Stretch Zone Leans On Validation Calls to Draw New Franchisees
As one of the early stretching franchises, Stretch Zone has continued to build sales during its first years, with the system hitting $82.5 million in 2022. The brand uses a proven track record to its advantage when it comes to selling franchises.
“A franchisee, just like any investor, is looking to materialize their investment,” said Tony Zaccario, president and CEO. “They want to do something that they’re passionate about.”
Zaccario has been a part of Stretch Zone since 2016 and helped created the franchise marketing materials. When the brand started franchising that year, it had 12 corporate locations. In 2023, Stretch Zone sits at 310 locations without any closing since franchising began, he said.
What helps practitioners and franchisees see stability is the quick opening turnaround and training program. On average, locations open 90 to 120 days after the franchise agreement is signed, and practitioners start and finish training within two weeks, Zaccario said. Those fast turnarounds help franchisees ramp up more quickly as they build a customer base.
Stretch Zone locations don’t need a lot of space; the biggest ones run roughly 1,200 square feet, and the equipment for a space isn’t as expensive as a full kitchen that restaurants require, Zaccario said. That simplicity is what gets the attention of prospective franchisees.
“I think your track record speaks a lot for you as a brand,” said Zaccario. “During the sales process, don’t just take our word for it.”
To help with research during the due diligence phase, all prospective owners are encouraged to conduct validation calls with operators already in the system. Those existing franchisees get the chance to talk about their experiences as a business owner and working with the support center.
There isn’t just one call to a person on a list, but as many as they want. It also serves as a way to screen for less-than-serious prospects if they choose not to make the calls. Someone committed to making those calls is who Stretch Zone is looking for as a franchisee.
“I think when you have that peer-to-peer validation,” said Zaccario, “that instills a lot of confidence in a prospective investor and franchisee.”