Unique Franchises: Household Names Begin Here - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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greenlightbulbglobe1Some 50 years ago, fast food as we currently know it was a foreign concept. Today, it is an institution upon which many busy families rely weekly and sometimes daily. In 1955, when Ray Kroc encountered a small, California hamburger stand run by Dick and Mac McDonald, he was inspired by how fast they served their food.

At the time, families ate home-cooked meals that took hours to prepare, but times were changing. Automobile use increased and women headed to work more often. Kroc saw a developing need and jumped at the opportunity to build more restaurants with the same operational plan as the McDonald brothers. Back then, investors considering his franchise might not have guessed that his hunch would turn into a multibillion dollar empire with more than 30,000 locations across the world.

Finding a profitable franchise can be as simple as looking at world trends and asking questions about what services individuals and businesses will need to make life more convenient or enjoyable.

Charting unfamiliar, yet lucrative territory
According to Miriam Brewer, director of education and diversity at the International Franchising Association Educational Foundation, there are more than 175 different industries that have franchised companies, many of which are unfamiliar to most. “When people think about franchises they automatically think about fast food, restaurants, or hotels,” Brewer says.

There are many advantages to investing into lesser-known franchising concepts — a significantly lower franchising fee is one. In rough economic times, people look to entrepreneurship, but many popular franchises will have start-up costs ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 — a price tag that is out of reach for most working-class Americans. However, some franchises in unfamiliar industries have significantly reduced franchising fees.

Take for example, Marietta, Georgia-based ShelfGenie, a franchise that sells custom-designed, glide-out shelving systems. An initial investment of $80,100 to $128,000 will put an investor in business without requiring them to hire staff. ShelfGenie’s business support center receives all customer calls, schedules sales appointments, and makes customer service calls for you, according to the ShelfGenie Website.

“The franchise does all of the business administration, making the franchisee responsible only for delivering the product,” says Matthew Biskup, chief marketing officer at the Ad Engine Franchise Network, the largest franchise recruitment network of Websites in the industry. “All you do is meet [clients], measure, make sales, and install it. It is a huge cost savings to the individual franchisee.”

“Some franchises are overlooked because they are completely not sexy, but as a business model they are viable,” Biskup says. He says FiltaFry, an oil filtration and fryer-cleaning franchise has low competition, but can be labor intensive. The initial franchise fee or territory fee ranges from $76,050 to $83,800, but can run as low as $32,000 if an investor already owns a white Ford E-150 van from which to operate the business. Customers can be found anywhere that food is fried.

Instead of buying one territory from FiltaFry, Stephen L. Bias decided that based on the profitability of the

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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