Real Answers from a Real Entrepreneur

By Nabiha Balala

Franchisor Q&A

Sammy Aldeeb is the CEO and founder of Urban Bricks Pizza Company. The emerging franchise, (and Naranga customer), has four locations, with 15 in development, including Texas, Miami and Toronto. As this brand continues to grow domestically and internationally, Aldeeb shares his first-hand insights regarding challenges, concerns, improved efficiencies, technology, sales and more within the franchise industry.

Q: Describe some of the challenges your franchise faces on a daily basis.
A: Since working in the franchising industry, the main challenges I have faced are maintaining brand consistency across multi-locations and maintaining constant communication between the corporate team and local operators. Many of our customers choose to dine at our franchise because they feel comfortable and know exactly what they are going to get out of their experience, no matter what location they choose. With brands like ours that are growing rapidly, it is important to maintain communication and ensure that each customer is receiving the best and most consistent customer service possible.

Q: How has your team attempted to improve business processes and manage franchise operations in past?
A: As we grew, we knew that there had to be a better way to manage operations without having to physically visit each local restaurant. Currently, we communicate through a lot of phone calls, emails and personal visits. But with our growth plans, we have been looking at various technologies to help us communicate with franchisees and make the growth manageable. Our piecemeal solutions work for now, but don’t allow up to truly build a system in the best way possible.

Q: As your numbers increase, what is your biggest concern as you grow?
A: Brand consistency.

Q: Do you feel that technology is important in growing your franchise?
A: Our customers and franchisees are very savvy and our brand particularly attracts younger investors and franchises. It is imperative to the franchisees that we are easily accessible and that we have a technology solution that is easy-to-use and allows us to support them no matter if we are across the street or across the country.

We feel that it is very important to engage in technology now, versus waiting for Urban Bricks to grow larger and then have to introduce a solution at that point in time. Starting now allows our franchisees to have a platform to connect with corporate from their laptop, phone or tablet.

Q: What do you look for in a technology provider?
A: When looking for a technology provider, we need a partner that is focused on customer service, has experience working with multi-unit locations and is flexible to make changes that are specific to our organization.

Our franchisees are connected to their cell phones at all times and it’s important that solutions we use are mobile-friendly and easy to access via smartphone.

Q: How do you manage franchisees in the various markets?
A: Ongoing communication is the only way to make managing multiple locations work. We have an obligation to check in with our franchisees on a regular basis and see how they are doing financially and share best practices. Since we can’t go into locations physically each day, it’s important to stay connected, whether that is through a third-party solution or other alternatives.

Q: Has your team used technology to grow franchise sales? If so, what have you used in the past?
A: At Urban Bricks, franchisees love the idea and product, so we have been lucky to receive a lot of organic leads and referrals.  We have also had success at franchise expos. With that said, as we continue to grow, we are open to exploring other ways to nurture leads and ensure they understand the mission and support they could receive at our franchise.

Q: What do you look for when partnering with a third party?
A: When we partner with a third-party, we truly look for partners that are invested in our business and are interested in our growth as much as we are. Every dollar we spend all supports the franchisees and their locations, so it is important to find a trusted partner that is looking out for our best interest.

Sammy Aldeeb is a classic die-hard entrepreneur. He is always looking for a challenge, isn’t averse to taking risks and believes that if you aren’t growing, you’re stagnating. Previous to founding Dough Nation Headquarters, LLC, Sammy operated several extremely successful businesses, opening his first franchise at 22 years of age.

The Urban Bricks Pizza Co. concept was a considerable time in the making. Sammy researched other restaurant franchises for over a year and was not happy with what he found, so he decided to create his own concept. Bingo! Urban Bricks Pizza Co. was born. 

When looking to create your own success story, you need to stand by what you are passionate for and educate yourself with answers to the tough questions before making a commitment. Ultimately, hard work, research and most of all, passion, will guide your business towards growth.

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Tags: Franchise Operations Management