Franchisee Spotlight: Scooter's coffee Q&A
The “Franchise Spotlight Q & A” series continues with our special guest, Travis Rhoades. Rhoades owns six Scooter’s Coffee locations around Sioux Falls, S.D., with his wife, Kristen. Rhoades is committed to bringing the Scooter’s brand to his community and feels passionately that hiring people-oriented staff has been the key to his success.
What’s your background? What did you do before teaming up with Scooter’s Coffee?
I have an advertising and marketing background, and have owned a web design and development company since 2012. I still run that business today, in addition to my six Scooter’s locations. It’s hard work, but definitely worth it.
What made you decide to invest in Scooter’s?
I initially discovered that Scooter’s was coming to my area through my local chamber of commerce. I was a member of the chamber because of my web development business and saw the ad in one of their email blasts. I was familiar with the Scooter’s brand because I grew up right outside of Omaha, where they are headquartered. I liked the brand stability and loved the product, so I filled out an interest form. Literally, within 15 minutes they called me back, and we had a very productive conversation. They helped us navigate through everything, and 2 months later we signed a 5-store deal; we have bought another store since then and are very happy with how things have gone. We love the coffee and the industry. The product we sell actually makes people’s moods improve and can be a day-changer; not many businesses can say that.
You signed a multi-unit agreement right off the bat. Did you like that?
I’m very happy with the investment. By buying into multiple locations, Scooter’s becomes a business and not just a job, and a very scalable business at that. By owning multiple locations, I am able to reach more people and have a larger impact in our community. It’s also nice from a logistical standpoint; the locations can borrow from each other if they run out of supplies, or are short-handed on employees.
Scooter’s is known for having a family feel. Is that something you have experienced?
I have noticed that franchisees are treated like family at Scooter’s. It’s really easy to get a hold of someone from corporate if you need help. I don’t have a retail or food background, so I had to lean on corporate to help navigate through things like signing a lease, placing initial orders and hiring a manager. I know if someone from corporate is able to, they will pick up the phone and help me. I don’t think that’s as common as maybe it should be.
They also have had some good longevity in their corporate positions; I’ve been able to work with the same people and build relationships for years. They know my kids and spouse, and I know theirs. They’ve been able to keep that personal touch even with their notable growth in recent years. They have that kind of relationship with almost all their franchisees; It’s not just unique to me.
Who has helped you reach success?
My wife, Kristen, and I are business partners in this deal. She really has helped me realize my dream and does a great job of staying on top of day-to-day tasks. As far as mentors, Todd Graeve, who is now the CEO, was a great help. I bet I called him a couple times a week early on just to get advice. I was also glad that I was able to talk with fellow franchisees as well. Usually what’s happened in your store, good or bad, has happened in other stores, too – it’s great to talk with other franchisees and ask how they’ve tackled similar problems and learn more about how they’ve attained success.
What are some personality traits that are needed to be a successful franchisee?
A successful franchisee needs to enjoy being around people, be cheerful and have an optimistic outlook on life. If you’re not people-oriented, it’s important to recognize that and put people in front of you to handle that part of the business. You have to believe in making a difference in other people’s day. Personal relationships impact the business, so get to know the regulars and go the extra mile at every opportunity. Look on the bright side of things and keep working hard, and you’ll likely see success.
What is the biggest mistake a new franchisee can make when starting out?
The biggest mistake would be rushing through the hiring process. You have to hire the right people. You can’t train people to be happy and smiley. Even if they can make a good drink, they may not have the right personality for your store. If you need someone who can make amazing drinks quickly, that’s all well and good, but pay attention to their personality. If someone has the skills but not the charm, maybe have them work in an area that doesn’t interact with the customers as much and then put the most cheerful workers where they will impact the customers the most. Above all, make sure you hire a competent, kind and hard-working manager.
What are your goals for the future?
We intend to open more stores, but right now we don’t have an exact number in mind. We don’t want to open another store just because we can. Our goal is to make smart decisions and be strategic and deliberate about where to expand, if at all. If we branch into a new market, we need to figure out the logistics for that too.
And of course, we also want to grow our current stores. We’re constantly working to make we give them the attention they need so they don’t become stagnant.
Interested in following in Travis’ footsteps and taking control of your entrepreneurial future with Scooter’s Coffee? Visit https://ownascooters.com/ to get started today!