GoWaiter.com

Opportunity Cost

  • Liquid Capital Required: $50,000
  • Net Worth Required: $100,000
  • Total Investment: $41,600 - $99,000

About GoWaiter.com

  • Incorporated Name: GoWaiter, Inc.
  • Industry: Restaurants (Sit-Down)
  • Subsector: Food Delivery Service
  • Total Units: 27
  • Year Founded: 2010
  • Franchising Since: 2010
  • Home Office: Tallahassee, FL

Q&A with Mike Handy of GoWaiter.com

How was your franchise/opportunity originally conceived and started?

After working as a manager in the restaurant industry for years, and then owning and operating my own catering business, I decided to combine my food service and delivery skills together in order to provide customers that deserved the convenience of delivery, and want the variety of multiple restaurant cuisines, not just pizza or Chinese. 

What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time?  

My original vision was to provide a mostly residential population with delivery from their favorite restaurants instead of just the same few options like pizza or Chinese. The model has changed because we have found an incredible demand for business lunch solutions in the form of drop off catering, as well as a demand for room service to hotels that don't currently have food service but want to add the amenity for their guests. Now we serve 3 different customer profiles with our service.

What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?

The single most important factor when we chose a franchisee is finding someone that believes enough in our business model that they will follow the system without fail. People that have their mind set on "creating" a meal delivery business model sometimes get caught up in trying to re-invent the wheel. We are not looking for franchisees that want to change the model, we are looking for franchisees that are willing to stick to the plan and work the model. People with a military background are great candidates because they have been trained to work hard within structure and boundaries to accomplish a mission for a larger purposed. The most important factor is finding people with that kind of loyalty to our GoWaiter model and the work ethic to get the do what it takes.

Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?

First of all, there is no other franchise in the country doing what we do, the way we do it. This model has been a good idea for a long time, but only since we started our franchise system and perfected the business model in 2009, has it been a good business model. We are the leader in our industry and we have all the training and resources necessary to provide our franchisees with everything it takes to be successful in this business. If someone did try to open a restaurant delivery service on their own, they would be faced with barriers to entry that 95% of the start-ups in our space fail at. Our concept sounds easy from a customer standpoint, but the liability and logistics involved in the business model can only really be handled by an experienced franchise system like ours. Our call center, online order entry software, dispatch software, tried and true marketing resources and 30 employee strong support staff set us far and above the competition or any other option available.

What makes your industry attractive?

The first thing that makes our industry attractive is that everyone (yes everyone) can imagine using our service. People can genuinely see themselves ordering food from their favorite restaurant and having it delivered to their home, office or hotel. They can envision our business model working in their community.  The more of their friends that they ask about this business, the more excited they get about starting one.   Another benefit that makes our industry attractive is that just about everyone has experience picking up their own takeout food from a restaurant and taking it home or to their office to eat. As my VP of Operations likes to say, "It's not rocket science!"  One of the biggest financial benefits is that it's a "low overhead" business with very little inventory. Most of the investment is in marketing to induce new customers and ongoing revenue.  

What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?

  • Ability to work a structured model, step by step.  
  • Ability to work with restaurants as an accountable partner to service customers.
  • Customer Service and people pleasing attitude.
  • A "Don't stop" frame of mind when it comes to distributing marketing.
  • Loyalty to our brand.
  • Financial stability.
  • A genuine good person that is excited to bring a unique service to their community.

What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?

  • Initial in-depth class room training, training manuals & materials
  • Operational Training at a fast paced successful store
  • Sales and marketing training in the field with a professional
  • Marketing Plan designed for the specific market based on factors & demographics
  • Pre-opening week and opening week on-site launch support 
  • Restaurant negotiations at a local and national level
  • Internet phone system that ties the local office to ours
  • Marketing materials, templates, resources, programs, vendors & schedules
  • Costs savings on graphic design, materials, equipment, credit card processing, etc.
  • Accounting and P & L training and set up
  • Restaurant payables we pay the restaurants for our franchisees
  • Call center services  we take phone orders for our franchisees
  • Software online web ordering entry portal and back-end delivery management
  • Technical support
  • Sales support
  • National marketing fund
  • Continued "Best Practices" updates and ongoing training
  • Brand and logo protection

How do territories work for your franchisees?

Franchisees are given an exclusive territory that has been created based on specific logistical and demographic factors. Territories are defined by zip code and franchisees have the exclusive right to market and deliver to all and any deliverable addresses in their territory. We do offer development agreements for franchisees to secure additional future territories as well and are always happy to help franchisees expand when the time is right. Any restaurant partner that is within a reasonable distance from the territory can be used by that franchisee's service and their customers.  

Why has your franchise model been successful?

I have to give credit where it's due.  I was lucky enough to work with a company called Endurance Business Media in 2009 when I first started the franchise.  They own Homes & Land Magazine and their CEO saw some of my marketing material and contacted me to see if I was interested in becoming a franchise system. Having help from a seasoned executive team that has operated a franchise system for over 30 years and has over 275 locations was invaluable. I learned how to be a franchisor from the best. I will have to also give some credit to consumer eating trends.  Takeout and delivery has been the fastest growing segment of the restaurant industry for years and it's not slowing down anytime soon. People are working harder than ever and cooking less than ever. Our concept is just a natural fit in today's society.  Besides those two factors, I'd have to say that my well-qualified hard working franchisees are the real reason that our sales continue to hit records almost each and every month.  

Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?

Just as we are now, the industry leader opening up new locations each and every month, helping people enjoy life just a little more because they are able to get the food they want delivered right to them, instead of taking valuable time out of their life to do it themselves. In five years the restaurant industry will have to take notice and recognize GoWaiter.com as a portal that delivers significant incremental revenue. In 10 years I see GoWaiter as a branded household name. "I feel like GoWaiter tonight" will mean I'm ready to relax and I deserve my favorite food delivered. 

What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?

ustomers in your territory and then be determined to deliver on time and provide outstanding service.Stick to the model, it works!  Anyone that has ever "worked" our model has been successful. But it only works if you are prepared to follow the plan and work hard. You must be relentless in your efforts to market your service to the prospective customers in your territory and then be determined to deliver on time and provide outstanding service.

    

What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?

It's okay to be nervous about your investment.  In fact, we find that franchisees that are nervous about losing their money, will work very hard and do what ever it takes to make sure they have a return on their investment. The great news is that our overhead is very low, the supplies you need to get started are not much and the marketing that you are required to invest in will bring in sales.  

Can you explain your financial assistance (if applicable)?

At this time we do not provide financial assistance because considering the low level, initial investment and the time frame our franchisees have experienced to break even, we have not needed to provide financial assistance.

On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?

10 weeks. In this time frame we sign up the restaurants, provide classroom and operational training, set up your local web ordering site, set up the initial marketing blitz and public relations, order equipment, set up your office and everything else needed to give you a fantastic start to your business.

What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?

I was a successful restaurant and catering manager before owning my own catering company where I used my knowledge of food service, customer service and catering delivery. After selling my first catering business, I helped build a DotCom company as their CEO and sold it as well.  These two industry segments have prepared me to build the nations most successful internet based restaurant delivery service.

Do you have any franchisee testimonials or success stories that you would like to share?

I have several. More than I can recall. I have videos people can watch on the franchise section of our web page, but I suggest prospects call our franchisees and ask them. We are very proud of our record and how our franchisees have worked to earn their success.

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Please Note:

GoWaiter.com is currently accepting inquiries from the following states: Wyoming, West Virginia, Washington, Vermont, Virginia, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Oklahoma, Ohio, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Nebraska, North Carolina, Montana, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Georgia, Florida, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Colorado, Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Alaska.

Interested parties should have at least $50,000 in liquid capital to invest.

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