Exploring these venues can mean smaller spaces and amended menus—but also wider audiences.
Nature’s Table’s Discovery Day program isn’t a typical way to attract new franchisees. On a Discover Day, potential franchisees fly into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and visit the first-ever Nature’s Table airport store. Then they are whisked down to Orlando, stopping at Nature’s Table locations on Florida’s Turnpike, an Orlando street corner, the RDV Sportsplex, and in other distinct venues.
During these tours, potential franchisees see firsthand the brand’s versatility. While consistent in quality and branding, individual stores have their own personalities, says Rich Wagner, president of Nature’s Table. Layouts, menu items, and throughput speeds all vary from unit to unit. By the end of a Discovery Day, Wagner says, participants are usually excited about the wide possibility of franchising with the brand.
Nature’s Table has been franchising nontraditionally for more than 40 years, setting up stores almost exclusively in malls, airports, and other unique venues. The Orlando-based brand purveys healthy sandwiches and salads through a “flexible footprint model” that makes room for only a few standalone stores. It all began in mall food courts. When management saw crowds of office workers lunching at the Nature’s Table mall locations, they decided to try opening a store in an office building. Today, Nature’s Table units are in almost every nontraditional location you can imagine, from college campuses to gyms to a newly opened store in the Cook Museum of Natural Science in Alabama. “We want to bring Nature’s Table to where you work, travel, shop, and play,” Wagner says.
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