For over a decade, Bruce Evans has served as the Vice President of Franchise Development for Capriotti's, leaving an indelible mark on the company's growth and expansion. Under his leadership, Capriotti’s achieved significant milestones, such as the strategic acquisition of Wing Zone in 2021 and the recent partnership with VIVA to introduce both brands to the Philippines.
We had the privilege of sitting down with Bruce to delve into his remarkable journey, which began with his service in the U.S. Army and has since evolved into a thriving career in the franchise and restaurant industries.
Military Service and Resilience
Bruce's story commences in the U.S. Army, where he proudly served from 1989 to 1993, attaining the rank of Specialist E-4. His military service laid a solid foundation for his subsequent career in the restaurant industry, equipping him with invaluable skills, including the ability to overcome adversity. Notably, a defining moment during his basic training, when an injury tempted him to consider quitting, shaped his unwavering commitment.
Recalling this pivotal point, Bruce vividly shared, "I finally got up the nerve to go meet with our head drill sergeant, I'll never forget, Drill Sergeant Johnson, going into his office and standing in front of him and I said, 'I don't think this is for me. I don't think I can do this anymore.' And he looked at me and said, 'Evans if you quit now, you're going to be quitting for the rest of your life. Don't do it.'"
This incident not only transformed Bruce's outlook on life but continues to serve as a constant wellspring of inspiration. "Looking back on it, I think about that so many times in my life when things get difficult or things get hard. I always look back to that conversation… this, for me, really shaped everything about me."
Franchising as a Path for Veterans
Veterans often find that franchise ownership offers a uniquely fitting opportunity to translate their military experience into a successful business endeavor. "There's a lot of correlation that has been drawn between the military and franchising,” Bruce explains. “Franchising is all about systemic operations, and when somebody can follow a system, that's going to lead to success, and veterans and military folks are used to that."
He emphasized the promising prospects for veterans in the franchise world, citing exemplary cases of veterans within the Capriotti's and Wing Zone franchise network who have excelled as franchise operators. Moreover, Bruce pointed out the availability of abundant resources, including financing options through the Small Business Administration (SBA), to facilitate veterans' entry into franchise ownership.
Choosing the Right Franchise
Selecting the ideal franchise brand is pivotal when venturing into franchise ownership. Bruce offers invaluable guidance for aspiring franchise partners: "What someone has to do first of all is find what they love, and what they enjoy and what they can be passionate about and believe in."
For Bruce, the bedrock of a successful franchise partnership lies in shared values. "We look for people that have the same set of beliefs, ideas, and values that we do as a company, and we want people that are going to emulate those and grow the brand and be really successful."
Comprehensive Support and Training
Setting Capriotti's and Wing Zone apart from other franchise opportunities is the exceptional level of support provided to franchise partners. "The beauty of what we've done at Capriotti's and Wing Zone is we've created systems and processes for people that have never done anything like this before,” Bruce elaborates. “Our systems and processes are created to really hold people's hands, from real estate selection through construction, through training and operations and through long-term support."
These systems extend beyond the initial setup of the franchise and encompass all facets of the business. "It's not just a matter of getting the doors open; it's also a matter of understanding the intricacies of the restaurant business, which are not typical in other retail businesses,” Bruce states. “So, we do a phenomenal job of teaching people to be successful in the business, and that is key."
Navigating the Franchise Interview Process
For those considering franchise ownership with Capriotti's and Wing Zone, Bruce outlines the typical process, which begins with an initial Zoom conversation. During this meeting, a franchise representative addresses all inquiries and furnishes prospective franchise partners with the necessary information to make an informed decision.
"We want you to come into this with your eyes wide open. We want you to know exactly what you're getting yourself into." Subsequently, the process unfolds at a pace tailored to the franchise partner. "The beauty of the way we operate is that we mold our system around your needs. Whether you want to sign an area development agreement in ten days or take six months, we can accommodate your timeline."
Your entrepreneurial journey may begin with a single conversation, but the possibilities are boundless and the support you is extensive.
If the possibility of franchise ownership with Capriotti’s and Wing Zone resonates with you, contact us today to learn more about opening a Capriotti's or Wing Zone franchise in your area.