What is a Franchise?
Franchising is a Relationship.
A Franchise Model is a relationship where a franchisee uses the Franchisor’s ideas, brand and support to build a business on a proven business system. The Franchisor’s role is to support, help and mentor the Franchisee. The Franchisee’s responsibility is to own and operate the business itself. When done correctly, both parties win and there is a mutually beneficial relationship for both Franchisor, Franchisee and the overall Brand.
A franchisor’s brand is its most valuable asset and consumers decide which business to shop at and how often to frequent that business based on what they know, or think they know, about the brand. When franchising is executing properly, the brand flourishes and everyone in the system experiences greater brand awareness.
Systems and Support:
Franchises provide systems, structure, technology and a proven track record to the Franchisee. These systems are designed to be repeatable and teachable so that the franchisee will be able to open the new business effectively and efficiently.
One of the very first steps in the process of developing a specific business through franchising involves determining the franchisability of that particular business concept. We make this determination by taking an in-depth look at all aspects of the business and comparing those to what has been accomplished in the franchise industry and in the business’ particular industry as it pertains to franchising. This review includes the business processes, along with the experience and attitudes of the business owners and operators.
The following points are the individual aspects of Bond’s, which demonstrate a strong potential for duplication of the Bond’s business model through franchising:
• Operating prototype – Bond’s has one strong operating unit and another one on the way, both located in great example markets for what franchisees can expect. The systems, procedures, and operating systems that have been developed to manage the business have strengthened the operating model and will allow for similar duplication in new markets.
• Profitable business – Bond’s has an extremely strong potential net income and return on investment for a franchise owner (26% in the second year alone). The concept is financially sound and has been proven in the existing locations. These numbers (See Exhibit B) are impressive in the franchise marketplace regardless of industry, but in particular when compared to other franchise models. This will help make the Bond’s model much more marketable and sustainable. We, of course, will not be guaranteeing any success or levels of profitability, but with a large margin for error, a franchisee can be much less effective than we have projected and still have a successful business.
• Operationally sound – The Bond’s model is operationally structured to run smoothly with few employees and a reasonable workload for an owner operator. Workflows, process management and experience in the field will allow for the Bond’s model to be replicated easily with new franchise partners. This is a great benefit for franchising in that Bond’s franchise management does not need to be concerned with operational complexities and the length of time needed to train and get a franchisee to the point of operational independence because of a simple and efficient operating structure.
• Adaptable nationally – The Bond’s model is certainly adaptable nationally, in fact, the escape room concept is already being replicated in the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia successfully. The business will be dependent on a relatively affluent and sufficiently populated marketplace for the model, but there are numerous markets across the U.S. that fit the profile of Bond’s.
• Public acceptance – The American public’s general perception of escape room events is positive and growing rapidly. The key will be to offer enough programs and to keep the puzzles on a fresh rotation to retain as many of the satisfied customers as possible while not being wasteful or turning the actual rooms too quickly. We anticipate this timeframe to be 18 to 30 months.
• Point of difference – The Bond’s model is unique and provides a different approach to the escape room franchise models. Bond’s can be 100% flexible with its scheduling of corporate events and private parties and can accommodate almost any size event. It can customize story lines, create unique visuals, and offer a hands-on hospitality that is nearly impossible for competition to match. We even have the potential to offer a mobile escape room in the future.
• Teachable to others – The Bond’s franchisee will benefit from a system that can be grasped easily by an intelligent and motivated franchisee interested in learning the business. This will require an upbeat, energetic attitude and someone who knows and understands how to relate to people and establish relationships with the customers who schedule events with Bond’s.
• Integrity and commitment – Bond’s operates with a high level of integrity and a commitment to strong client service. Franchisees will be required to follow in this same core philosophy for the operation of their locations. It is this level of professionalism and customer care that has differentiated Bond’s from the rest of the escape room market, especially from the customer’s viewpoint. Franchisees will be required to follow and use the same systems and customer friendly approach in managing their own business.
• Must work at three levels
1. Customer – Bond’s provides unique escape experience and service in an efficient and affordable fashion for the customer. Each participant receives personalized attention in a conveniently located operation.
2. Franchisee – The ROI for a Bond’s location is strong and the profitability is apparent. Overall the system is simple and structured in a way that can be replicated in an efficient manner. These are big numbers and big profit in an industry that many people would like to be involved. The reasonable investment range also allows for a larger pool of potential buyers.
3. Franchisor – The franchisor will be able to expand quickly and efficiently into new markets allowing for the Bond’s name and business model to be established in many new markets in a short amount of time. In cases like this, where there is a new concept and a different way to approach a market, it is important to move quickly and maintain the first mover type of advantage that Bond’s has now.
There are many key benefits to the franchisor:
a. Time – Bond’s will be able to expand quickly and build the brand in a shorter time period.
b. People – The Bond’s program is easily learned and can be managed more effectively by owners rather than managers of the locations in different territories.
c. Capital – Bond’s will be able to expand into new markets without a significant cost and investment in facilities.
An Opportunity to Make a Difference
The Bond’s Management Team has spent countless hours managing and perfecting the Bond’s rooms, mind challenging adventures, business model, and the surrounding operational structure. Bond’s is proud to introduce an immersive experience with high-quality sets, theatrical tricks, and puzzles to the franchise world. The company launched its first location in Fairfax, VA in 2015 and the second location is set to open in Arlington, VA in 2019.
The company has seen a tremendous amount of profitability and growth and has seen the true potential of the brand. The first unit started in 2,500 square feet but has expanded to 9,000 square feet. Some of the escape rooms in this model have shaped the second location, which will become the prototype for the business model will be the benchmark for nationwide franchise development.
Each Bond’s franchise will have a minimum of four state-of-the-art ‘Escape Rooms’ that offer an experience that is both stimulating and satisfying for the customer. Guests are provided a puzzle experience to solve where teamwork and critical thinking are paramount and they have an hour to accomplish the objective. A successful escape requires cooperation communication, and outside the box think- ing. This makes Bond’s the perfect place to strengthen the “bonds” within a company, special group, or family.
Today, Bond’s is looking to expand through franchising. The system itself is well positioned and poised for growth with a great track record and a highly experienced operations and management team. The business model is reasonably simple to operate and requires very limited staffing. Typically an owner/operator franchisee (or manager) plus some part-time employees will be sufficient to run the brand.
About the Market
he Bond’s franchise model will be a fixed retail location providing multiple escape room events. It will allow each customer to experience the thrill of solving puzzles and discovering secrets while enjoying the ambiance and atmosphere of a social setting. Coupled with the Bond’s team of hospitality specialists, the overall event makes for world-class entertainment for a small group or a major company team-building event.
Whether guests are looking for something creepy or whimsical, easier or challenging, Bond’s Escape Room provides the most innovative, exciting, and immersive games around. Themes of each escape event vary from room to room, from investigations of a diamond heist, to murder mystery horrors, and more; Bond’s taps into every social group for any occasion. The total portfolio of game rooms will include 12 games.
While the puzzles are intricate and complex, the business model is simple in nature and operational complexity, but delivers an extremely diverse and quality experience to the customer with great results to the bottom line. Locations will range in size from 2,500 to 7,000 square feet and will be located anywhere from a warehouse-style building to a strip center (depending on the market) with rent per square foot of $10 to $50 annually. The corporate locations in Virginia are located in typical markets that Bond’s would like to replicate.
The franchisee’s location does not need to be highly visible from the street, but prime real estate and visibility can be a positive for new customer traffic as well. The current team will make sure that locations are close to local dining options or in business districts as these is great precursor toward projecting customer traffic.
Employees and management in the business should be courteous, professional and know about puzzles and events to explain the uniqueness and to offer the correct pricing and package to the customer. The success and growth of Bond’s will be aligned with the performance and consistency of the initial locations.
Supported By a Team of Professionals
A member of Bond’s field support staff will visit each franchisee according to the following schedule:
When the franchisee’s location first opens for business, a member of the corporate team will visit the location every two months.
The frequency of visits should be on an ongoing basis following this schedule:
Bimonthly for the first year; Quarterly support visits thereafter.
It is estimated that Bond’s will need to hire one field supervisor for every 20 franchises in the field. This is a relatively “de-leveraged” support model, which should allow for the high quality of support and guidance provided to franchisees. The Franchisor will incorporate a formalized mechanism for ensuring quality control among franchisees that will be implemented by these field supervisors. Designated staff members will perform supervision of field support duties.
In addition to field support, members of the Franchisor organization will provide the services listed below. The Franchisor must assign a specific person to cover each of these support areas (one person can be assigned to more than one task). The names of support staff members who are officers, directors, or have significant management responsibility in conjunction with franchisees will be disclosed in the Bond’s Disclosure Document. The Franchisor has the responsibility to assign a person/people to each task during the development of the franchise program.
The Franchisor will provide ongoing training and support in many areas critical to the success of the franchisee’s business, including unit operations and maintenance, customer-service techniques, product ordering, new event development and maintenance, suggested pricing guidelines and administrative procedures.
Bond’s will coordinate the development of advertising materials and strategies for the benefit of all members of the franchise network. It will also supply franchisees with consumer marketing plans and materials for use at the local or regional level, and retains the right to approve all local advertising materials that the franchisee chooses to develop. Eventually, all marketing materials and collateral may be uploaded on to a cloud-based database that would provide the franchisees the ability to download documents whenever needed.
Bond’s Purchasing – Event Room Packages and More
The Franchisor or its affiliate will negotiate quantity discounts on behalf of all of its members, passing some or all of these savings on to the franchisees. This will include elements such as the event packages, marketing materials and other needed items for operating a Bond’s location.
Reporting directly to administration, this department is responsible for the financial and legal oversight of franchisees. Bond’s will be providing support and guidance to franchisees on how to manage their books, but they will ultimately be instructed to hire their own CPA for their individual business.
Ongoing Research and Development
Bond’s management and leadership will continue to research methods and techniques for franchise operations (including purchasing and promotional schemes) that enhance unit-level profitability. There will be continued research and development on how to better operate the locations and how to more profitably manage a Bond’s franchise.
Franchise Sales and Overall Program Oversight
Although franchise sales are not a support function, the expense involved for the franchise sales department needs to be considered with all other personal expenses. Franchise Marketing Systems will be responsible for the qualification, follow-up and sale of franchises. In growing a franchise organization, it is neither necessary nor advisable for a Franchisor to initiate activities with a fully staffed organization. Staffing should occur on a gradual basis in anticipation of the actual need.
An evaluation of the existing organization would indicate, for the short term that the above responsibilities could be incorporated into the existing structure. However, as sales goals are met and the franchise network expands, the Franchisor should expect to hire additional support personnel as needed.
The Bond’s Franchise System was designed the corporate business located in Northern Virginia. The concept was designed to incorporate three distinct customer bases to maximize the revenue model and create additional opportunities for the escape game business model. This is where Bond’s has not only differentiated itself from others, but has excelled in defining what we believe is the most effective escape game platform in the industry.
Retail Clients – people who come to the location and pay for usage of the escape game facility and to play games on as needed basis. These customers are customers who come for fun and on a recreational basis.
Event and Party Clients – these are events that are held at the location and for a specific purpose. Groups such as birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties and other events are held at the facility and bring a group of people to the location and make an event of the day or evening.
Corporate Clients – these are companies and professional groups who are using the escape game business as a way to build camaraderie, professional relationships and ultimately more productive workforces.
All three categories of clients are unique, provide excellent market opportunity depend- ing on the area of the franchised business. The Bond’s Escape Room franchise marketing system was designed to maximize these opportunities and generate client interest and relationships quickly and efficiently.
We appreciate your interest in the Bonds Escape Room franchise opportunity and look forward to hearing from you soon!