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Launching an Online Franchise: Behind the Scenes

Launching an online franchise might be less stressful than launching a brick and mortar franchise, but it’s definitely not just a simple matter of flipping a switch and going live. Before launching, OrderUp franchisees work hard to sign up the best restaurants in their hometowns and plan for a huge marketing push at launch.

We recently caught up with one of our newest franchisees, Andrew Kootman of San Diego. OrderUp San Diego launched in early February (we’re pumped!). We talked to Andrew about his journey to becoming an OrderUp franchisee, and the hard work he put in to prepare for takeoff.

 

 

What were you doing before OrderUp?

Before OrderUp, I was working at an accounting firm as a CPA on the accounting and financial side.

How did you find out about OrderUp?

I was talking to a buddy who went to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and we were talking about an idea for a new business that was related to bars and restaurants, but more bar-type places. We were both talking about a similar service we knew about. I went to University of Colorado, Boulder, and I was talking about Hungrybuffs, and he was talking about SBmenus. We realized that both of these sites work with OrderUp. I thought it would be a little bit easier to work with OrderUp than to start my own service, since it was already set up. And that’s how I got into franchising.

What is it like transitioning from working as an accountant to being an OrderUp franchisee?

To be honest, I told myself I was going to do the whole CPA thing for about 5 years. I knew having that background would lead to success with starting my own company. I worked with small business owners on a daily basis, so that kind of helped with the transition. It was incredibly easy.

Can you tell me more about your decision to become a franchisee?

I wouldn’t say they were all laid out perfectly for me, but the options I was giving myself were working in private industry as a comptroller or CFO, or starting my own business. And I felt OrderUp was pretty much just the perfect opportunity. And I didn’t want to sit behind a desk every day all day.

Your franchise hasn’t launched yet. Tell me about what you’ve been doing to get ready.

A typical day right now, now that I kind of have my target restaurants, it’s mostly focused on the marketing aspect. It’s hiring San Diego State students, ordering marketing materials, putting co-branded banners up in restaurants, as well as trying to get the word out in the local community. Besides the university, I have meetings with local radio stations and community leaders.

What was getting your target restaurants like?

I had a list printed out that I sorted by location, then by street. I would have all the streets lined out in order from smallest to largest address, and I would literally just go from restaurant to restaurant and give my sales pitch.

The beginning was rough. The first day, I actually signed up two restaurants, but I quickly realized, those aren’t the restaurants that will make or break the company. But it was a nice feeling to get those two restaurants. It was a grind, you get a lot of rejections, and you get a lot of people who do everything in their power to avoid you, they even pretend they’re not the owner.

How do you convince them?

You just keep going back, over and over again, though not every day. After some time, I would say we have this restaurant signed up, we have your local competitors, I’d bring some marketing materials. I learned a lot about what to say to restaurant owners as time went on and I was going back and getting key points across.

San Diego State is a little different. The university tries to keep students on campus, but a mile away, there’s a boulevard that has 100 restaurants. It’s a huge busy road, but students don’t go to those restaurants. What I would say to restaurant owners is that I’m a bridge between those restaurants and the college students, to help bring more business their way. I learned what it is that they’re looking for as restaurant owners, and it’s obvious: more business from the college students.

What have you learned from the process?

Patience, I would say, and I don’t want to say fearlessness, but just not being afraid of rejection and really going after what you want.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Just getting to talk to the right person, the person you need to talk to. They’ve all got people in place to screen salespeople and avoid us at all costs. Every time I’ve been able to get to the right person, I’ve been able to at least get them to see the value in what we do. The challenge is just getting to talk to them.

What have you enjoyed the most so far?

Just the personal interactions and the relationships you build with the owners. You’ve got people who are head over heels about us and love what we do.

What are you the most excited about for your launch?

Probably seeing the first sale, just that first order go through. Just the relief to know that the last two months of extremely hard work and long hours is finally under way and just to see it grow, even though I know it’s not going to happen overnight.

What kind of person makes a good OrderUp franchisee?

Probably just somebody who’s not afraid of rejection, somebody willing to put in the time and effort, somebody willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.

What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about becoming a franchisee?

Practice in the mirror, practice what you’re going to say to restaurant owners. Do your research in the market as much as possible. Really, really know the market ahead of time or otherwise you’ll be catching up.

Anything else to share with a prospective franchisee?

Just how much fun it is to integrate yourself in the local community, building these relationships.

Launching an online franchise might be less stressful than launching a brick and mortar franchise, but it’s definitely not just a simple matter of flipping a switch and going live. Before launching, OrderUp franchisees work hard to sign up the best restaurants in their hometowns and plan for a huge marketing push at launch.

We recently caught up with one of our newest franchisees, Andrew Kootman of San Diego. OrderUp San Diego launched in early February (we’re pumped!). We talked to Andrew about his journey to becoming an OrderUp franchisee, and the hard work he put in to prepare for takeoff.

What were you doing before OrderUp?

Before OrderUp, I was working at an accounting firm as a CPA on the accounting and financial side.

How did you find out about OrderUp?

I was talking to a buddy who went to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and we were talking about an idea for a new business that was related to bars and restaurants, but more bar-type places. We were both talking about a similar service we knew about. I went to University of Colorado, Boulder, and I was talking about Hungrybuffs, and he was talking about SBmenus. We realized that both of these sites work with OrderUp. I thought it would be a little bit easier to work with OrderUp than to start my own service, since it was already set up. And that’s how I got into franchising.

What is it like transitioning from working as an accountant to being an OrderUp franchisee?

To be honest, I told myself I was going to do the whole CPA thing for about 5 years. I knew having that background would lead to success with starting my own company. I worked with small business owners on a daily basis, so that kind of helped with the transition. It was incredibly easy.

Can you tell me more about your decision to become a franchisee?

I wouldn’t say they were all laid out perfectly for me, but the options I was giving myself were working in private industry as a comptroller or CFO, or starting my own business. And I felt OrderUp was pretty much just the perfect opportunity. And I didn’t want to sit behind a desk every day all day.

Your franchise hasn’t launched yet. Tell me about what you’ve been doing to get ready.

A typical day right now, now that I kind of have my target restaurants, it’s mostly focused on the marketing aspect. It’s hiring San Diego State students, ordering marketing materials, putting co-branded banners up in restaurants, as well as trying to get the word out in the local community. Besides the university, I have meetings with local radio stations and community leaders.

What was getting your target restaurants like?

I had a list printed out that I sorted by location, then by street. I would have all the streets lined out in order from smallest to largest address, and I would literally just go from restaurant to restaurant and give my sales pitch.

The beginning was rough. The first day, I actually signed up two restaurants, but I quickly realized, those aren’t the restaurants that will make or break the company. But it was a nice feeling to get those two restaurants. It was a grind, you get a lot of rejections, and you get a lot of people who do everything in their power to avoid you, they even pretend they’re not the owner.

How do you convince them?

You just keep going back, over and over again, though not every day. After some time, I would say we have this restaurant signed up, we have your local competitors, I’d bring some marketing materials. I learned a lot about what to say to restaurant owners as time went on and I was going back and getting key points across.

San Diego State is a little different. The university tries to keep students on campus, but a mile away, there’s a boulevard that has 100 restaurants. It’s a huge busy road, but students don’t go to those restaurants. What I would say to restaurant owners is that I’m a bridge between those restaurants and the college students, to help bring more business their way. I learned what it is that they’re looking for as restaurant owners, and it’s obvious: more business from the college students.

What have you learned from the process?

Patience, I would say, and I don’t want to say fearlessness, but just not being afraid of rejection and really going after what you want.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Just getting to talk to the right person, the person you need to talk to. They’ve all got people in place to screen salespeople and avoid us at all costs. Every time I’ve been able to get to the right person, I’ve been able to at least get them to see the value in what we do. The challenge is just getting to talk to them.

What have you enjoyed the most so far?

Just the personal interactions and the relationships you build with the owners. You’ve got people who are head over heels about us and love what we do.

What are you the most excited about for your launch?

Probably seeing the first sale, just that first order go through. Just the relief to know that the last two months of extremely hard work and long hours is finally under way and just to see it grow, even though I know it’s not going to happen overnight.

What kind of person makes a good OrderUp franchisee?

Probably just somebody who’s not afraid of rejection, somebody willing to put in the time and effort, somebody willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.

What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about becoming a franchisee?

Practice in the mirror, practice what you’re going to say to restaurant owners. Do your research in the market as much as possible. Really, really know the market ahead of time or otherwise you’ll be catching up.

Anything else to share with a prospective franchisee?

Just how much fun it is to integrate yourself in the local community, building these relationships.

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