It seems you can’t read an issue of Franchise Times without learning of an athlete who’s invested in the franchise restaurant industry. The restaurant brokers have interviewed and spoken with many former national level athletes on the way to restaurant ownership. Here’s what we learned about the parallels and pitfalls of entering the restaurant business as you head out of the professional sports arena.
What are the advantages of playing professional ball and then coming into the industry? How about money? Professional athletes have an advantage because they bring a lot of money to the table. What else do they bring? Let's look at the skill set from someone who’s played competitive ball. First, they have resilience and drive. You don’t make it to the big leagues without a refusal to fail. How many restaurant owners will blame the economy, blame the government, blame minimum wage, blame everything but themselves instead of buckling in and having that drive and refusal to fail.
Here’s another skill kept sharp by those in the major leagues. The ability to learn and adapt. That’s a skill everyone needs no matter what part of your life you are in professionally or personally. That’s especially true for restaurant owners who five years ago had a busboy taking deliveries and no social media accounts versus today’s world where you’re fighting for market share with delivery companies and your stock rises or falls with your Yelp ratings.
Another skill needed by those leaving the professional league to become restaurant owners is the ability to reinvent themselves. The restaurant business is fluid and changing. There are those that peg the NFL as the “Not for Long” league. Athletes know their body is only going to last for a short period of time. They are looking for that next investment and know they may have to reinvent themselves within 24 to 36 months.
Another reason a professional athlete’s skill’s transfer to the franchise side of the restaurant business is because they know how to run the plays. There are plenty of parallels to the franchise restaurant industry where someone else has already put a game plan together. They learn how to execute it at the very highest level. They practice it, they commit to it and then they do it over and over again.
And oftentimes people will feel a little bit constricted by franchise but on the other hand that kind of operational side of things can be your safety net. And the reality is some folks are just not ready to go it alone. For a professional athlete used to executing against a playbook, a restaurant franchise may be just the thing. Buying into a franchise gives you the safety net the process. You get great training, training, the rule book and playbook for every single element of the operation.
For many athletes, they know their name will fade away at some point. We had one athlete tell us, "You can't rely on the roar of the crowd.” And That's true whether you operate one restaurant, 15 franchises, or many more.
Do professional athletes make good restaurant owners? They absolutely can if they have the skills we just outlined.
Are you a professional athlete looking for franchise restaurants to buy? Check out our inventory at this link online.