Burgers and Bulldozers: New Franchise Roundup

Every year, hundreds of new franchise concepts are introduced, making it nearly impossible to keep track of the most innovative concepts. Here is an update on the performance of two new franchises after several months of franchising.

The Counter – No, this is not another fast-food hamburger restaurant. The Counter has as much in common with McDonald’s and Wendy’s as the World Cup does with your child’s weekend soccer game. This trendy update to the classic burger joint debuted in Santa Monica in 2003 and offers burgers with any combination of 10 cheeses, 26 toppings, and 17 sauces. Order the Danish Bleu Cheese Burger topped with dried cranberries and a ginger soy glaze.

Since 2003, The Counter has received press of which most businesses can only dream. After being named one of the top 20 burgers in the country by GQ, The Oprah Winfrey Show crowned it the “Best Burger in the United States.” (As a side note on the power of the O-nod, monthly sales increased from $44,000 to $245,000 after the endorsement.)

The Counter took the only logical next step and began selling franchises in early 2006 for a franchise fee of $40,000 and a 6 percent royalty.

How are things going? Already, the company has signed contracts with sixty restaurants in California alone. The expansion into Florida, New York, Arizona, and Nevada will follow, followed by the remainder of the nation. With projections of 400 to 600 units over the long term, The Counter is well on its way to franchising stardom.

EQUIPRO – If Santa Monica and The Counter appear to be too trendy and hip, this Wisconsin-based light equipment repair franchise will certainly not. In 2003, EQUIPRO, a subsidiary of Wacker Corporation, began offering repair services to the industry of light construction equipment. While the market for light equipment is growing by nearly ten percent annually, many large equipment dealers have reduced their service support. In response to these developments, EQUIPRO expanded its service center network.

EQUIPRO focuses on providing service for ICS, MI-T-M, MK Diamond, Sullair, and Wacker. The franchises are also full-service dealers for engines manufactured by Honda, Briggs & Stratton, Robin/Subaru, Wacker, and Kohler.

A Metro Service Specialist is hired for each franchise by the company (MSS). MSS is an employee of EQUIPRO, Inc. hired by the franchisee to develop service sales and serve as a liaison with EQUIPRO’s OEM partners in the local market. The MSS is responsible for effectively calling contractor offices and job sites, equipment and rental dealers, and national accounts to promote equipment repair and part solutions. In addition, EQUIPRO offers classroom and on-site professional training on business operations and technical details.

Since the company began franchising in June 2005, new franchisees should expect to invest between $145,000 and $350,000. EQUIPRO plans to open 33 service centers by the end of 2006 and 150 over the next seven years.

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