Beyond Food – Franchising with Out-of-the-Box Items

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Beyond Food – Franchising with Out-of-the-Box Items
In the world of franchising, there are all types of restaurants. Fast foods, sit-down eateries, and even those that only offer desserts. Delicious ones, but desserts only, nonetheless. But did you know there’s another layer to the franchise market – those that sell “out of the box” products, such as snacks or specialty coffees? Even though they might not receive as much recognition as their hamburger-serving counterparts, they’re viable business options that are helping bring in funds on an impressive scale.
The Perks
When dealing with a specialty franchise, there are a few things that work in your favor. First of all, the overhead is likely low. Whether you’re serving coffee or strictly ice cream, there are only a few products you have to worry about. That means less storage, fewer use-by dates to follow, etc. The supplies you need to keep your business running smoothly are minimal, a fact that helps keep cash in your pocket.
Dealing with only a few items (or a few versions of a few items) at a time also makes it far easier to specialize. Whether that be seasonal popcorns or coffees that match the time of year, it’ll be easier for you to experiment with products that are still delicious.
Additionally, being known for a certain item – a snack pretzel, the best lemonade for miles around, etc. – means customers will come to you with a purpose. They’ll travel to get what they want, and you (with your low inventory and all) are able to provide it.
There’s also more opportunity for customer turnover, while providing a unique product. Depending on location, franchisees are able to bring in flavors that aren’t available for miles around - a factor that can even further boost both sales and word of mouth advertising.
Finally, with these secondary franchising opportunities, owners are able to make the business their own. Oftentimes they pair coffees and cakes, or snacks and candies – so long as franchising companies are on board, you’re able to double your inventory in a single location. Another great way to bring in guests; where else are they going to get a joint milkshake and peanut shop? Or a store that sells both rock candies and ice coffees all in one stop?
The Cons
When dealing with a “non-food” type of market, it can be difficult (or at least not as easy) to find customers at the right time of day. Which is to say snack time - when they’re not hungry but still in the mood for [whatever type of product you offer]. Companies have overcome this by making themselves available at all hours (and advertising as such) as well as brand recognition through local and national advertising. Other franchisees agree that, if a product’s good enough, it will continue to sell itself.
Is It for You?
Maybe. Non-food franchising has created successful business models for thousands of Americans. Whether through beverages, snacks, candies, or some other specialty items. It also offers a unique opportunity that does include the hassles of traditional restaurants, like fryers or large freezers. Or rather, a way to jump into franchising with lesser amounts of prep or inventory up front.
If you think “out-of-the-box” franchising might be for you, get in touch today. 
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By Jason Hightower | December 23, 2015 | Food Franchise Blog