Casual dining concept franchise offers low fees, simple operation and strong ROI.

With the casual dining industry increasingly competitive, costly and complicated, Shannon R. Foust and his partners at Rooster’s say they have a simpler, lower cost solution — and they are starting to franchise it nationwide.

Foust, former president and CEO of Damon’s Grill until it was sold earlier this year, has been named president of Rooster’s Franchising, LLC, the new franchising arm of Rooster’s, Inc. Rooster’s, founded in Dayton, Ohio in 1989, currently operates 11 self-described “fun, casual joints” in Dayton and Columbus.

The full-service restaurant offers fresh chicken wings, salads, sandwiches, pizza and burgers, and has a full bar. “I have been impressed by Rooster’s for years, and I frequently ate at one near the Damon’s home office,” Foust said. “It’s a simple, low cost, value- oriented concept that is focused on profitability, and we believe it has unlimited potential.”

In creating its franchising plan, Rooster’s reduced the costs that drive up the price of developing and operating casual restaurants and cut into franchisees‘ profits. Rooster’s development fee of $10,000, franchise fee of $15,000 and 3.25 percent royalty fee are well below those of most other chains. Rooster’s has no national advertising fee, instead utilizing local restaurant marketing.

The chain‘s goal is for franchisees to achieve in excess of a two-to-one sales-to-investment ratio.
“Our approach is to find experienced operators and provide them with enough support to be successful, but let them do what they do best – market and operate great local restaurants,” said Dan Ponton, president of Rooster’s, Inc.

“Shannon’s many industry contacts and his years of experience as a franchisee, as well as a chain executive, give him a unique perspective on what franchisees want and need today to succeed.”
To keep costs down, franchisees will be required to convert existing restaurants to the Rooster’s concept, rather than build new locations.

In a move to keep corporate overhead low, no headquarters office is planned. Foust and other support personnel will work from home-based offices. “With the advances in telecommunications, there’s less need for a traditional corporate office, which is a big expense ultimately paid for by franchisees,” Foust said.

Foust noted that Rooster’s is already seeing interest from potential franchisees in several Midwest markets. The first franchising commitment is expected within 60 days. Rooster’s also is looking to add company restaurants in the central Ohio market and is looking at several sites.

How many Rooster’s restaurants do Foust and Ponton envision? “There is no magic number or timeline to hit,” Foust said. “Our goal is to bring in high quality business partners who fit with our brand and culture. If we do that, the growth and numbers will take care of themselves.”

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