If there was any doubt about the United States’ love affair with beef jerky, there won’t be anymore. Beef Jerky Outlet, a retail store that sells primarily beef and other kinds of jerky, has been growing by the proverbial leaps and bounds over the past two years.
Co-owner Scott Parker said while the actual name Beef Jerky Outlet has been around for about 20 years, it was just a handful of independent stores using the brand name scattered throughout the country. He and business partner Paul Lyons bought their store in about 2006 and decided they’d do much better if they started franchising the brand and they started doing that in 2010.
In the past two years, Lyons said, the company has seen its total stores open grow to 35 and it has a total of 94 stores that are either open or are in the process of opening.
While Beef Jerky Outlet has stores in Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington state, it is primarily in the east, which Lyons said happened organically.
“Every time we open a store and people come in to that store, that’s where a lot of our best potential franchisees come from” Lyons said. “People see the store, they’re interested, they follow up with us and they turn into franchisees.”
As they spread west, the business partners are expecting the same phenomenon to happen and they’ll get more leads and more franchisees. Typically, he said, their franchisees are either somebody who has had their job situation altered by a company downsizing and they’re looking to do something different with their lives or the company will attract investors who open groups of stores. One gentleman in the Oklahoma area, for example, is getting ready to open five stores soon.
Parker said the incredible growth of the company can be attributed to its uniqueness. “There’s nobody else out there that has this same kind of concept,” Parker said. “We have over 200 varieties and sizes of jerky.”
Along with beef, the store also carries elk, alligator, ostrich, kangaroo and a large variety of other types of jerky. “We’re hitting a niche market with both the hunter and outdoor types”, Parker said, but also the craze for high protein diets.
Something else the company also has going for it is their try-before-you buy policy. Unlike many places, Beef Jerky Outlet encourages customers to try a bit of jerky before they commit to buying it. As the business continues to grow, Parker said, the best opportunities are quickly being snatched up, so now is the time for franchisees to get on board.
To help with that, the company has a comprehensive educational process potential franchisees can go through with Beef Jerky Outlet’s sales reps who walk them through the process of getting involved in the business. Prospects are also invited out to a discovery day in Tennessee. This event includes a tour of a real operating store and a jerky manufacturing plant nearby. Potential candidates come visit and experience the business in person which is very helpful in making the decision to become a franchisee.
Regardless of whether people are curious or serious, the company’s process will help them in making an educated decision.
Anyone who is interested can visit www.beefjerkyoutlet.com or visit booth 431 at the International Franchise Expo in New York, June 18-20.