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When Franchisees Go Rogue

A week ago, Slate published a really intersting article on franchisee's who go rogue and institute fascinating changes to franchise systems. I was unaware over the extent of the success of one 'rogue' franchisee and a fascinating innovation he has instituted.

I was fascinated to read the story of Don Spina in Slate recently. Spina set-up Swankclub Limited, which involved running Quizno's, Johnny Rockets and Jamba Juice in the Bahamas. Spina quickly realized that Jamba Juice would a criticial struggle to survive in the Bahamas. This, after all, was a franchise launched in California, where consumers have a lot of disposable income. In the Bahamas, though, a lot of Spina's potential customers were visiting families on vacation not looking for a healthy alternative to soft drinks or alcoholic beverages.

So what did Spina decide? He opted to push through an entire menu overhault:

Cleaving to the brand’s image of health and wholesomeness, he suggested for breakfast whole-wheat English muffins topped with egg whites, low-fat cheese, and ham or turkey. Lunch possibilities included a grilled chicken sandwich on ciabatta bread and a panoply of Caesar and vegetarian salads.

Despite an initial relucatance, Jamba Juice were loathe to close a store and decided to sign off on Spina's suggestions. “We sold a truckload of turkey for breakfast,” he told Slate.

Interestlingly, Spina's Jamba Juice in the Bahamas was forced to close because of the recession, but Jamba Juice took his lead and decided to introduce more food onto their menus. It's not a totally sad story, though. Spina's Johnny Rockets has enjoyed incredible success. Sometimes it pays off for a franchisee to go rogue. Other times though, customers know exactly what they want.

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