Questions and Answers with Jimmy's Seaside Fries
Q: What sets Jimmy’s Seaside Fries apart from other fast food franchises?
A: We have restaurant quality food in a kiosk environment. We have a very specific process for the fries in which involves the cutting, soaking and two step cooking process that delivers best in class product to the customers. These are not your normal fries. Our different topping offer consumers to unique toppings from Greek fries to fries with and poutine.
Q: Can you tell us about the business model for a Jimmy’s Seaside Fries franchise? How do your franchisees make money?
A: The business model is the life blood of our model. We can get stores open at a low entry investment level in which they will be doing 4 to 5 times their investment in year one in sales. This multiple is unheard of in our kiosk based model. When you take the low entry investment, the high margin products and the low labor model you have a successful business model from day one.
Q: What is the current state of the fast food and mall food industry?
A: Food in the mall has been a pretty stagnant category. There has been very little innovation in the mall food category. You continue to have the staples of ice cream, pretzels and cookies. French Fries is a brand new category to the malls due to our new frying technology that allows us to cook fresh french fries in a kiosk environment without the use of a hood and vent system. We are bringing a product with a 98% product awareness and a category that is bigger than pretzels, ice cream and cookies combined. The malls have been very receptive to our concept and we have garnished some of the prime real estate spots that were previously not allocated for food use. Food is the new anchor in the malls and we fit into the malls strategy of giving the consumers things to snack on and eat which extends their shopping experience.
Q: Can you describe the primary target customer for Jimmy’s Seaside Fries? How are your franchisees reaching out to this target customer?
A: The target consumer is your typical mall consumer. We appeal to Mom, kids and males 16-39 that are looking for quick snacking options for foods that they know and love.
Q: What are the most important things a prospective franchisees or employee should know or be prepared for when entering the fast food industry?
A: The key to our industry is to develop a process and maintain that process from day one. We invest in training as well as we focus on sampling the product to consumers. Sampling is the number one driver of sales due to how well our product does in the sampling environment.
Q: How do you keep ahead of the curve when it comes to competitors?
A: We have an expansive dessert menu with funnel cakes, funnel cake fries, fried oreos, and churros. We continue to launch seasonal products to continue to create “new” news for the customers.
Q: Where do you see Jimmy’s Seaside Fries going in the next five years?
A: We will be the largest player in our field by the end of 2014 and I anticipate we will continue to build the mall model while branching out to a more full service model for inline spaces. We are currently partnered with yogurt chain out of Florida named You Say When Yogurt to do some co-branded options in some larger inline and strip center spaces. The yogurt product fits perfectly with Jimmy’s because it allows the franchise owner to extend their day part to capture the after 7PM sales in which yogurt drives. Close to 70% of yogurt sales are after 7PM and this allows the co-branded model to have a strong lunch, strong mid afternoon snacking, strong dinner and now a solid late night business.
Q: Are there any changes you foresee in your industry?
A: There will be people that try to mimic what we are doing but our entry level will be very hard to duplicate. We have a full service company that does all of the real estate selection, does all of the construction of the kiosks and all of the training and support. We offer in house financing which allows owners to get open for levels that our competition can not touch. This business comes down to location, product and investment levels. We are the best in class in all three categories.
Q: What are some common characteristics of your top performing franchisees?
A: Franchise owners that are the best trainers and hirers are typically are the most successful. Business are like kids, if you start to not pay attention to them they start acting up. We want franchise owners that are committed to training their employees and will continue to support our culture at Jimmy’s Seaside Fries.
Q: What kind of training and support can your franchisees expect to receive?
A: We offer training for a week in Tampa, FL. We also have a new store opening team that is at every store’s opening. The team consists of members from Jimmy’s Seaside Fries as well as our equipment partners to ensure that the opening goes as smooth as possible. Training is critical to our organization and we have more training and support people than we do sales people. That should tell you where our focus is.
Q: What kind of work background or skills set are you looking for in a franchisee?
A: We are looking for franchise owners that are passionate about owning their own business and share our values at Jimmy’s. We do not sell franchises we award them. We have said no to as many franchise owners as we have accepted. We are very protective of the existing group of owners and we can not let one owner into that group that is not a good fit and shares the same passion about business ownership as the rest of the team.
Q: What are your growth plans for Jimmy’s Seaside Fries? Which geographic markets are you targeting for expansion?
A: We currently have 14 units sold in 10 states in the last 6 months. We have another 12 units in the pipeline. We have developer agreements in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. We are looking for good locations in good malls all over the country. We are working on international expansion right now because of the huge size of market that french fries is in the international community.
Q: What type of area development opportunities are available?
A: Developers are a case by case basis. We have very aggressive deals to benefit developers that we really want in our system. Developers are our closest partners. We continue to look for developers that are looking at purchasing states to really grow the Jimmy’s Seaside Fries brand. It only takes a little as two units in a state for a developer to get their investment back.
Q: Is there anything else you wish to share about Jimmy’s Seaside Fries?
A: In the food kiosk franchise business there is not anyone that can get a unit open for $150,000 that offers our services, our growth, our menu variety and our high margin products. We are unique and this is why we are one of the fastest growing snack casual food brands in the United States. Please visit www.seasidefries.com for more information.
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