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A Franchise Veteran's Secrets to Success

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Veteran franchise executive John Rotche began his career in franchising at Domino's Pizza (DPZ), where he spent many years under founder Tom Monaghan.

Domino's was sold to private equity firm Bain Capital in 1998 (it later went public), but Rotche's time in the pizza franchise kitchen was up, though he wasn't done cooking.

He left to serve as chief operations officer at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD), but left Krispy Kreme in 2002 to start DUCTZ, a single van air duct cleaning business following a severe respiratory illness of his son. In 2007, Rotche sold DUCTZ to Belfor, a property restoration company and later created the Belfor Franchise Group. Three years ago, he launched a second business, HOODZ Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning. The franchise has more than 150 locations.

Now he has put on the franchise gloves, becoming president of Title Boxing Club in May. Rotche had been consulting for retired pro-boxer Danny Campbell and now-CEO Tom Lyons when they approached him for advice on how to best execute franchise plans for their boxing workout classes, but the partners decided to bring him into the ring full time. Title Boxing Club is on pace to have 500 clubs open or in development by the end of 2012, and 1,000 clubs in the U.S. and Canada by the end of 2013.

Rotche shared his tips for finding and running a great franchise.

Who is an ideal person to be a franchisee?

Rotche: All the best franchisees are people who are used to following systems, whether it be folks from the military, police officers, firefighters, people who are process-driven. Those who don't do as well are the ones that want to just do it their own way and think they can do it better. In fact, talking to people during the discovery day process, many times I'm [saying] 'I don't think you will be really happy in the franchise industry.'

Very early on the franchisees are going to outgrow the franchisor in terms of knowledge because they have their life savings in the business and they are typically there morning, noon and night. At corporate, sometimes you can get a little distant from the brand or the product. The franchisees are so close to it. At the end of the day, the franchisor is really the band leader -- to catch the bad ideas and seek out the good ideas. We want to find people who are comfortable working within a process and who are also sharing ideas that they have. And they have to be okay if [a franchisor] chooses not to use the idea. You can't go rogue on us.

How has technology changed the franchise industry?

Rotche: It's made everything so much more transparent, which is good and bad. For example, if one Domino's Pizza goes and does something unthinkable when making a pizza and it goes viral, it can hurt a brand so quickly. Yet on the positive side, technology has reduced spending for small business owners. Whether you're using Facebook (FB) and Twitter or LinkedIn (LNKD) and different forms of social media, that's a lot more cost effective than the old days of buying newspaper inserts and direct mail campaigns.

In terms of the franchisor side, technology has brought franchised systems closer together because it's so much easier to communicate with your franchisees and for franchisees to communicate with each other.
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