Let’s Learn About Craft Beer Franchise Support With Tacocat!
So, you’re thinking about opening a Voodoo Brewing Co. craft beer franchise in your neck of the woods. Obviously, we’re thrilled—we’re always on the lookout for amazing humans to carry the good Voodoo name to U.S. cities from coast to coast!
But we also understand that owning a craft beer franchise can be a hell of a big deal, and we totally get that you’ve got some questions about the level of support you’re going to get from the corporate team once you’ve opened your doors.
That’s why we approached our Director of Franchise Operations, the incomparable Andrew “Tacocat” Volanski, to address your potential concerns head-on and show you exactly how and why we do franchising differently from other concepts in the food and beverage industry. Take it away, Tacocat!
Can you please give me a brief overview of the opening support a Voodoo Franchise Owner can expect from you and other members of the leadership team?
Pre-opening really starts from the minute you sign the franchise agreement. From that moment, we start weekly meetings where we walk you through the process of finding real estate with our national real estate brokers (CBRE) and finding a site. Once we find a site location, we lock in a lease, and then you get a store number and task card. The task card has a bunch of things to do on it by certain dates. These include things like ordering glassware, kitchen equipment, setting up point-of-sales systems, virtual training, and more.
On your actual Grand Opening week, some of the Voodoo Executive Team, including me, come out to your franchise location and do a very regimented and deep training. We’re working with front-of-house staff, as well as the management team. Our culinary director, Sean Kirzyc, is working with the chefs and back-of-house. It’s really a five to seven-day pre-opening training process, with several days of training and a very intentional soft opening to grand opening process.
What are some of the most common issues, opening-day jitters, etc. you have to combat when opening a new Voodoo brewpub franchise location?
The whole point of Voodoo is that you don’t need previous experience to open. A lot of pre-opening jitters are from the standpoint of, “What about this? Well, what if this happens?!” They’re more worried about what could happen, rather than any actual issues. Running a bar is very fluid—you have to go with the ebb and flow of it and work with what is thrown at you.
For your Grand Opening, we don’t leave and we are there to support you. If you’re getting backed up or are falling behind, I’m there cleaning glasses or helping to clean tables with you. We don’t leave you behind even after that Grand Opening.
In your opinion, what are some of the most important aspects of the support you provide for new Franchise Owners in advance of their Grand Opening?
The most important aspect is really the cultural knowledge we provide. Personally, I’ve been with Voodoo for almost 8 years now. It’s knowing why we do things a certain way. It’s a bit different from a restaurant business model, but there’s a reason for it. It’s the knowledge of how and why we do things that contribute to success for Franchise Owners.
What are some of the mistakes other franchises make in terms of training and support that Voodoo tries to actively avoid? How does Voodoo do it differently?
As I mentioned earlier, we have weekly calls with Franchise Owners and then part of those calls are additional weekly training calls with the Director of Training. Each week those training calls teach a different subject. One week it can be the point of sales system, another week it’s inventory management, or people management. Each week it’s a different topic. We have that pre-opening virtual call, then about four weeks before the Grand Opening we invite you and your management staff to one of our locations and work at the bar and kitchen to get hands-on experience before you open your location. Then the pre-Grand Opening, or the soft opening, is there with us in person working with us up until your Grand Opening. It’s very hands-on, which I think we do differently than most. We’re always touching base and checking in.
Let’s say a Voodoo Franchise Owner has their Grand Opening and still doesn’t feel 100% confident about operating their location on their own. How far does the support extend until a Franchise Owner is able to run the business “without a net?” Also, what steps do you take to make sure they feel ready to stand on their own two feet before you leave?
After your Grand Opening, we don’t immediately leave you behind. We stay for two or three days after your Grand Opening, after the dust sort of settles, and go over any concerns or worries. We do all this training beforehand and then during the soft and Grand Openings were there to sort of watch and make sure everything is running smoothly. If we, as the corporate team, notice potential issues we can tell Franchise Owners to try it a certain way or do it differently.
Even after we leave your location and you’re running your day-to-day operations, our calls don’t stop. Even four to six weeks after opening, we still have a time slot to meet with you and we are still touching base every single week. Even after that, once weekly calls end, we have monthly functional calls. Every month there’s a marketing meeting, operations meetings, and culinary meetings. We’re not just like, “You’re open, bye!”
Finally, do you have any advice for prospective Franchise Owners dreaming of their Voodoo Opening Day in their city? Any words of wisdom about how to get adequately prepared?
The best way to prepare is to be adaptable. I think in the hospitality industry, in bars and restaurants, and even more specifically in the craft beer industry, having the ability to be adaptable and to roll with the punches and roll up your sleeves is so important.
Here’s the situation, grab it, and make the best of it, rather than freezing or freaking out. Being adaptable is so huge when you’re six people deep ordering at a full bar, completely filled. It’s like, “You have a busy bar— that’s badass!”
Be adaptable and don’t get overwhelmed. Take it one person at a time.
Work with Tacocat! Own a craft beer franchise with Voodoo Brewing Co.
Now’s your chance to get in on our special brand of franchise support as a Voodoo Brewing Co. craft beer Franchise Owner. Work with Tacocat and the rest of our experienced Executive Team to realize your dream of owning the baddest craft brewpub in town. We’ll be there for you from the day you sign your franchise agreement through Grand Opening and beyond!
Still have questions? Learn more about how you can get started bringing Voodoo Brewing Co. to your hometown here.