Debbie Blacher is the founder and CEO of Wholesome Tummies. Wholesome Tummies franchisees provide healthy meal options to private and public schools. The franchise blossomed from Debbie’s personal commitment to healthy and organic eating for her young children.
Can you put into words how rewarding it is to not only be doing something you’re passionate about for work, but also have it help others?
Following your heart is the career path that just keeps giving. Doing anything other than that is a waste of time. I am motivated daily to make a difference in the lives of children by elevating the quality of the food they eat. As a Mother this is a cause I believe deeply in, and knowing the work Wholesome Tummies does is helping other Mothers makes the work that much more worthwhile.
What is the biggest challenge to your franchise and how do you work to overcome it?
Our biggest challenge is containing our growth. There is a significant and underserved need to feed our children better quality food, and Wholesome Tummies has developed the best, most comprehensive solution in the market today. Because of the demand, there is tremendous interest in our concept but we need to remain disciplined so we control the growth and it doesn’t control us.
How do you view the progress made on providing healthier school lunches?
It is really one step forward and two steps back, unfortunately. Change will not happen overnight and especially as there are too many influential organizations invested in maintaining the status quo. Our cause if fueled by the frustrated parents who expect a higher standard but are not getting it. I believe it is involved parents and communities that will eventually turn the tides by making change happen themselves.
You’ve described the ideal franchisee for your concept as someone who “has a business background and is sales and operations oriented with a passion for customer service.” Are there any additional qualities you’ve found make a great franchisee?
Definitely commitment to the cause. The most important factor is the person’s desire to improve the quality of the food our children eat each day and make a real difference in their communities. Without that passion, they will not be authentic ambassadors of the brand.
What advice do you have for first time franchisees?
Spend the first year getting it down…learning the formula…understanding the business. Once the foundation is built you can expand with vigor, maximize your business potential, and have fun!
What are 2-3 pieces of business advice you have been most thankful to have received?
You can only have 2 of the 3: price, quality, or service (2) build your franchise growth strategically and in concentric circles [areas that share similarities] and (3) get the right people on the bus!
How do you set goals for the New Year, either calendar year or school year?
By looking always at three things: our vision, our values, and the market.
How do you maintain momentum (or keep the business moving forward) during lulls in the year such as holidays, summer break, etc.?
Many of our owners appreciate the downtime and choose to spend it with their families or just recharge and regroup. Others utilize their contracts with year-long preschools and summer camps to cover their operating expenses during the lulls.
Is there anything else you would like to tell readers?
When looking at a business pick a business that is fun for you and you have a passion for...You need to be excited about what you do in life!
Thank you to Debbie for her time and valuable insights! You can visit the Wholesome Tummies profile here.