Floyd's 99 Barbershop was recently featured in Entrepreneur magazine! Check out a snippet below and be sure to head over to the full interview to read more!
Question: Is this business essential?
The term essential business took on a whole new meaning during the pandemic, as it became the dividing line between which businesses could operate during lockdowns and which couldn't. Today, potential franchisees are using the phrase in a different way: They want to know which brands are essential to people's lives — and which products or services customers will stick with, no matter what.
That type of thinking is driving interest at many different brands, including Floyd's 99 Barbershop. "Most people can't cut their own hair," says Joe Zemla, the company's senior director of franchising. "People have to get their hair cut."
When potential franchisees ask how the company did during past economic downturns, Zemla and his team are happy to share the numbers. The Great Recession drove some of Floyd's strongest years, and the brand's franchise shops had their highest number of new shop openings in 2021. "It was a 20% growth rate in 2021," he says. "And also, several of our existing franchise partners signed new development agreements during COVID. That shows us that they have confidence in us as a brand, especially at such a challenging time."
What else is "essential" these days? It's varied. Luke Schulte, executive director of franchise development at Handyman Connection, says his business model is essential because handymen work on small-but-important renovations that homeowners and business owners continue to need during down times.
"Those small-to-medium-sized projects will always be there, regardless of what's happening with the price of supplies and bigger projects," he says.
Brands will also point to certain elements of their services as a way of identifying what will keep customers coming back in hard times. That's what Joe Hummel does as the CEO of lodge-themed restaurant Twin Peaks. Because his restaurants also function as sports bars, he says, they can feel like an essential part of consumers' lives — even if those consumers start cutting back on dining out overall.
"Sports are never going away," he says. "We own the sports market. When you look at our brand being married with sports, people see us as a safe harbor."