There are people and VCs who invest in restaurants. Chains like Jamba Juice got ramped up with VC money, for example. Restaurants go in and out of style, but if you have a working concept and a good team it can be done.
My wife and I invested in the Qdoba burrito chain when it was a one store operation. In our case, we invested principally because we knew the founder, and thought he was a good guy to bet on. In part, we invested because the numbers out of his first store were pretty good and it looked like a growth category. It turned out to be a very good investment.
There are a lot of legal and regulatory costs associated with being a franchisor, and you may not want to bite that off before you get a bit more scale. If you do go that way, you would be well advised to bring in a top team member who has been there, done that, and let them lead the charge on recruiting and supporting franchisees. (In Qdoba`s case, the founder stepped aside, and brought in as the new CEO a guy like that.) While franchising can be a capital efficient way to grow the brand, it`s not a substitute for raising some money, because you are going to need a fair amount of money for lawyers and to pay the right person to do the franchising thing.
Be prepared for changes in the management team. Assuming that you`ve not been through a rollout before, you are likely to hear that the team will need to be beefed up, probably at the very top levels, to get onboard the kind of experience needed to make the rollout work.,
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