Franchising Today - Summer 2016 - 87
Helping the communities it serves is a core
value of Wet Willie's. Under the direction
of Vice President Emily Dickinson, the company partners with many national and local
charities for fundraisers throughout the
year. The company encourages franchises
to participate, as well. "Our customers and
staff put their hearts and energy into events
such as our annual Koozies for Boobies™
which benefits breast cancer research,
prevention and treatment; and our annual
Curing Cancer with the (Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society) LLS program," CEO Bill
Dickinson says. "Our gratitude and support
from customers is over-whelming; we receive letters and feedback year-round. For
us, that's what this is really all about."
so it is seldom, if ever, offensive to anyone," Dickinson says, noting the location's interior design and background
music is meant to be subdued.
Wet Willie's also maintains a code of
conduct for patrons as well as employees. This includes having a rule prohibiting hats and sunglasses after 8 p.m.,
discouraging patrons from yelling or
swearing and prohibiting employees
from touching customers.
"We manage people's behavior and
create an ambiance that is inclusive,"
The drinks and atmosphere of Wet
Willie's locations have helped it gain
positive word-of-mouth. "We've been
AN EXPANDING PRESENCE
The company's franchising efforts
help it maintain and expand its presence. These efforts are led by Director
of Franchise Development Greg Lard,
who joined the company a year-anda-half ago. Lard previously served as a
master franchisor for cleaning and janitorial service provider Jani-King.
Wet Willie's provides franchisees
with an eight-week training program.
It also helps franchisees find locations
and hire employees. Ongoing support
includes monitoring each franchisee's
financial numbers. The company also
provides point-of-sale monitoring. "If
we start to notice a dip in gross profit,
we can look into it and find out what
happened," Dickinson says. "If we see
something funny going on in one of
our stores, we're all over it, and immediately contact the franchisee."
Franchisees who follow the company's procedures reap rewards. "We've
created a situation where our franchisees can bring in 80 percent gross profit," he adds.
The company's proven track record of franchisee success is leading
to growth. Wet Willie's will add new
locations in North Carolina, South
Carolina and Alabama within the next
few months, and is in talks to expand
AMBIENCE SO IT IS SELDOM,
IF EVER, OFFENSIVE TO ANYONE."
- BILL DICKINSON
in business 25 years, and I think that
we're successful by every measure you
could think of," Dickinson says. "We
could open a location and without any
advertising at all have 4,000 people
there on opening night."
the franchise to Texas, Mississippi and
other states, Lard says.
Dickinson hopes to have 40 locations in the next few years. "As long as
we continue to have successful franchises, we'll keep growing," he says.