Mark Anderson is CEO and founder of Complete Express Foods, a company that owns and operates 8 brand concepts including Brewster’s Chicken.
1. Tell us about the Brewster's Chicken concept.
Brewster’s Chicken is “America’s Chicken Sandwich”! Our customers enjoy our delicious and juicy chicken sandwich, tenders, and nuggets made from fresh and 100% chicken breast meat. Our menu includes Boneless and jumbo Bone-in wings that we toss with over 20 different premium sauces and dry rubs; which are prepared in less than 5 minutes. Why would any brand only offer fries? We offer premium fries, sweet potato fries, and beer battered onion rings - not to mention our premium sides that include: Cheese Planks, Side Salad, and our mozzarella and tomato salad that is drizzled with balsamic glaze. Our franchisees have the opportunity to offer bottled beer at our locations. All locations have televisions that are focused on sports.
2. How and when did you become involved with Brewster's Chicken?
I’m the founder and CEO of Complete Express Foods and all the brands under our umbrella.
3 . What was your background prior to joining Brewster's Chicken?
Prior to Complete Express Foods and Brewster’s Chicken for the last 15+ years I have been designing independent brands; globally, that compete and win against the local and national franchise brands. Being a restaurant and retail industry consultant helped prepare me to enter the Franchisor world.
4. What are some of the advantages in being a Brewster's Chicken franchisee?
The main advantage for joining any of our brands under the Complete Express Foods banner is the way we do our fees. We CAP our fees so that the franchisee pays either 5% of gross sales or a flat amount, whichever is LESS. I believe that all the hard work that the franchisee and owner have put into their store entitles them to the additional funds - rather than paying more fees to the us, the franchisor. This puts the passion into the store to increase sales and get above that monthly 5% threshold; and it also shows the franchisee that when the store is just beginning and sales are slowing moving upward that we are financially tied to the success of the location.
Other advantages are our lower start-up costs by focusing on entering 2nd generation locations, using off the shelf POS that we customize, enabling the franchisee to purchase some used equipment to offset opening costs, and having a graphic designer on our staff.
5. Who is your ideal franchisee?
Our ideal franchisee is an Area Developer with another brand with entrepreneurial spirt and a passion for customer satisfaction that wants another brand to build their portfolio. They understand the industry but want to get in at the ground level of a brand. I’m offering huge territories that will enable them to control an expansive growth strategy without fear of limitations; which they may have with their existing brand.
6. Tell us a little about the Fast Food Market?
Our market consists of the biggest and best performing brand in the industry with main subgroups trying to jump on board by randomly offering a chicken sandwich and hoping their customers won’t flock to their competitor. I firmly believe that our competitor does many things right but that Brewster’s Chicken can start taking market share away by the niches that we offer. The right franchisee will see the challenge and want to take on the opportunity with the passion and desire for becoming the best in the industry.
7. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
The best lesson I have learned so far is that our concept and food are great. When you start a brand, you believe in it, but it’s not until you hear from customers or that 1st franchisee signs and says how much they and their family loves the food that you truly feel vindicated in your belief. The challenge is getting those looking for a brand to commit to a start-up, even when they love the brand.
8. Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
I have many people that I look to for inspiration and they start with my Wife, Children, Mother, Father, Brother, Mother-in-law, etc… I could continue but each has shown me a glimpse of something to admire. Everyone can relate to watching their child fall, get back up, take a step forward to only go backwards twice and watch the determination, passion, desire, and fortitude to succeed at even small tasks.
Then there are those in the world that didn’t allow others voices to dictate their actions or successes; such as Elon Musk, Martin Luther King, Richard Branson, Nikola Tesla, Oprah Winfrey, and the Dalai Lama to name a few.
9. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
My advice to someone looking for a franchise is to find the right Franchisor. Ensure you have direct access to the C-suite, not just the sales team with one goal. Plus, go with a Franchisor that will enable you to find the best locations and then place the right concept into that location; not the other way around. Find a company that can offer numerous brands under their umbrella and wants you to be successful on all levels.
10. In your opinion, why do you think that Brewster's Chicken would be a great opportunity for someone?
Brewster’s Chicken is designed to satisfy the needs that our customers desire by offering our delicious “America’s Chicken Sandwich”, 20+ flavors of Wings, offering better sides that include sweet potato fries and onion rings, being open on Sunday, and offering beer. If you believe in our Three Q’s – Quality, Quantity, and Quick-service; then this brand is for you !