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For Baskin Robbins Hopefuls, a Three-Scoop Minimum

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Way too late for this summer's Mojave-esque heat-wave, Baskin-Robbins has announced plans to bring its 31 flavors to 60 new locations in the Denver area. It’s big news, considering that of the company’s 6,000 ice cream shops worldwide, only 13 are on the Front Range. But if you're flush with cash and think opening a B-R in your basement would make a fun hobby, think again: New franchisees must commit to opening not one, not two, but at least three stores.

There’s no shortage of franchising opportunities in Denver, and – as I learned while writing about franchisee grievances against Quiznos – franchising is a risky play. But, just like the dozens of people who contacted me after losing their retirement savings and homes to franchise purchases gone bad, there are plenty of people in town who run successful franchises. Often, those are the franchisees who own multiple stores. That’s what makes Baskin-Robbins' three-store minimum so intriguing.

James Franks, the company’s national director of franchising, says that minimum requirement has been part of the Baskin-Robbins business model for the past few years, and it’s working. “I’ve been in franchising for 19 years,” Franks says. “In my opinion, when somebody owns one franchise, a lot of times people get caught in the trap of having bought themselves a job instead of building a business. If you’re just working in the business, you can’t work on the business because you’re so focused on the day to day. By owning multiple stores, it forces you to run a business. I don’t want to say buy three stores and you’re successful. You have to know and execute the business. Baskin-Robbins is a fun business, but you still have to manage it by the numbers.”

Buying a Baskin-Robbins will cost you a $35,000 initial franchise fee – before any lease, construction, or business costs -- plus $25,000 for each additional store. That’s why the company says it’s looking for franchisees “with strong financial backgrounds” -- at least $100,000 in liquid assets and $300,000 in net worth. So, yeah, we're out.

Get the details at the free seminar August 5, from 10 to noon, at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. Sign up at www.baskinrobbins.com/FranchiseOpportunities. Free ice cream will be served. Seriously. -- Jessica Centers

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