Established in 1962 with one shop in Seattle, today Glass Doctor offers complete glass repair, replacement and services to residential, automotive and commercial markets at more than 275 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Glass Doctor began franchising in 1997 and in 1998 joined The Dwyer Group, Inc., an international franchisor of service industry companies.
In November, Dina Dwyer-Owens, CEO of The Dwyer Group, participated in the launch of “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” along with Michelle Obama and the International Franchise Association, a move to specifically market franchise opportunities with Glass Doctor to veterans.
In addition to specifically marketing to veterans, Glass Doctor also recognizes them as some of the best franchisees they have.
“Veterans are accustomed to following a system and we provide them with that continuity with our franchise system,” said Dwyer-Owens. “For many veterans, failure is not an option. Veterans tend to exhibit a can-do attitude and team mentality.”
Glass Doctor has also seen an increase in veteran interest over the last two years, citing the number of troops transitioning back to the U.S. each year. They expect this trend to continue.
When asked why the company feels they provide the strongest opportunity for veterans, Glass Doctor says the VetFran program, founded in 1991 by The Dwyer Group, is a big draw, offering a discount on the franchise fee long before it became popular. Glass Doctor was also named a 2012 Military Friendly Franchise® by G.I. Jobs and offers 25% off the franchise fee for veterans. Veterans can network with the other VetFran franchise owners in the Glass Doctor system, and the company also partners with Sprigster’s Boost a Hero program to offer an opportunity for veterans to raise startup capital through crowdfunding.
“The glass industry is a stellar choice for any franchise owner as it is a needed service and is not as sensitive to the changing economy as many other industries,” said Dwyer-Owens. “Auto glass and window repair is in continual demand due to storm and wind damage, accidental damage, and energy efficiency upgrades. Many of our franchisees had no background in the glass industry before opening their franchise; we provide the training necessary for success through Glass Doctor University.”
Huddle House, Inc., a full-service family restaurant chain, is well-known for serving “Any Meal. Any Time.” in communities around the country. The Huddle House menu has a wide variety of comfort food items and features signature Big House breakfast and sandwich platters, as well as favorites such as country fried steak with green beans and marinated grilled chicken with sweet potato fries. The core values on which Huddle House was founded in 1964 – serving quality food in a warm, friendly environment that brings the community together – remain intact today. Typically open 24-hours, Huddle House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day.
In addition to being ranked in the top 10 percent of all franchises nationwide and named a 2012 Military Friendly Franchise® by G.I. Jobs Magazine, Huddle House honors military veterans all year round by offering service members a discounted franchise fee through the VetFran program, allowing veterans to use their training and operational skills in a new civilian career, reducing the initial franchising fee from $25,000 to $12,500.
Huddle House is proud to have more than 25 franchisees that come from military backgrounds, many of whom are some of the top performers in their respective markets. Mark Whittle, Chief Development Officer, attributes this to the training the armed forces provide its service members.
“We have found that military veterans do exceptionally well as franchise owners. They are some of the most disciplined and most respected operators in our system. It’s an honor to call these men and women our franchisees.”
Huddle House has seen tremendous growth recently and seeks to continue that momentum over the next two years with plans to open 35 new locations as a part of the brand’s accelerated national growth strategy, making now the perfect time for a veteran to franchise with the brand.
Aaron’s, Inc., the nation’s leader in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of residential and office furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories, has more than 1,800 Company-operated and franchised stores in 48 states and Canada.
Founded in 1955 by R. Charles Loudermilk Sr. and headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron’s has been publicly traded since 1982.
Aaron’s has taken a leadership role in VetFran’s Operation Enduring Opportunity program with a goal to employ and provide ownership to 75,000 veterans and spouses by 2014. In November of 2011, Greg Tanner, Aaron’s National Director of Franchising, along with his team, introduced the Operation Enduring Opportunity program initiative at the Georgia State Capitol. Additionally, Tanner was the only franchisor invited to the White House to witness President Obama sign the American Jobs Act bill that offers tax credits to businesses that hire veterans, showing the company’s commitment to the cause.
Tanner believes veterans make great employees because they are loyal and committed to the company.
“Where else are you going to find employees, like veterans, who were willing to take a bullet for their last employer,” he said.
Aaron’s cites it’s “esprit de corps” within the company, along with the opportunity to advance and to lead others, as well as the benefits that the company offers as a NYSE listed company as just a few of the benefits a veteran can look to when becoming part of the Aaron’s family.
Over the last year, Aaron’s has made a commitment to several military groups, including The Wounded Warrior Project and the Armed Forces Foundation, in addition to the VetFran Operation Enduring Opportunity program. This ensures that veterans who were willing to sacrifice for our freedoms are not given a hand out, but, as Tanner puts it, “a hand up to live their American dream.”
Based in Dallas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 9,200 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, there are more than 46,800 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries.
During 2011, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales close to $76.6 billion. 7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S. and expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program.
For veterans looking to franchise with 7-Eleven, the company continues to offer qualified veterans a 10% reduction in the franchising fee. Additionally, 7-Eleven recently added a former Air Force recruiter to the company’s board to help recruit veterans, we all as to help other company leaders better understand what it’s like for military personnel to transition back into civilian life.
All of this has resulted in an increase in veteran interest over the past year, with the company citing close to 100 franchise candidates with military backgrounds, when, in previous years, 7-Eleven would only see 12-15 candidates.
The company continues to invest in the remodeling of 7-Eleven stores to help franchisees retain and attract even more customers, in addition to providing franchisees with a successful business system, proprietary retail information and technology, as well as robust promotion and advertising campaigns. And, with continued expansion in the U.S., 7-Eleven has evolved into one of the most attractive franchising opportunities for veterans.
Coppell, Texas-based CiCi’s Pizza opened its first restaurant in Plano, Texas in 1985, and is now one of the nation’s fastest growing pizza chains. The family-oriented restaurant, known for its pizza, pasta, salad, soup and dessert buffet, has about 600 restaurants in 35 states.
In 2011, Zagat recognized CiCi’s on its list of most child-friendly fast-food chains, and Entrepreneur named CiCi’s first in its category on the Franchise 500 list. In 2010, CiCi’s was named to Inc. Magazine’s top 5,000 list, and to Parents’ list of top family-friendly restaurants. Nation’s Restaurant News ranked CiCi’s No. 1 in sales and unit growth among pizza chains for the past four years.
Accolades aside, CiCi’s also happens to be one of the most veteran-focused franchise opportunities around, launching the CiCi’s Patriot Program that waives the franchise fee for the first restaurant on top of offering a 50 percent royalty fee reduction for the first full year in operation for all qualified veterans. According to CiCi’s, this equals approximately $58,000 in savings.
Chief Development Officer Bill Spae said in a statement that the company is “very thankful to the brave soldiers who put their lives at risk and sacrificed so much to serve and protect our country,” and that the Patriot Program was developed “to express our gratitude and deepen our brand’s commitment to veterans.”
In addition to their own Patriot Program, CiCi’s also supports Springster’s Boost a Hero program, which is the nation’s only crowdfunding platform that helps veterans raise the necessary money to start their own business.
With plans to open 500 new locations by 2020, CiCi’s presents one of the strongest opportunities for veterans looking to open their own business.
Checkers/Rally’s Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. is the largest double drive-thru restaurant chain in the United States. The company develops, owns, operates and franchises both Checkers and Rally’s restaurants. Based in Tampa, Florida, it has more than 800 restaurants open across the U.S.
In recent years, the brand has been awarded several of the industry’s most prestigious awards including: “Best Drive-Thru in America” by QSR Magazine and the “Hot! Again Award” from Nation’s Restaurant News.
Checkers has been a participant in the VetFran program for several years, offering a $5,000 discount on the franchising fee to veterans opening their first restaurant in the company’s system, and prominently displays the VetFran logo on all marketing materials and on its franchise website.
Owning and operating a Checkers location is attractive to veterans as the company offers a variety of building formats at compelling returns. With a strong system and a vibrant brand, Checkers says veterans would be hard pressed to find another sales-to-investment ratio that is higher among those in the burger business.
With the recent launch of the Cold Creations line of ice cream treats in addition to the continued development of new menu items, becoming part of the Checkers family ensures you always have something new to offer customers and to bring in business. Additionally, veterans are viewed by Checkers as excellent at both taking and giving direction, and leaders within their communities.
“Veterans also have a competitive fire that is fundamentally important in the QSR business,” said Jennifer Durham, Vice President of Franchise Development.
Headquartered in Warren, Michigan, Big Boy Restaurants has more than 149 Big Boy Restaurants in the United States and Japan. Founded in 1936 by Bob Wian, Big Boy became famous for its double decker hamburger, also known as the Big Boy. With over 75 years of heritage in the restaurant industry, Big Boy is “rooted in traditions of craveable food and lasting memories.”
Big Boy is also a participant in the VetFran program, offering a whopping 50% off of the franchise fee to qualified veterans.
Veterans can also feel proud to be a part of one of the most iconic fast food franchises in history. As an established, successful franchise system, Big Boy provides proven support, training and communication tools. New prototype store designs have created lower investment opportunities. In addition, multiple territories remain available for development in the United States.
Big Boy also supports its franchisees with quarterly limited time offer promotions, as well as marketing materials like television and radio ads and billboard placement.
David Crawford, Senior Vice President of Marketing, cites the iconic Big Boy statue places outside of each location that creates the emotional connection between the consumer and the brand.
Big Boy looks for passionate people when it comes to their franchisees, and we believe veterans are some of the most passionate people out there, making Big Boy a great franchise opportunity.
Atlanta-based Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. is the second largest quick-service sandwich chain in the
U.S. with more than 3,500 restaurants system wide. Arby’s has a reputation in the fast food industry as offering some of the best roast beef sandwiches, originally opening in 1964 in Boardman, Ohio.
And while many consumers may equate Arby’s with its famous Curly Fries, Arby’s is also known to be one of the most veteran-friendly franchises. The brand offers qualified veterans 50% off of the initial franchising fee, opening up the prospect of owning and operating an Arby’s location to a large number of our military heroes.
Arby’s is also known to offer free roast beef sandwiches to active duty soldiers and veterans on Veteran’s Day. Arby’s was also one of the first fast food brands to open a location on an active military base, signing a development agreement with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service to operate a location at Ft. Bliss, Texas.
With a national brand presence, 45 plus years of experience and being number one in market share for roast beef, franchising with Arby’s provides an excellent opportunity for veterans.
Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI) was recently named the #1 Childcare Franchise in the United States by Entrepreneur magazine for the eleventh consecutive year (January 2012) and one of the Top 200 Franchise Systems (in worldwide sales) by Franchise Times for the fifth consecutive year (October 2011).
Headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, GSI is expanding The Goddard School network throughout the United States. GSI currently licenses 380+ franchised schools with more than 45,000 students in 35 states.
Goddard participates in the VetFran program, offering qualified military veterans an astonishing $20,000 discount on the franchise fee.
Goddard also sees veterans as some of the most valuable potential employees.
“Clearly, veterans, because of their background and experience in the armed forces, are used to systems and procedures,” said Tony Padulo, Vice President of Franchise Development. “Veterans work well within the system and have very strong work ethics. They understand the need to have a system in place, and this ultimately translates into exceptional franchise owners.”
Indeed, Goddard has a solid system in place, offering strong training and support, making it easy for veterans to transition into the company’s structure.
With many exciting developments on the horizon, including the deployment of cutting edge technology like the use of smart boards throughout classrooms, and business continuing to grow despite the economic downturn (revenue has increased 5% over the past year), franchising with Goddard is a fantastic opportunity for veterans.