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Al Hauck stands in his new Buffalo Wings & Rings restaurant that he and his wife own in West Fargo, N.D. The Haucks also own the Buffalo Wings & Rings franchises in Minot and Bismarck. (David Samson/Forum Communications)

The secret ingredients of successful franchising

WEST FARGO, N.D. – Recently, I had the pleasure of opening a third Buffalo Wings & Rings restaurant in my home state of North Dakota. There’s no other feeling like the one you get on that first day of being open for business. 

As happened with the earlier openings of our restaurants in Minot and Bismarck, I got to feel the pride of being not only a business owner but also a husband, father and grandfather, because – for us – franchise ownership has always been a family affair.

Franchising can be a great path for those looking to realize their business ownership dream. There is incredible value in going into business, as the franchise industry likes to say, for yourself but not by yourself. That’s been my experience since I decided to sign on to become a Buffalo Wings & Rings franchisee. 

But for those who may be considering franchising as a next chapter, I wanted to provide some advice based on my decade of experience as a franchisee.

In the restaurant industry, any help that you can get to support and guide you through opening a new business is helpful. Trying to do it on your own while creating a menu, processes and designs, engineering the kitchen, making sure you’re buttoned up for inspections and doing everything else that goes into running a restaurant is a lot – especially if you’re new to the industry. 

So, having a franchise team to help guide you through all that helps you become much more successful than you likely would on your own. 

Determine what’s important to you before investing

When we were considering becoming franchisees, my wife and I had children and really wanted something we could build with and for them (and later on, our grandchildren). 

My family is involved in the business, so I get to see them every day. Getting to work with our kids and spend so much time with our family means we are just so blessed. So, that checked a box for us. 

The product was important too. With Buffalo Wings & Rings, it’s fresh, never-frozen food, and we really enjoyed the menu and product. 

It was also important to us to have a franchise partner who truly cared about us and wanted us to succeed.

Do your homework and due diligence

Once you have determined those must-haves in a franchise partner, it’s important to spend time researching the brand and gaining full insight into all of its elements. 

For example, it’s vital to take a look at the success and failure rate of the stores that a certain brand is opening. It’s also important to know the type of support that the company offers to its franchisees.

To learn more about these key issues, be sure to talk with the company’s existing franchisees. Find out from the men and women who own locations about the support they got when they went into the investment, when they built out and once the business opened, as well as how it has been since then. 

All of this research will help you feel much more confident in your decision and your future success.

Anticipate the challenges that you’ll face

While you’ll get support through the nature of the franchise model, no business is going to be a “set it and forget it” deal. And if you decide to become a restaurant franchisee, then hiring staff is probably one of the hardest things you’ll do. 

You need to find the right staff. If you don’t have a good staff or good people, it will make your life miserable. I recommend hiring people who are smarter than you are. We have tried to do that as much as we can. Hire smart people who care and who truly look at their work as being more than just a job. 

Get involved In the community

If you do decide to move forward, it’s extremely important to invest in your community. We have always worked closely with the Chamber of Commerce, for example. 

Getting help with the chamber is a great idea. Chamber leaders and members are ambassadors in the community. I try to be a member of every chamber that I can. It’s a great way to learn how to get involved in your community. 

We’re family friendly, so we want to find ways to get involved with families, kids and family-friendly groups. Without the community’s support, running a business is going to be difficult.

Al Hauck


BWR-Bismarck, Inc.

(701) 222-4297