VomFASS Continues Rapid Expansion in 2015

Congratulations to the 10 vomFASS franchise partners opening shops in 2014. Store openings will accelerate in 2015 as 8 more shops are slated to open in the first quarter in markets from Miami, FL to San Diego, CA.

retail-franchise

vomFASS has spread like wildfire across Europe since the launch of the first German-based vomFASS twenty years ago. Since then, more than 300 retail franchise locations have opened worldwide and the brand has won numerous awards, including the National Honor Award in Germany in 2014.

Rapid expansion throughout the United States begins with franchise partners finding only the best locations for their shops. In many markets, there may be a limited supply of commercial real estate for rent, so it may take some time to find the right location. vomFASS enlists the help of local commercial realtors in finding storefronts that meet strict guidelines. The vomFASS National Real Estate Advisor coordinates the real estate search and educates the local commercial realtor about the brand.

vomFASS Shops are about 1,000 square feet. The location must be accessible to the foodie population in the market positioned among the area’s other specialty food stores, such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Penzey Spice, Savory Spice and Sur La Table. Other key ingredients to retail success include the visibility of location. Customers must be able to find vomFASS in a shopping area.

The one thing in common among loyal vomFASS customers is an appreciation for the finest gourmet food products.

Much research has been done to understand the vomFASS customer profile. The customer is often “Early Empty-Nesters” (the chicks have just recently flown the coop) and “Young Aspirationals,” or young professionals with high taste and the income to support it.

Typically, the vomFASS customer breaks down like this:

  • He or She lives in a town with an educated populace
  • 25-55 years of age
  • College-educated
  • White collar professional working at the executive level
  • Has done a bit of traveling, perhaps

Values experiential shopping (the shopping experience itself.)

Even though we have a fairly specific profile of a gourmet foods franchise store customer, we can’t always rely on it. The fact remains, you’ll always have customers that challenge your idea of who typically shops at vomFASS. We have a saying at vomFASS, We’re democratic with a small ‘d’, meaning that everyone shops at vomFASS. There’s no hard rule for who’s going to walk through your door on any given day.More on Demographics

The number of potential customers that walk by the storefront is also a critical component to success. To verify the suitability of the retail location, franchise partners complete pedestrian traffic counts in front of the location to assure there is enough ‘walk by traffic’ to support a store. When the location is validated, a letter of intent “LOI” is submitted to the landlord by vomFASS requesting specific terms in the retail lease. The retail lease is prepared and the franchisee takes possession of the location to begin the design and build out phase.

The design of a vomFASS store is very important. When designing for a location that is essentially a blank canvas (known as a “vanilla box”) or for locations that come with innate character and unique architecture, we are careful to create a design that embraces the existing architecture but also fits the vomFASS image. Our overall design is dependent upon the “bones” of the chosen site, giving each location that distinct look, while fitting clearly into the vomFASS family. More on Design

First, a local architect measures and prepares a CAD drawing of the interior. The design team in Madison does the CAD design locating the retail fixtures for easy access by customers and keeping the European design elements. Then 3D renderings are completed in the vomFASS designers in Germany before final approval. Fixtures are then manufactured and shipped to America.

One challenge of opening a retail liquor store is complying with each states’ or counties’ alcohol regulations. For example, many regulations require that there be a clear physical division between food and alcohol displays. We have come up with some very attractive ways to accommodate these regulations without disrupting the flow or warmth of the shop.

When the drawings are complete, a local contractor begins making the necessary improvements to the storefront that may include flooring, lighting, walls, storage shelves, painting, signage installation, plumbing and installing restaurant quality sinks. In this flurry of activity, the retail franchise partner attends an intense 10-day training program in Madison, WI while waiting for fixtures to arrive from Germany.

Fixtures arrive at the storefront and a whirlwind of activity begins. Fixtures are unloaded assembled, POS registers programmed, inventory accounted for, employees trained, lights turned on the shop opens. With each store opening, lessons are learned, efficiencies gained, and another vomFASS store is ready to delight new customers.

Opening a vomFASS store involves much planning and coordination. Project management software known as basecamp keeps the project organized, tasks assigned, deadlines documented and the project rolling along.

Once employees are trained and the shop is opened, it’s time to get the marketing and public relations going to spread the word and get customers excited about the new vomFASS shop. One of the best grand opening events so far was held at the vomFASS Claremont, CA. vomFASS franchise partner Kim Peeples had been following Brian Boitano ever since he began his cooking show on the Food Network. She knew the opening of her vomFASS shop had to include Brian Boitano in some fashion.

Kim contacted Brian via Facebook and got in touch with his agent. She explained that she was a big fan and would love to have Brian come to her vomFASS store. It seemed like such a natural connection with the “foodie” angle. After several conversations, Brian and his agent actually said yes! It was agreed that Brian would come to vomFASS store and hold a book signing during the grand opening.

Postings began publicizing the opening on Facebook and a wonderful article appeared in the local newspaper, the Claremont Courier, the Friday before the opening. Customers were lined up before the doors opened to see Brian. More on Claremont Opening

The press for vomFASS is handled by All Points, vomFASS’ public relations agency. They always write a great press release and get it out to the local media.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. Currently, the following states in the United States regulate the offer and sale of franchises: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you are a resident of one of these states, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your jurisdiction.