Titus Center Event Emphasizes Persistence

October 2017

The Founder tells the story of Ray Kroc, a seemingly average guy whose vision established the McDonald’s franchise. In the film, Kroc describes himself as “an over the hill salesman,” just an average guy.

Persistence.

That one word was at the essence of the story behind The Founder, a feature film starring Michael Keaton that was screened by the Titus Center for Franchising on campus this week. Nearly 200 students came to watch the film and learn a little about franchising from Dr. John Hayes, director of the Center, and his expert franchise panel.

The Founder tells the story of Ray Kroc, a seemingly average guy whose vision established the McDonald’s franchise. In the film, Kroc describes himself as “an over the hill salesman,” just an average guy.

“Ray Kroc had more drive, determination and persistence than the average person,” Hayes said in recapping the story. ”Nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent won’t, genius won’t, education won’t.”

Hayes put the question to the panel about whether persistence was the key to a successful franchise.

“Within the context of the franchise agreement, persistence was key,” said Rob Morris, owner/operator of two Chick-fil-A locations in West Palm Beach. Morris, who describes himself as a Chick-fil-A lifer starting out in west Texas in his early 20s. He and his wife, who worked with him “chased every sale” in the mall where they are located, generating annual sales of $400,000 that is much less than today. He acknowledged that as a franchisee his perspective is different from a franchisor, like Kroc.

David Wild, director of franchising at Sloan's Franchise, LLC, advised that knowing when to be persistent and when to change the system incorporating ideas from franchisees is extremely important. Sloan’s is an ice cream and candy shop franchise.
“You also need a lot of luck,” Wild said.

Timing means a great deal in the franchise world, according to panelist Ray Titus, CEO at United Franchise Group. Titus, who grew up in the franchise business started by his father and developed his own franchise at age 23, shared that he had sold some franchises because the time was not right or they were just bad ideas.

“Persistence and hard work are important but knowing when to quit is important, too,” Titus said. UFG presently consists of nine brands with more than 200 employees and established offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

He added that a lot of the messages in the movie hit home to him, but the film left out important parts. The Ronald McDonald House, one of the biggest charities created, wasn’t even mentioned, he said.

The film did showcase the operating system created by the McDonald brothers, how they developed it and how it was replicated.

In 2016, McDonald’s sales amounted to $36 billion, according to Hayes. McDonald’s serves 69 million customers every day in more than 120 countries and territories. With 40,000 outlets, McDonald’s is the largest of any franchise. Today it’s estimated that one in eight employees has worked at McDonald’s the overnight sensation that was 30 years in the making.


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