast casual food option available”.


Capitalize on Conversions. Think about all the coffee, bagel, donut, ice cream & smoothie shops dotting the landscape. Let me emphasize that a potential site has to be great real estate first. For reasons not related to location, someone else built out the kitchen, furniture and fixtures to code and ADA requirements with their money, not yours, and at some point called it quits. Left behind is a great 2nd generation site that in the best case scenario, may require some elbow grease, fresh paint, menu boards & signage. Voila! Now you’ve opened a site for a fraction of the cost of a brand new build out. Don’t forget that the conversion process also takes considerably less time than new construction and as the saying goes, time is money. Nature’s Table Café has repeatedly capitalized on this strategy resulting in more stores opening faster, starting to generate revenue sooner and creating a very attractive sales to investment ratio.


Learn more about a Nature's Table Café Restaurant Franchise



Mark Treptow is a restaurant franchise developer and founding shareholder in a privately held QSR concept. Connect with the author, Mark Treptow.

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