Since meeting at a FranServe Conference in 2019, Lance Graulich has been not only a consultant partner but also a friend to many of us here at Raintree. We knew Lance often worked with restaurant concepts, but we had no idea of his involvement in restaurants throughout the years and currently. This interview reminded us why we love the ‘Consultant of the Month’ initiative so much because it allows us to deepen our relationships with the people we work with on a regular basis!
How and why did you end up in franchising?
I ended up in franchising how a lot of people do, not necessarily on purpose! I have an economics degree and truly thought I was headed for Wall Street, but I ended up working in operations at TGI Friday’s for my uncle who was the largest Franchise Owner at that time.
From there, I found my stride in the restaurant scene and went on to become a multi-unit Franchise Owner with Wingstop and Krispy Kreme. I also created my own brand with a partner called Pinkbox Donuts in Las Vegas in 2011. Several years later as it was well established and flourishing, I exited.
With the knowledge I gained from owning and operating many restaurant concepts, brands started approaching me for consultative services. I now regularly consult private equity groups and mentor CEOs.
How did you transition into franchise consulting?
The progression to franchise consulting was a natural one. Since I was already consulting for restaurants, I figured I could help entrepreneurs find a business that suited them, even if it was outside the restaurant industry. I started full-time as a franchise consultant six years ago, and I have now been a consultant and a trainer with FranServe, “The World’s Largest Franchise Consulting & Expansion Organization” for two years.
What is your favorite part of being a franchise consultant?
My favorite part is helping people find their freedom and make the fantasy of franchise ownership a reality!
When I was first starting out in my career, I couldn’t easily access people who could help me, so I thrive knowing I can be that resource for others. Smart people will always tell you, “when you are looking to do anything, resource up,” and I enjoy being that resource for my clients.
What tips do you have for other franchise consultants?
1. Write down every sound bite that comes out of your client’s mouth. You never know when you will go back and read your notes and have an a-ha moment from something they said. Also, when you take thorough notes, you are able to really pay attention, be authentic, and they feel that you were listening to them.
2. Get your clients to open up. Be yourself and genuine, but also being high-energy, engaging, and positive helps clients to relax and tell you honestly what they are looking for, or not looking for!
3. Ask their permission to show them concepts they wouldn’t expect. By asking their permission, you are setting the expectations that it might not be what they thought of originally, but from an outside perspective, you do believe it matches their goals.
4. Always be learning. Be humble enough to understand that you don’t know everything and be willing to put in the time to constantly improve yourself and your business.
Thank you, Lance, for your time and for sharing your story! Raintree loves working with you, and we are excited to continue our partnership!