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Larger office will help Freddy’s accommodate growth

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, at 9:59 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, at 9:59 p.m.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard could easily double its number of franchise stores over the next few years.

But to meet that growth the company needs more people to support the new stores — and new franchisees.

So the 10-year-old Wichita-based franchise will be doubling its headquarters space to accommodate that growth.

In mid-December, company officials expect to move several blocks south on Rock Road to a 7,000-square-foot office at 260 N. Rock.

Chief financial officer Randy Simon said Tuesday the move can’t come soon enough.

“Part of the problem is we’ve been sitting on each other’s laps down at the other office,” Simon said of Freddy’s 3,500-square-foot suite at 1445 N. Rock.

The company that started in 2002 with one store at 21st and Tyler now has 77 fast-food restaurants in 10 states. By the end of this week it will have opened its 78th, in Killeen, Texas. Next week, it will open its 79th, in Loveland, Colo.

“I think we plan to be at 83 or 84 at year end,” Simon said.

The larger office and additional personnel will help the company stay ahead of its future store growth, he said. It will also include 500 square feet for training general managers and operating partners of new stores. Those leaders who are new to the Freddy’s system come to Wichita for four to six weeks of training. They also will receive some of their training at the second store Freddy’s opened, at 310 N. Rock, which is within walking distance of the new headquarters.

“We feel it’s a better opportunity for our franchisees to pick up on our culture of hospitality at our stores, before they go out and operate on their own,” Simon said. “The intangible philosophies and culture is more difficult to put in a (training) video or manual.”

Freddy’s already has hired more corporate support staff — three franchise business coaches and an accounting assistant — in anticipation of the larger office. The hirings will increase its corporate employee count to 24.

Simon said the company continues to add stores despite a less-than-robust economy. Fueling the growth in store numbers — besides Freddy’s food and hospitality, Simon said — are the 33 franchisee groups that open one or two new Freddy’s restaurants a year. Multiply one or two store openings a year among each of those franchisees and the result is “this exceptional looking growth,” Simon said.

As franchisee groups continue to open one to two new Freddy’s stores annually, it won’t be but a couple of years before the company’s restaurant numbers will have doubled, he said.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com.

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