Source: CVDaily Feed
Over the past few decades, franchising has developed an ever-growing presence in the world’s restaurant industry. Just look at Australia, which is currently considered to be the most franchised nation per head of population in the world, with a variety of coffee vans and burger chains offering entrepreneurs a number of small business opportunities. Now, it seems that this trend has come to Ogden: a series of restaurant franchises have opened their doors on the city’s 12th Street over the past few years, drawn to Utah’s promising culture and economic stability. But what does this mean for the Beehive State’s culinary industry as a whole?
The latest franchise, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, opened in Ogden on Tuesday, May 5. This new eatery, which offers thin, hamburger-like sandwiches, is located next to a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, which opened in December, and down the street from a Jimmy Johns, Dickey’s Barbecue and Zaxby’s, which date back to February. The result is a diverse collection of cuisine, where national chains mix with local ventures, delighting customers and business analysts alike.
Melva Sine, President and CEO of the Utah Restaurant Association, said that Utah’s minimally-regulated business climate, combined with a great, eager workforce and good economic standing, are drawing plenty of franchises to the state.
“While the rest of the country still may have issues regarding the recession, Utah is proving very resilient,” Sine said. “There is a point where restaurants will reach a saturation point, but for right now, our population is growing.”
And when businesses choose to move to Utah, experts say Ogden is a natural choice: with the growth of companies in the city’s Business Depot — a planned business park — which now collectively employs more than 6,000, the area is projected to experience considerable growth. Additionally, the 12th street restaurants are able to service travelers on Interstate 15, thanks to their proximity to the 12th Street off-ramp.
But while these national brands make up the bulk of the area’s restaurants, they haven’t chased out locally-owned eateries, like Lolo’s Hawaiian Barbecue, Nate’s East Coast Grill and Ruan Thai Restaurant. Moreover, many of the franchised locations are owned and managed by local residents. Ogden business owners say this not only creates a healthy mix, but offers existing restaurants a chance to upgrade their facilities through increased competition.
Unfortunately, not every 12th Street franchise has been successful: over the past few years, Boston Market, Kenny Rogers Roasters, JJ North’s Grand Buffet and other companies found themselves unable to establish locations in the area, while entire chains like Tony Roma’s disappeared. This isn’t entirely unusual in the restaurant industry, a field with a 77% employee turnover rate, where 30% of businesses fail within the first year and 70% close after five. For this reason, franchisees are often encouraged to carefully research their areas and opportunities before opening a business.
The new Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers already seems to be a great example of this: originally from Wichita, KS, the fast-casual restaurant chain now has more than 150 locations across 23 states, including three in Utah. The Ogden location not only offered the business an opportunity to expand into Northern Utah, but also presented a family-oriented community that meshed well with the chain’s 1940s theme. As a result, two more Freddy’s locations in Midvale and West Valley City will be completed this summer.
But Freddy’s surely won’t be the last restaurant chain to come to Utah: with creative individuals consistently introducing new ways to prepare food and unveiling new menu items, there are seemingly unlimited opportunities to open restaurants and expand franchises, especially in Utah. What restaurant chain will be the next franchise to open a location in the Beehive State? Only time will tell.