For Jim Squire, franchising is the great American dream. When he was group vice president of the franchising division of Arby’s, he helped the chain double in size. He led franchising initiatives for Great American Cookie Co. and Georgia Cheesesteak Inc. As president and chief executive of Franchise Marketing Inc. he offered his expertise to a broad base of franchisees. He serves on the board of trustees of the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation and is a member of the organization’s franchise relations and membership committees.
Squire now is at the helm of franchise development for the 400-unit HoneyBaked Ham Co. and Café, based in Atlanta. The 50-year-old chain traditionally has expanded through company-owned stores, but it recently began a push to open franchised units in more than 100 markets.
Why is franchising the great American Dream?
It’s what Horatio Alger had in mind when he spoke of the entrepreneurial spirit of this country. It helps people realize the dream of becoming their own business owner.
What are your franchising plans?
Our intentions are to move out throughout the country into smaller markets than the markets where the corporation has traditionally built company stores. We are looking at modest growth, about 20 stores a year. We have about 110 franchise units of the 400 stores. We plan to have very targeted growth. We want to make sure we have the right franchisees for the market we’ve identified.
We’ve historically had company stores in major metro areas of the country. With the addition of franchising to our model, we are able to successfully open in smaller markets. Franchising is ideal in those markets for those who want to be involved in the community and represent the HoneyBaked brand.FAST FACTS
AGE: 60EDUCATION: bachelor’s degree, Armstrong State College, Savannah, Ga.; certified franchise executive with the Institute of Certified Franchise ExecutivesBIRTHPLACE: Savannah, Ga.HOBBIES: wine and food aficionadoCAREER HIGHLIGHTS: being named chairman emeritus of the Georgia Restaurant Association; receiving the Chairman’s Award in 2003 from the Georgia Hospitality and Travel Association; being named Food Service Industry Leader of the Year by the association in 1990
What sets HoneyBaked apart as a franchisor?
For our franchisees it’s the quality of life that they have. Our operating hours are very limited. We’re closed on Sunday and close at six during the week, and that really does give our franchisees time to have a good, strong family life both in the evenings as well as on Sunday. Second, the nature of our business is that we don’t really cook anything in the stores. We do more finishing. We glaze our hams, we prepare our sides and other things we serve. There’s really not a lot of cooking. It’s a simple, straightforward operation.
Why are the hours limited?
What we’ve learned over 50 years of experience is the best time to be open and be available to the public. We open at 10 to offer the noon meal component to people who want to dine in or carry out our product. In the afternoons people stop by and pick up our new mini ham or one of our specialty meats or our sides, and those are convenient to serve at dinner.
How do you prepare franchisees for the reality of owning a business?
We think we do that on the front end, primarily with conversations with them in doing research and due diligence. We have a “discovery day” in the offices in Atlanta, and they meet with the executives. Probably the most important part of the due diligence process are the conversations with our franchisees. That’s something we require, to talk about the earning potential and also what it’s like to be a franchisee.