Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie CEO offers insights during Q&A
Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie CEO Jim Amos has more than 30 years of experience building franchise brands, so when Tasti D-Lite moved its headquarter from New York City to Franklin, TN, Nashville Post reporter William Williams took the opportunity to pick Amos’ brain about Tasti and the process of building a successful business.
Read the full interview at NashvillePost.com. Here are some excerpts:
NP: You are the former CEO of Brice Foods, whose “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt!” brand grew to more than 1,300 domestic and international locations during your tenure and before being sold to Yogen Fruz in 1996. What did you learn from that experience?
JA: I have nearly 30 years of experience in business format franchising. My last two companies were Brice Foods and Mail Boxes Etc., which grew to nearly 5,000 units with system sales of $1.6 billion and sold to UPS in 2001. Over my career, I have been privileged to have supported or put into business or nearly 10,000 franchisees most of whom remain in business today.
There have been many lessons learned during this period, most of them a result of the power in the relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee to create and grow successful brands. The relationship must be managed appropriately and personally.
From a strategic viewpoint, I think the most relevant lesson I have learned is that if you are a larger segment such as frozen desserts, you must be able to create a sub-segment that has the ability to create a distinct market difference. If you can then control manufacturing and distribution, you will scale rapidly.
In the case of Mail Boxes Etc., we were able to execute that strategy quite profoundly. For Tasti D-Lite, it was this lesson that became the linchpin of our investment thesis. Once we knew the science would support our dietary and health benefits with most of our flavors having less than 80 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 14 grams of carbs per 4 fluid ounces, then it became apparent that Tasti D-Lite could become the number one healthy dessert in the world.
NP: How did you transition from the mail services industry to frozen desserts?
JA: The beautiful thing about business format franchising is that is an economic engine that encompasses at least 85 industries. That is why whether developing the Mail Boxes Etc. system before selling it to UPS or Tasti D-Lite, it is business format franchising as an economic engine that provides the growth, not just the product or the service.
This should not be glossed over lightly. Anyone considering franchising without the experience and qualifications of franchise professionals is making a great mistake. That is why when we consider the future of Tasti D-Lite and look at creating a mega-franchise system, we can draw confidence from a team that has created system growth into the thousands multiple times. That is a distinct advantage, for you cannot lead someone where you have not been.
Tasti D-Lite chairman and CEO Jim Amos has more than 30 years of experience guiding successful franchise companies such as Mail Boxes Etc. He was inducted into the International Franchise Association’s Hall of Fame in February.