The franchise becomes an attractive alternative during “the great resignation”
Being your own boss has its perks – for business owners and their furry friends.
Increasingly, American companies are jumping ship to become their own bosses by opening franchise businesses. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, this charge is led by millennials. They are also the largest group of pet owners in the country, with pet parenting continuing to skyrocket. In 2022, more than 70% of households declared having a pet.
Demographics — along with Covid-19 — have accelerated trends in both pet ownership and franchising, according to Franchising.com. I sat down with Joe Dent, President of Three Dog Bakery Franchising, to learn how these trends are affecting their growing dog bakery business.
Jeff Fromm: What are the top marketing trends you see in the pet industry?
Joe Dent: One of the biggest trends we see is the humanization of pets. About 85% of households with a dog consider that dog part of the family, and they certainly treat them that way. Whether it’s choosing higher quality foods and treats with ingredients like superfoods, exotic proteins and probiotics or adding daily supplements to improve the health of their skin, coat or their joints, pet parents take the best possible care of their fur babies. At Three Dog Bakery, we are responsible for keeping up with these trends. We innovate new treats daily and offer a curated selection of the best dog products.
From: What is the relationship between millennials and pets?
Bump: Millennials are now the largest generation of dog owners in the country, and this has exploded even more during the Covid-19 pandemic. Adoption rates have exploded. We see this generation putting off having kids and buying bigger homes just so they can provide a bigger yard and a better life for their dogs. They have changed the way society treats pets in public as they tend to take their dogs everywhere they go. Restaurants are adding patios and dog menus. Hotels now accept pets. Pet insurance is considered essential and some companies have even added “pet maternity leave” when an employee brings home a new puppy. It was revolutionary. You can take your dog to work, which most of our franchisees do. Their puppies often end up being the “bakery mascot and taste tester,” greeting our customers with love. Most importantly to us, Millennials celebrate birthdays, holidays and any holidays or milestones in between with their dogs, so we bake cakes and cookies for every occasion. Pet owners include us in their dogs’ lives every day, making our business fun and rewarding.
From: Some of your newer franchisees are Millennials. Do you see a trend of letting them leave corporate America to start their own business and, if so, why?
Bump: We absolutely do. Some of our new franchisees in Houston, Fargo, and our soon-to-open Long Island location have left their 9-5 to own their own businesses. For each potential franchisee, we hold what we call a “discovery day” where they get to know us and we learn about them – their background and how they would fit into our organization. They are asked what made them give up their careers to start a business and the answers are almost always the same. They seek independence, financial freedom, authenticity, and the ability to own and operate a business that fulfills them and allows them to engage in their community. And of course, they are avid pet lovers with dogs. Let me read a few quick quotes from two recent franchisees.
“I moved to Fargo almost eight years ago. I knew moving to a growing small town gave me the opportunity to use my marketing career in a way that impacts the community. This community happens to be hairy and four-legged. Having been an avid Three Dog customer, I saw an opportunity in Fargo that I could bring to dog owners. — Megan Pechin Bergseth, Owner, Fargo, ND
“My wife and I come from the world of finance. Working in corporate jobs offered security, but we never felt rewarded. We’ve always discussed the possibility of becoming business owners and having something we could call our own. We are animal lovers and proud dog parents, so it was only natural that we fell in love with the Three Dog Bakery brand. Three Dog is more than just dog treats, their recipes include human grade ingredients on all of their products which is very healthy for our pets. We immediately imagined ourselves as liaisons with their products because we treat our pets like children. After all, pets are our family. — John Ma, Owner, Long Island, NY
We hear stories like this all the time and we love it. As America’s premier dog bakery, we believe our business is one of the most unique franchise businesses available. Comments like these confirm it. Adding smart, driven, diverse and passionate franchisees to our network allows us to continue to bring the ritual of celebration to more communities across the country.
From: What can other leaders learn from the increased interest you’ve seen in franchising?
Bump: Keep your eyes open. Just because someone has a secure corporate career doesn’t mean they aren’t open or even looking for a change. If you have a great concept that resonates with people’s passions, the opportunities for engagement are endless. A wise man once wrote “Do a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” View every situation as a potential opportunity. You never know what this could be the start of.