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The FORT with Chris Powers

May 20, 2021

John Schissler is Founder of J&M Hospitality which was created to open and operate Chicken Salad Chick restaurants in the Fort Worth, TX area. John and his wife Meggie currently own and operate 5 locations in North Texas.

On this episode, John and Chris discuss the process of franchising a restaurant. John breaks down what conversations with franchisors & founders look like, financing, finding store locations, the hiring and training process, and operations. John tells some great stories about the realities of a franchisee, growth plans, how he navigated the pandemic, and more. Enjoy!

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(03:12) - John’s Story and Early Career

(04:48) - How did the opportunity come up to start franchising Chick Salad Chick?

(06:34) - How do you become a franchisee of a restaurant?

(09:32) - When did you know that you had found your first location?

(10:39) - How did you finance your first location?

(13:09) - How do you design locations?

(15:23) - How long was it from the day you signed the lease to opening day?

(15:38) - What was your and Meggie’s job going to be when you first started?

(16:52) - When did you start prepping to hire?

(20:01) - Training Staff and Testing Days

(20:48) - John’s First Grand Opening Day and Horror Stories

(25:33) - What does 200-300lbs of chicken look like and what’s the prep process like?

(26:30) - At what point did you know store #1 was going to make it?

(27:34) - How long before you moved on to opening stores #2 & #3?

(28:59) - Are there any tricks new operators can use to get landlords to pay attention to them when finding a location?

(31:16) - How does the relationship work with the franchisor?

(32:01) - What resources do franchisors provide to you?

(33:45) - Do you ever meet with other franchisees?

(35:05) - What do Yelp & Google reviews mean to you?

(39:37) - How do you go about getting more stores?

(41:44) - How does hiring above-store operators work?

(43:53) - How many stores will you open up in the next 24 months?

(44:16) - What’s happened in your world since March 2020?

(46:24) - How long did it take for you to get to a pandemic way of operating?

Good to Great by Jim Collins 

(49:03) - How did you staff the restaurant?

(50:09) -  Why are restaurants having trouble hiring?

(51:47) - Are you realizing you can run stores leaner than previously thought?

(53:20) - Are there certain cleaning practices that will stick around after the pandemic or new regulations you’ll need to abide by?

(54:44) - Were you getting any signals early on from other parts of the country that the pandemic was coming?

(56:27) - What have you learned about keeping your staff in tip-top shape to be successful?

(57:55) - The Realities of Being a Franchisee

(58:30) - What’s your goal over the next 5 years?

(1:00:09) - What are the questions you’re now asking to join a brand as a franchisee?

(1:02:37) -  Are there things you would avoid in the restaurant world or things that are very attractive to you?

(1:04:38) - Do you like working with mobile delivery services?

(1:07:34) - Are you thinking about Ghost Kitchens?

(1:09:30) - How do large orders make their way through the system?

(1:10:49) - How does product delivery logistics work?

(1:12:01:) - Is there private equity in this industry?

(1:13:16) - Do you need corporate approval to sell to private equity?

(1:13:59) - What are you seeing in the retail market?

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(1:17:10) - How do you mitigate the risk of being in a multi-tenant property where your neighbors suck?

(1:18:38) - Do you have a childhood experience that shaped who you are today?

(1:19:43) - What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

(1:21:13) - How do you separate working, parenting, and marriage with your wife?

(1:23:16) - How can people support you?

The FORT with Chris Powers is produced by Straight Up Podcasts