Desai Brings Both Franchising and Technology Experience to the Role
Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, a luxury spa concept, appointed Siddharth Desai as Chief Digital and Technology Officer. In this role, Desai will lead the spa franchise’s operational and consumer-facing digital technology advancements. He brings experience in technology roles across the franchising and banking industries to the position. In addition to Desai, Hand & Stone recently added Jennifer Durham as Chief Development Officer and Meghan Lally as senior vice president of franchise operations.
“I feel incredibly fortunate and beyond excited to be able to shape and accelerate the technological capabilities at Hand & Stone and partner with our franchisees to deliver solutions that will grow their top line revenue and overall profitability,” Desai said.
After researching the luxury spa brand, Desai was impressed with its reputation across franchising and health and wellness. He also noticed a strong franchisor-franchisee relationship across the system. “You take all those things and add an incredibly talented leadership team to a great group of franchisees, and I was sold.”
Desai is excited about building strong relationships with franchisees and helping them grow their businesses. From a technology perspective, he looks forward to continuing the expansion of Hand & Stone’s digital capabilities to drive efficiency and profits for franchisees. “Hand & Stone is uniquely positioned to develop new technologies and user experiences that give our guests flexibility and ways to get to know and interact with our brand and the variety of great services we provide.”
Hand & Stone’s leadership team is excited to have Desai onboard. “Building off of the tremendous momentum we achieved in 2022, we are excited to grow our executive leadership team even more,” said John Teza, president and CEO of Hand & Stone. “Siddharth is a welcomed addition to our team. His in-depth leadership experience with corporate and digital technologies will be vital to the continued growth of Hand & Stone. We’re excited to see where he takes the brand in the coming years.”
Desai and Franchising
Desai seriously considered becoming a franchisee before he entered the industry on the corporate side. During his search for a franchise opportunity, he was offered a position with Tropical Smoothie Cafe. He held various executive roles with the juice franchisor in the past few years.
While he doesn’t have one favorite part of franchising, Desai is excited that franchising helps brands become recognizable and tangible, have loyal customer bases, and that it allows entrepreneurs to achieve the American Dream. “Going into business for themselves and being their own bosses does not mean they do it all by themselves, and that’s where the franchisor-franchisee relationship plays a monumental role.” He added that relationships are important in franchising, and he has been fortunate to build some incredible ones in a short time.
To Desai, investing in a franchise means becoming a brand ambassador who is fully brought into the company’s vision. “Since they’re going to be spending a lot of time with the brand, it’s critical to believe in the product or service,” he said. Desai believes that franchisor-franchisee relationships should be built on trust and connection.
Desai urges franchisors to recognize the implications of technological advancements. “It’s much more than just the technology. It’s as much of a cultural mindset shift as a specific technology or tool. You have to change mindsets, expectations and how you want to operate and go to market.”