The strength of Canada’s homegrown franchise industry could hardly be better demonstrated than the three systems featured here. They started small and have grown and prospered thanks to entrepreneurial hard work by their founders and the delivery of success to their franchisees.
The digital frontier is wide open. And it’s a space that GetintheLoop sees as a huge opportunity. In short, says Matty Crowell, CEO and Founder of GetintheLoop, the company creates an online platform for local businesses so they can find and retain customers across every sector.
GetintheLoop started in 2013 and began franchising in 2018. There are now 27 franchises in the system, says Crowell, and a total of 55 have been sold. The system has its eye on a coast-to-coast presence, and Crowell says, “We definitely have big plans.” He has franchises throughout Western Canada in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Regina. He also has franchises in Toronto and Thornhill, Ontario.
The system began as GolfLoop, a service that sent out texts advising subscribers about offers at certain golf courses. The service generated considerable interest from other kinds of business and thus, GetintheLoop was born. Now, it provides a platform supporting offers and incentives from businesses across the spectrum from restaurants and bars to home renovations and, yes, golf courses. The businesses themselves upload their offers to the platform, says Crowell, and there’s an app for the customer can use to connect to the business and the deal.
GetintheLoop’s target client is any local business, Crowell continues, and his target franchisee is someone who can relate to a small business. But that’s not all, he goes on to say. “You have to be a super hard worker,” Crowell cautions. “You have to understand business and your own community.” Investors in his system range from those with a business background to a pair of firefighters. And contrary to popular thinking about the digital world, not all of GetintheLoop’s franchisees are millennials: the average age of a GetintheLoop franchisee is in the forties.
The cost of a franchise varies. A small market of under 25,000 people is $15,000, and for a territory in a large market it’s $35,000. And there’s no overhead beyond the smart phone from which franchisees run their business. As for training, there’s a GetintheLoop “university” and a three-day crash course at head office in Kelowna, British Columbia as well as visiting training teams.
One benefit of a GetintheLoop franchise is the scope of the digital industry, says Crowell; a second is that, “You’re not going to find a company that’s going to care more.”
Angel Kuang was pursuing a graduate degree in Economics when she took time off to line up a job for when she’d finished her studies. She had her eye on working in government, but cheerfully admits her heart wasn’t in the 9 to 5 routine.
To support herself while she looked for a career opening, Kuang began tutoring children. And then she saw an opportunity. In 2003, she began Inspiration Learning Center, a professional tutoring franchise based in Scarborough, Ontario.
Kuang, Founder and Owner of the company came to Canada in 2001. She says her first location in Scarborough, Ontario thrived from the start so she opened a second Inspiration Learning Center in Mississauga, Ontario in 2005. Kuang started to plan her franchising strategy in 2006 and three years later started selling franchises in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, and there are now 14 of them. Her expansion plans include selling more franchises in Southern Ontario and she is also considering the Vancouver market.
The cost of a franchise is $150,000. Training takes two weeks at head office in Markham, Ontario, and there’s a further week’s instruction on-site at the franchisee’s new center. Furthermore, three days after the franchise gets its private high school license, a training team comes to the location to provide assistance. She says about 70 per cent of her franchisees are women, and “100 per cent of them are first generation.”
Certified teachers at Inspiration Learning Center don’t need a provincial licence, Kuang explains, but they do need a relevant degree. As for her franchisees, she looks for a positive attitude, an open mind, a willingness to follow rules, and an understanding that they have to combine education and business.
Inspiration Learning Center provides tutoring and private schooling for children from junior kindergarten to Grade 12 in such subjects as English, French, science, and math. Inspiration also tutors a small number of adults in English, accounting, and computer literacy. About 90 per cent of Inspiration’s tutoring is done at a franchise location.
Inspiration Learning Center operates on the belief that education needs to be tailored to the individual. With this belief, along with using a combination of Eastern and Western teaching styles, an approach developed by Kuang herself, Inspiration Learning Center sees 100 per cent of their students admitted to higher education.
The benefits of investing with Kuang are numerous. She says franchisees learn from other parents, enjoy a rewarding occupation, change children’s lives for the better, and will never be bored by a 9 to 5 routine.
Investing in an Inspiration Learning Center franchise also provides franchisees with a unique model for success, which includes four pillars of income: tutoring, high school credit programs, educational consulting, and retail. With the global tutoring industry predicted to be worth $196 billion by 2020, Inspiration Learning Center will give franchisees an opportunity to invest in this growth within Canada.
Priya Gogia has enjoyed considerable franchise sector success. It was while she was training franchisees in a Mexican food system that Gogia says the light went on.
“After being in the food service industry for over 20 years, I wanted to create a concept that was healthy,” she says. “And I wanted to do that in the Indian food category. Our biggest challenge was to create Indian food recipes that anyone (from any cultural background) could prepare. And after two years of hard work and testing, we came up with recipes and procedures that allowed our employees to make them with minimal training.”
And so in 2015, Gogia, CEO and Founder of Twisted Indian Wraps, launched her first store in Barrie, Ontario. A second store, also in Barrie, opened in 2018. Her third location – and her first franchised store – opened in Orillia in May this year. “We opened the first store with franchising in mind,” Gogia explains.
Gogia wants to have 20 turnkey franchises opened by 2020, and has her eye on locations in downtown Toronto, Southern Ontario, and Ottawa. The system has also attracted attention from Western and Eastern Canada. A typical location is 900 to 1,100 square feet and is usually a storefront, although Gogia says she’s open to being in select malls. The cost of a franchise is $300,000 (including a franchise fee), and training lasts three weeks at a corporate store in Barrie. Part of the training includes franchisees spending a week running a corporate store as though it was their own.
So far, says Gogia, from head office in Barrie, more men than women have expressed an interest in an investment with Twisted Indian Wraps, but she’s also seeing lots of married couples who are considering it as an investment or as a career-changing opportunity. Her system doesn’t require food service experience, but Gogia says she wants to see a “very positive attitude”, a service orientation, and passion for food.
Her menu offers typical Indian cuisine with vegan and gluten-free options. The most popular item on the menus is a butter chicken wrap that is, like all Twisted Indian Wraps’ selections, prepared on-site. Its price points are comparable to that of a quick service restaurant. About 60 per cent of her customers are women, and all customers, men and women, are ages 18 to 55.
As for the benefits of investing with her, Gogia says her system’s support and training are unparalled: “When we say turnkey, we mean turnkey. We look after everything from site selection and construction and most importantly, ongoing operation guidance and support to our franchisees.”
By David Chilton Saggers