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Tracking the Factors That Contribute to Growth

High-achieving multi-unit franchisees provide their views on currents topics of the day.

QUESTION:  What factor most influences your annual growth?

FAIRBANKS: “I believe that any success or failure in franchising is based more on the people than anything else. The people around me have helped with my annual growth the most, and the team we’ve built over the last few years is excellent.

“Hiring decisions are a difficult part of being a business owner, but a great find can be a huge asset to the company. I have managers and supervisors, including my brother, who have been with me since I started in 2005. My wife, Jodi, is very supportive and helps out in the stores and with our family. Having reliable employees makes growing much easier because I’m able to trust my team completely, which allows me to focus on the bigger picture.

“We’ve gotten to a point where we have a solid infrastructure so it just makes sense to keep expanding. Hungry Howie’s Pizza’s corporate office has also made some great additions to its corporate team and structure over the past few years. Those changes — combined with the new image launched in 2010 — have helped with growth as well. The company as a whole is going in a great direction right now. Everything is clicking so well that I’m confident my business will continue to grow, and I’m actively scouting new locations in the Charlotte area.”

Eric Fairbanks is a franchise owner of eight Hungry Howie’s Pizza locations in Charlotte, N.C. and the surrounding areas. He can be reached at

MARTINEZ: “There are several factors that I look at when I sit down to write my strategic growth plan, but it is clear to me what yields the most growth. That is people, people and people. People are the main driving factor for me when it comes to the growth of my restaurants, Russo’s Coal Fired Italian Kitchen and Russo’s New York Pizzeria.
“My main priority is to make sure that I have upper-level management in place that I can trust, at all of my locations, so that I feel comfortable that the staff will reflect the brands positively to our customers. Trust is an important factor because, ultimately, it is the management that will be left to make the decisions that will help my Russo’s restaurants succeed, so that I can focus on the big picture growth plans. This is especially important with the Russo’s brand as our mission is to treat guests at the restaurant like family. I also want that mission to translate internally so that the staff, at each of my restaurants, feels like family. Having quality staff in place that can make sure this mission is executed makes taking the leap and opening a new location that much easier. A well-oiled organizational structure is the first step in my strategic growth plan, and once that is in place, it’s time to start moving down my checklist and moving forward with my growth goals.”

David Martinez operates three Russo’s Restaurant franchises in South Texas that include Russo’s New York Pizzeria McAllen, Russo’s New York Pizzeria Mission and Russo’s Coal Fired Italian Kitchen Corpus Christi.  He can be reached at

PEREZ: “There are several factors that can be attributed to the growth of the Batteries Plus Bulbs franchise system and to the growth of my 10 franchise locations, in terms of revenue and store count. We serve the rapidly-growing $30.7 billion U.S. battery and $17 billion U.S light bulb replacement industries (Freedonia Research Study). The main growth factor in these industries and in our annual growth as a result, has been the evolution of technology and the rising consumer demand for it.

“There’s been a proliferation of battery-powered devices in the marketplace, requiring more complex, application-specific batteries. Light bulbs are also quickly becoming a complex product for the consumer. This is due to the phase-out of incandescent bulbs and the development of energy-saving technology like LEDs, which provide many features and benefits that most consumers don’t yet understand. With this increase in complexity, comes a growing need for expertise in providing battery and lighting solutions. At Batteries Plus Bulbs, we provide unmatched access to more than 40,000 batteries and light bulbs, along with technical expertise and service to retail consumers, businesses, and government entities at the national and local levels.

“Batteries and light bulbs are needs-based purchases. Our stores are fully stocked with the broadest and deepest assortment of batteries and light bulbs for any application, unlike many big box and online retailers. Customers come to Batteries Plus Bulbs knowing we will have the products and solutions they need, when they need them.

“When customers come into our stores, it allows our experts to educate them on the various performance and energy-saving product options available. This type of personal service and product expertise, along with the battery testing, installation, battery and light bulb recycling, and our business account programs, enhances our credibility over the competition and has influenced our yearly growth.“

Jose Perez owns and operates 10 Batteries Plus Bulbs franchises throughout Oregon and Washington. Batteries Plus Bulbs has more than 550 locations in 46 states and Puerto Rico. Perez can be reached at

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