When Todd Fetter opened his first Buffalo Wings & Rings in Piqua, Ohio in 2013, he was confident that it would not be his last. It is no secret that Fetter is the Buffalo Wings & Rings franchisee most focused on growth – he owns the most locations in the system, and was named the Growth MVP at the brand’s annual franchise conference.
However, for Fetter, as much as it is about growing his business, it is about the people who have been there along the way. From the help of his wife and kids in the operation of his locations to the constant support from the Buffalo Wings & Rings corporate team to the encouragement of his fellow franchisees, Fetter’s franchise experience can be summed up in a few simple words: “It feels like family.”
What was your perspective about franchising prior to joining?
I thought that franchising meant that you worked for someone who took charge of the way you ran your business, and that you didn’t have much say or freedom. Buffalo Wings & Rings proved this all wrong.
What is the top thing you think people don't understand about franchising?
The top thing that I feel many may not understand about franchising is that I truly am a small business owner. I may be a part of a larger franchise system, but I am local to the area for residents, and I am a part of this community. Like any local business owner, this is my livelihood, and my entire family is involved in making sure it stays afloat. Just as much as the old local bakery down the street, this is my story and I have the liberty to craft it as such.
How has being a franchisee changed your life?
Taking on the role of a franchisee has been completely different than any other professional experience in my life. It has provided me the opportunity to grow with a proven system, and to include more of my family in this process. However, most importantly, unlike any other business I have ever been involved in, this time I have no exit plan. I am often asked when I feel it will be time to move on, but I truly love what I am doing, the kids love what they are doing, and this is only continuing to grow. There is no sunset on the horizon.
Why did you pick Buffalo Wings & Rings?
What struck me immediately was that there was space for Buffalo Wings & Rings to grow in Ohio, Indiana and surrounding states. It was important that my family and I look into the brand together. It immediately had a local feel for us, as it is based in Cincinnati and we live just two hours away. However, I knew I wanted to take in the full Buffalo Wings & Rings experience before making any decisions. We visited several Buffalo Wings & Rings locations and we knew right away that thisWhat types of other brands did you look at?
Before joining Buffalo Wings & Rings, we looked at additional food franchises, specifically ones that specialized in wings. We tried out the product, spoke with the teams and did all of our research – but none were up to par with the overall experience we felt that Buffalo Wings & Rings provided from the get-go. In comparison to other wing brands, we felt that Buffalo Wings & Rings succeeded in every area – from the atmosphere, to the food, to customer satisfaction – and we were confident that we could be successful with this proven model.
Why should someone buy Buffalo Wings & Rings?
Someone should buy Buffalo Wings & Rings because of the support of the team – from corporate down to fellow franchisees. From site selection to construction to new store opening and beyond, the team is so supportive and if I didn’t have them behind me, I wouldn’t have five locations open.
What advice would you have for someone looking to become a franchisee?
Do your homework from day one. If you come across a brand that gives you a good gut feeling and that you are comfortable with, then trust it. Run with it and don’t look back – your journey and growth will never stop. I have been doing this for some time and I still feel as if I am just getting my feet wet.