International investment firm helps Latin American investors join the TMAD franchise system thanks to Restaurant Sherpas
Ramses Gonzalez knew Teriyaki Madness was a great food concept. But as partner and Director of Operations for Globofran, an investment firm whose goal is to help its customers from Latin America invest in franchises in the U.S., he needed more.
Many of his investors simply didn’t want to be involved in daily operations, particularly with a food concept.
“When TMAD came up with the Restaurant Sherpas model, where they would then run the shops for the franchisees, it was clear to us that we had a winning formula,” Gonzalez says. “We could introduce our [investor] customers to a concept that we really liked where they didn’t have to be involved in the day-to-day and where the franchise brand itself was actually going to run the shops for them. Who better than the creators of the concept to run the concept?”
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Globofran, which started in 2012, has had Teriyaki Madness in its investment portfolio for several years. Gonzalez worked with Owner and CEO Michael Haith and TMAD leadership closely enough over the years that he knew it was right. But food operations are notoriously high-touch, and his investor-customers needed more operational help to be convinced that TMAD was the right concept at the right time.
“We met with them at franchise events once or twice a year, and we actually had discussed with Michael a few years back the possibility of a program like Sherpas. We actually told them, ‘If you guys can come up with a solution where you run the shops for people, that’s something we can sell and we could sell fast.’”
Globofran currently has four investors in two shops in the Denver area, and six more investors signed on in March and April with an eye toward opening shops in Houston, TX, and in South Florida. Gonzalez says that with Restaurant Sherpas in charge, the location doesn’t have to be convenient to the investor.
“Out of the four investors currently in shops, I have one currently living in Mexico, one currently living in Argentina, and two living here in Miami,” he says. “So as long as Restaurant Sherpas is running the shops, the shops can be anywhere. It doesn’t matter where the investor lives.”
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Traditionally, Globofran has steered customers away from foodservice. The food industry can be complicated. It’s hard work. And it’s difficult to be successful when the operator doesn’t have direct experience.
But once the Restaurant Sherpas advertised they could take over day-to-day operations at a growing, high-profit concept like TMAD, Globofran’s customers wanted in.
The restaurant industry “is a Monday-to-Monday business,” Gonzalez says. “I mean, there are no off days; it opens every day of the week. The dedication, the commitment, it’s huge. So when Sherpas comes in and they take care of that part of the business, my investors — they are CFOs and former CFOs — it doesn’t matter what background they have, because I’m not worried about them running a food business.
“That is a huge solution that Sherpas is providing for our investors, because it allows us to, again, not have to focus too much on the background of the person.”
Investors have the option of going through the comprehensive franchisee training, just like a hands-on Teriyaki Madness operator. So far, Globofran customers have chosen to let Sherpas take care of everything, from the launch of the shop to the day-to-day operations.
“It is about the Sherpas, but at the end of the day, it’s also TMAD. And this is the example I can use. Last year was a difficult year. One of our shops in downtown Denver had huge foot traffic. It was going to be a flagship store, a training store for TMAD. But it was one of the shop’s that’s been hit the hardest because of COVID.”
With COVID restrictions, the business district shut down because everyone started working from home. The anticipated foot traffic vanished. “It’s a shop where we are paying premium location prices, but it doesn’t work on COVID-19 times.
“But the amount of effort that I saw TMAD put in… At one point we were having meetings twice a week, where I had the CEO, the COO, the CFO. I pretty much had all the C-level executives from TMAD meeting with me and my investors, trying to figure out how we’re going to survive this thing, for that shop.”
It would have been easy just to let the shop go out of business. Instead, TMAD executives worked hard to help it — and other struggling locations — stay open. “That gave me a lot of trust on who I’m partnering with. You will find out, especially in hard times, who your partner really is at the end of the day.”
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