Any way you slice it, it’s hard to imagine how the Achatz Handmade Pie Co. could establish 150 locations across the United States in the next five years without turning to franchising.
Indeed, after 21 years the much-loved brand based in Michigan’s Chesterfield Township has sold its franchise rights to a Tampa, Florida-based franchise operation called Handmade Pie Co.
We found the Achatz success story in a post on the Detroit Free Press website freep.com, “Achatz Pies To Greatly Expand Via Franchises.”
Just as we share our vast point of sale experience and expertise with startup owners in order to help them make the best decisions from the very beginning, we at Sintel Systems are happy to share articles, advice and commentary about how tastes are changing the restaurant landscape.
A company spokesman told the Detroit Free Press that that franchise pricing information would be released after Jan. 1, 2015.
Currently, the franchise company has three locations open for the holiday season — Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills, Laurel Park Place in Livonia and Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi.
“The mall units have exceeded our expectations,” Handmade Pie Chief Operating Officer Kevin Sirois said in a statement quoted in the post. “These additional retail locations provide new customers with access to Wendy and Dave’s amazing, all natural handmade pies for the holidays. Our first brick and mortar store will open by spring of 2015 in Novi.”
The post notes that the Achatz Handmade Pie Co. started with a 75-year-old family pie recipe in co-founder Wendy Achatz’s in-laws’ catering kitchen. Initially she sold those desserts at local farmers markets until the brand grew into a $10 million company with 175 employees.
Wendy Achatz and her husband Dave say all pies for the franchises will be made fresh in the company’s bakehouse, then immediately frozen and distributed to the franchisee stores where they’ll be baked as needed.
According to its Web site, the baking company doesn’t use chemicals, preservatives or hydrogenated oils and sources most of the fruit, flour, sugar and dairy products from local farms.
The award-winning pies have been showcased on “The Rachael Ray Show,” “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America Weekend as well as in “Bon Appétit” and “Food & Wine” magazines.
The company now has seven pie shops, all in southeast Michigan, which employ about five people each. Wendy Achatz anticipates similar staffing levels at each franchise. The pie makers also supply an estimated 100 grocery stores.
For years, the founders fielded requests from customers, friends and relatives who asked about franchising opportunities.
“We weren’t ready to go in that direction,” Achatz tells the Detroit Free Press. “My husband and I realized we don’t have experience in the franchises business and we didn’t want to mess it up if we did it ourselves…. We’ve met with a lot of people over the years and not felt comfortable until we met” Sirois’s team.”
Achatz and her husband anticipate the franchises will bring in lots of new customers, not just ex-Michiganders.
“It’s going to be new people from around the world,” she tells the Detroit Free Press. “One of our mission was to get this great buy out into the world. We need to share it with the country.”
Read the full Detroit Free Press post here.
For more insights into franchising growth trends, check out our related posts, Boom Times for the Restaurant Sector? Recruiting Franchise Announces Big Growth Plans, The Top 12 Franchises, Based Upon Average Annual Single-Store Sales, Tested Proven And Growing: The Motley Fool’s Roadhouse To Riches, Growth Investors Likely To Get In Line For Shake Shack IPO, and Fast-Casual Pizza Franchises Have Investors Over The Moon.
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