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Atlanta franchise trend growing among small operators

Many restaurateurs start out with a concept, then work incredibly hard to make their dream take shape in the real world. Those who succeed take a great deal of pride in their accomplishment, and many begin to dream of expansion. As many in Atlanta know, expanding a successful restaurant requires hard work, dedication and careful planning around franchise policies and agreements and more. The payoff, however, can be far more lucrative than many restaurant owners will realize over a lifetime of success with just one kitchen.

Franchises are on the rise in Atlanta, in part due to falling real estate prices and an increase in available credit for those in the restaurant business. The bulk of new franchises are in fast food or fast-casual restaurants, largely because the start-up cost for these ventures is far below that of a fine dining establishment. A trend toward ethnic food franchises is developing and many owners are eager to expand their style of cuisine to the masses. No matter the style of food, those who franchise share the hope of becoming the next Waffle House or Hooters of America, both of which originated in Atlanta.

The road to success is neither simple nor easy, franchise veterans warn. Owners must prepare for hefty initial start-up costs, headaches in establishing and maintaining brand standards, and the very real possibility of a long period of time before achieving profitability. Many say that the headaches of opening and running one store are multiplied exponentially when beginning to franchise.

As with all business ventures, the best practice to ensure a successful franchise is thorough planning. Care and attention must be dedicated from the initial concept all the way through implementation. Having a trusted advisor to walk you through the process is priceless, and an investment that can pay for itself many times over in mistakes avoided and simple peace of mind. One thing is for certain; Atlanta area diners will have no shortage of great choices as their favorite restaurants expand both locally and throughout the nation.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Small area restaurant chains see growth options, obstacles," Leon Stafford, May 29, 2012

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