Brace yourself for an interesting interview with Courtney Hindorff, VP Franchising & International Development, New York Fries (NYF) Recipe Unlimited Corporation, Canada.
Many people will tell you that once you get restaurants into your blood, it is almost impossible to get them out. I am no different as my first job was a dishwasher in a local pizzeria in my hometown.
From there my life has been intertwined with restaurants, through various levels/roles within operations. When a new career path showed itself to me within the franchising department of our corporate head office, I jumped at the chance as it was such a great combination of passion for our industry and brands and a natural gift of the gab and love for sales.
Franchising has provided me the opportunity to get to know every city, town and hamlet in Canada while introducing me to inspiring entrepreneurs looking to create a better future for their families.
I am looking forward to continued learning while we grow our brands across the globe and can’t wait to meet the next set of inspiring international entrepreneurs.
As the story goes, our Founder was vacationing in New York City in the1980’s and stumbled across New York Fries. The original location was located at the South Street Seaport in New York City.
The original location served fresh cut fries only and a soft drink. Simple, streamlined and efficient. He was so impressed that he bought the Canadian rights and went back years later and bought the whole company.
The name is obviously a testament to the simple origins of the company. Fries, done right (fresh cut, skin on, triple cooked) straight from New York.
Our logo is another reminder to the origins of our brands; clean, simple and all about New York.
Our brand differentiates itself by being maniacally focused on our core product; French Fries. Each day we clean, cut and cook our fries using our three stage cooking process to ensure the perfect fry every time.
Our proprietary process allows us to serve hot, fresh, made to order fries in less than a minute. Nothing else goes in our fryers which is why they come out perfect; every time.
Local, engaged, passionate, community focused franchisees make up the best franchisees in our system. In order to deliver the best possible product, the owner needs to be actively involved in the day to day operations of their business.
This is not an annuity; what you put in, is what you get out.
Obviously this depends on a number of critical factors including skill level of the franchisee, quality of the real estate and broad appeal of the brand.
We wouldn’t have been able to expand New York Fries to over 50% of the enclosed shopping malls in Canada and to over 10 international markets without an above average rate of return.
Critical components in any restaurant opportunity are cost of goods and cost of labour. New York Fries model boasts some of the most competitive Food & Labour Costs in the industry due to its streamlined menu and small operational footprint which drives profitability and ROI.
The biggest challenge in anyone’s franchising career is assessing a potential franchisee’s capabilities and knowing that they are trusting you with (in some cases) their life savings.
All of the processes, assessments, interviews and evaluations are in place to ensure that the right people are selected to grow your business. Sometimes the best answer is ‘no’ but that can be a hard message to deliver.
For me, when I have to have one of these tough conversations I remember that the risk associated with poor franchise decisions can put a potential franchisee’s investment in jeopardy. Keeping this in mind helps when giving honest feedback that this isn’t going to work out.
That’s simple, my family. Now, I’ve had the privilege of working for Recipe Unlimited (New York Fries parent company) for 14 years and represented some of Canada’s most iconic brands.
We have grown our overall footprint (through new units and acquisition) many times over throughout the last decade and have grown to be Canada’s largest Full Service Restaurant company serving each and every Canadian many times a year.
I have helped countless entrepreneurs all across our country realize their dream of restaurant ownership. For all these reasons, I am proud of what I have accomplished and come to work everyday thirsting for more but it’s my family that truly motivates me.
Morning smoothies with my wife and kids (four of them in total) before walking them to school. From there, quick check in with my team so see if there is anything pressing that needs some attention. After that, all things growth.
Whether it be domestic (traditional or non traditional) or international development, my team is constantly looking for new, creative ways to grow and elevate the business and our overall footprint.
I have been very fortunate throughout my career as I have had the opportunity to work with countless franchisees across Canada.
I have helped them open their first restaurant and have played a small part in helping them realize their dreams. Simply put, I have had lots of ‘best moments’.
We see New York Fries in a number of new markets over the next 5 years. We have big plans to grow right across the globe due to the broad appeal of our core product, ease of access to our core ingredients and the industry leading ROI that our model boasts.
The best advice that I can give anyone is to do your research. Choose a brand that you believe in and can fully invest yourself in. For example, if you are an early riser, don’t choose a brand or concept that requires you to be open late at night OR try and find an opportunity that is close to your local community to ensure you can fully support the business (and your investment).
Also after completing your research be sure that the ROI meets your expectations where you can maintain your desired lifestyle. Finally be sure that you are fundamentally aligned with the leadership / ownership team of the brand as this will ensure future brand direction will be in line with yours.
Get to know who are the industry key players, visit our Interview of the Week page.
To stay updated, visit our Franchise News section.
To learn more, visit our Franchising Tips section.