Great Harvest is an authentic brand, and we want you to be as enthusiastic about it as we are!
Although we are a franchise, at our heart, we are a collection of locally-owned businesses. We have never aspired to be a cookie-cutter franchise; the kind where you go into a store and the menu and decor are identical to every other location across the country. Our success has been built by integrating local flavor, through establishing relationships within our local communities, and approaching business with a spirit of generosity, as a part of the community.
This is a common question as you begin the franchise research process. In the application review process, we’ll want to learn about you and your reasons for wanting to own a bakery cafe. The right reasons for wanting to own a Great Harvest franchise are things like:
Often the motivation is something as simple as having seen a Great Harvest franchise, talking with the owners, and deciding you want the same thing for yourself.
Based on forty years of experience, we have established some minimum financial requirements. We truly want you to succeed, and we take these minimums seriously given that we've seen good businesses close their doors because the owners were under-capitalized.
People are often unrealistic about where the startup money, plus personal expenses, will come from. After signing a Franchise Agreement, we will help you develop a business plan for a bank.
People often ask, "How can we expect to succeed when we don't know anything about baking? I was trained to be an engineer!" This always strikes us as funny because Great Harvest's approach is so different from a typical bakery cafe. Whatever unique life experiences you bring are an advantage. In fact, teaching someone who has had bakery experience would be much more difficult than starting with a clean slate.
Over the years, we've learned ways to systematize every aspect of the business so it can be easily taught to new employees, and new owners. Our training program is constantly growing and incorporating new improvements. With each year and each new bakery cafe, we learn more ourselves. The first franchise owners (thirty years ago) were taught just the recipes. Now the recipes are less than a tenth of what we teach.
The best neighborhood store locations are often chosen by locals. We contribute our knowledge of past bakery cafes to their knowledge of the town, and together we do well. We do have strong Great Harvest locations where the owners were not local. But truly local bakery cafe owners have a feel for the community that no amount of careful outside research can duplicate.
Check out how Bob and Colleen in Southlake, TX have localized their Great Harvest:
Patience and working with our experienced real estate team are often a big factors in securing the right location. It's important to recognize the high cost of self-imposed deadlines during startup, and to put yourself in a position where patience can come naturally. As we learned long ago, there is no substitute for a Great location.
Not sure what that means? A franpreneur is an entrepreneur who doesn't want to create everything from scratch, but would rather follow proven systems. In other words, it's an entrepreneur who wants to own a franchise. A franpreneur is also someone who wants to be part of "a family" of like-minded business people — someone who enjoys working together and sharing ideas with others.
Although a franpreneur is able to follow recommendations and is eager to collaborate, they still possess an entrepreneurial spirit. They are passionate and proactive about marketing and other activities that will help grow their business. Are you a franpreneur? You will fit right in at Great Harvest.
This brings up something else that we might as well cover here. Your biggest question —and we can't blame you— is usually: "How much money will I make?" Profits are important for every business. We've never seen a "strong and exciting bakery cafe" that wasn't profitable.
However, it's a question that, in the strict sense, we can't answer. The best we can do is to point you toward what our other bakeries have done in the past. These are what the federal government calls "financial performance representations" and are strictly regulated.
Our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) includes one of the most detailed financial performance representations of any franchise system, because it's important to us to give you the best answer we can to your biggest question. After we receive qualified applications, we provide you a copy of our FDD.
Next: Don't Just Own a Store, Own a Territory
Back: Bakery Cafe Ownership with Great Harvest
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