Chalfant Aligns with the Franchise Development Company’s Mission
FranDevCo, a franchise development company, tapped Drew Chalfant as chief operating officer (COO). In this role, he will manage business operations, including sales, marketing, development, finance, and compliance. He will also be a partner alongside Jeff Dudan, Michael Abdy, and FranDevCo chief executive officer Sung Ohm. FranDevCo’s brand partners include Costa Oil, Temporary Wall Systems, Crushr, beem Light Sauna, Corporate Cleaning Group, Kitchen Solvers, Bigfoot Forestry, Massage Heights, and PatchMaster.
“I am most looking forward to applying my operations background and experience alongside my franchise law knowledge to help develop and implement full-circle strategies for brands beyond just their compliance initiatives. Coming back into an organization that does a lot more than just legal advising feels like a bit of a homecoming for me,” Chalfant said.
As a franchise attorney, Chalfant has experience communicating with brands and their legal teams on development strategies, market-entry plans, and the preparation of their Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).
Ohm is thrilled to have Chalfant take on this role. “With franchising being such a heavily regulated industry full of nuance and complexity, Drew’s legal background and vast franchise experience brings significant value to our organization. He will be instrumental in continuing to deliver on the FranDevCo mission of helping entrepreneurs find financial independence through franchising.”
Falling into Franchising
Chalfant fell into franchising completely by chance. He had just finished his first year of law school and was looking for summer internships while working at a hipster bar in Cincinnati. During that time, he met the in-house attorney for St. Gregory Development Group, a franchise development company that launched the CycleBar boutique fitness concept. This led Chalfant to an internship with St. Gregory and CycleBar, and he eventually joined the in-house legal department.
From there, a series of acquisitions merged CycleBar with Club Pilates, and Xponential Fitness was born. After St. Gregory disbanded, he and Joe Roda co-founded Roda Chalfant Franchise Law, which had FranDevCo as a client. Because FranDevCo functions in many of the same ways as St. Gregory, Chaflant knew it would be a “fish-in-water” fit for him. Since he gained his legal experience through a franchise development company, he has seen how legal analysis and recommendations were put to the test in the real world.
Advice from a Franchising Pro
Chalfant recommends that aspiring franchisees work on their emotional intelligence because their relationships with franchisors will be similar to close relationships between spouses, business partners or parents and children. In his view, those without a high level of emotional intelligence and the ability to navigate different personality types may not be suited for franchising. “There can be great rewards for franchisors with a leadership team that understands that they have accepted a role as stewards of their franchisee’s time, money, emotions, and legacy.”
Chalfant urges franchisors to lean on technology solutions to improve operations. For emerging franchisors, he believes that there is a mindshift that has to occur. “It may have been possible for the original brand founders to know every detail of operations, finances, marketing etc. for their own locations – but there is a data attenuation that occurs once franchisees are running the day-to-day for their own businesses. If the franchisor isn’t closely monitoring store-level metrics, they won’t be able to get in front of issues and support franchisees before a minor problem has blown up into a larger one.” He added that it is important to test new initiatives at one or more stores before rolling out the next initiative.
The Importance of General Counsel
As a franchise attorney, Chalfant emphasizes the importance of great counsel for franchisors and franchisees. He believes that having an FDD prepared by an experienced franchise attorney is critical and explained that navigating the regulations around franchising can be very daunting for new franchisors; couple that with the interplay between state and federal franchise laws, and the sizable investments that franchisees make, it becomes clear that a franchise attorney will need to be there to explain a lot of this. A lawyer can help franchisees understand the franchise agreement.