How Two Franchisees Are Affected by Covid, and How They're Responding
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How Two Franchisees Are Affected by Covid, and How They're Responding

How Two Franchisees Are Affected by Covid, and How They're Responding

We asked a wide range of multi-unit franchisees about the biggest impacts Covid-19 has had on their business, how they’ve responded, and which changes they think will be permanent. This week we hear from a 59-year-old multi-brand restaurant operator and a 35-year multi-unit franchisee of Amazing Lash Studios

George Hart is the CEO of Hartman Holdings, which operates 5 Dunkin’/Baskin-Robbins combos, 6 Dunkin’ units, and 1 Teriyaki Madness (opening Q1 2021). He’s been in franchising for 5 years and wants to put a Dunkin’ on every U.S. military base!

What are the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business?

I own several non-traditional locations across military bases and office buildings. Therefore, the decrease in traffic from the pandemic has severely affected us.

How have you responded?

We’ve stayed open with limited staff members, reduced our hours of operation and food costs, although we have kept our full menu. It’s still a goal to stay open regardless, because if we show guests loyalty now they’ll likely do the same for us in the future.

What changes do you think will be permanent?

Guests will certainly remain on the go with an increased focus on drive-thrus, curbside pickup, and delivery for restaurant concepts. Luckily, at Dunkin’ our restaurant model is built for the on-the-go lifestyle, especially my non-traditional locations. Throughout my locations, we’re able to not have any seating, as well as offer a virtually contactless experience with our POS system and environmentally friendly, disposable packaging.

Elaina Watley is a multi-unit franchisee of Amazing Lash Studio with 3 salons open and 5 more in development. She’s been in franchising for 4 years, following a career in sports and entertainment marketing. In addition to franchising, she’s busy promoting women in business and building a school in Ghana.

What are the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business?

We were closed for 3 months, which allowed no revenue for a quarter of the year. We are currently getting our members back active on membership payments, which has been challenging at times. The biggest impact is making our employees and customers feel safe. We wore gloves and masks before Covid-19, but we are now implementing 10-minute time gaps between each client, offering curbside check-in, and conducting temperature checks with customers and employees. 

How have you responded?

I have to really commend the Support Center team for their help in navigating these uncertain times. The entire team has worked since this pandemic started to give franchisees the tools they need. They’ve launched a robust safety and sanitation process to help keep our employees and guests safe. Additionally, they launched the Operation Rise Up playbook, which provided me and my team with marketing, operations, and learning and development tools and resources. On the studio level, I have responded in a variety of ways. I used the downtime for additional training through the Online University. This allowed our team to dive deeper than we normally get to do if business were running as usual. Also, identifying key strategic mergers and acquisitions has been really important for me over the past several months.

What changes do you think will be permanent?

Permanent changes I expect to see will be the wearing of gloves and masks, temperature checks, questionnaires, and curbside check-in.

Published: February 19th, 2021

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