Forktales Ep 13 / Tom DuFore / President of Big Sky Franchise Group, and Franchise Guru

Tom brings a wealth of knowledge around the franchise industry and how restaurant franchises can win the post pandemic world. In his career, he’s helped many brands scale. He’s also seen where brands have gone wrong. In this episode he shares that knowledge in full detail.

  • How do you get moms and pops prepared to deal with franchisees?
    • Describes it likes having kids, no one is ever really ready
    • There are things you can do or have in place that make the process easier and make you more successful
    • You have to have a mindset that’s prepared to convert to a franchisor mindset
    • You aren’t in the restaurant business anymore at this point
    • Be willing to learn and do the extras to make it happen
    • When you get into franchising, you have to get back into the startup mindset
    • It’s rewarding if you’re willing to out in the time and effort to get to that point
  • How do you prepare clients to “parent” the franchisees?
    • You have three jobs when you franchise your business
      • Sell
      • Train
      • Support
  • Franchise companies that don’t do well fail at one or more of the above 3 (sell, train, support)
  • Figure out which area/s you’re the strangest at and place a team around you that can fill in the gaps
  • If you can have consistent support with the franchisees, that really makes a difference
  • Clients will sometimes bring in mystery shoppers, not to say “I got ya” but to say “Where are you falling short?”
  • Biggest challenges for franchisees during and as we come out of the pandemic
    • Franchisees that were doing well, were hit financially however they figured out a way to implement ideas from corporate, sorted out takeout program
    • Ones that didn’t figure it out decided to temporarily or permanently close
    • Tom spoke with a client and they said the one thing that saved them during the pandemic was their email list. They were able to do outreach to their customers because of that. 
  • What is the perspective on full service? Will it continue to be viable?
    • Doesn’t foresee full service not existing. There will always be a place fo full service
    • The Experience Economy book


  • How do you want your customer to feel when they leave? Whatever that feeling is, work backwards from there. How do you get to that feeling that you want them to have?Begin with the end in mind
  • What elements do potential fransors need to have in place in order to succeed in today’s reality and tomorrow’s reality?
    • Want to make sure you have a profitable business
    • Make sure there’s at least a national customer base for your product or service and that it’s not niche
    • Can you train someone to do what you do in a reasonable time period? Anywhere from a week to 8 weeks?
  • Profitability
    • Likes to see a 20% return on cash investment
    • Owner/Op – they are able to earn a managers salary
    • ROI comes in 2 years
  • @bigskyfranchise
  • Interested in learning more? Contact them for a free consult, no cost and no obligation
  • Multiply Your Success podcast


  • “As an American I have a duty to help as many people become an entrepreneur that have a dream or a vision of becoming that” – Tom
  • “The franchise industry is not the restaurant industry, it is a different business model” – Joseph
  • “Franchising is like having a virtual office” -Tom

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