Scott Nelowet, founder of gourmet fry chain French Fry Heaven, is taking a food truck 4,500 miles in hopes of selling franchises of his company the old-fashioned way and inspiring business owners.
“This generation [of business owners] in particular, has gotten incredibly lazy," Nelowet said. "I mean unbelievably lazy. People would rather send an email than make a sales call.”
The 15-day tour began earlier this month in Houston, and will end in Atlanta, with stops in Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Indianapolis, and Louisville in between.
Nelowet opened the first French Fry Heaven in 2010 in Jacksonville, Fla., and the company has since grown to 16 locations, including independent stands, mall brick-and-mortar shops, and food trucks.
Nelowet expects to open 45 more stores before 2015, and hopes his presentations around the country, along with fry samplings, will entice entrepreneurs to become franchisees.
“It’s hard to get back to the old 1940s barnstorming tour where, if you wanted to get the word out there, you had to physically go out there and do it,” he said. “I’m asking these franchisees to come on board and make a lot of money both for them and for me. I can’t really ethically do that without putting in the same level of effort and then some.”
He said the company is designed to expand to 1,500 franchises with owners who want to be in a business they can control, and who want to make a positive impact in their communities.
The royalty fee for each franchise is 6% of gross sales, and 1% of that is given to a charity of the franchisee's choice.
Nelowet is chronicling his adventures from the company's Twitter page.
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