Bontrager will Assist with the Emerging Brand’s New Franchise Growth Strategy
MAD Greens, an emerging food concept that sells salads, wraps and grain bowls, added Loren Bontrager as vice president of franchise and development. The position comes amid MAD Greens’ recent announcement that it is offering franchise opportunities. Bontrager will assist with the emerging brand’s growth strategy.
Throughout his career, Bontrager has strategized growth for emerging brands as a consultant and team member and learned best practices from legacy brands such as Jamba and Teriyaki Madness. Prior to joining MAD Greens, he served as vice president of franchise sales and development with Buff City Soap.
“I’m looking forward to putting my own personal stamp on the MAD Greens brand that will create opportunities for franchisees in the years to come. It’s always satisfying to see a brand realize its potential and become a strong, validated franchise concept. My goal for MAD Greens is to build an opportunity that is rooted in franchisee success and profitability as we begin franchising the brand,” Bontrager said.
During his 20 years in Denver, Bontrager feels like he’s been able to “grow up” as a customer of Colorado-based MAD Greens. After commuting from Denver to Dallas and Atlanta over the past six years, Bontrager was excited to help a local concept grow. After meeting with MAD Greens’ leadership team, Bontrager wanted to be part of it. MAD Greens’ clear mission and vision also spoke to him, and he felt like he could lean into his years of experience to help the brand fulfill its potential.
The brand’s leadership team is thrilled to have him onboard. “Loren has had an impressive number of accomplishments throughout his career in the franchise industry. The expertise he brings is extremely valuable as we enter this next phase of our development,” said CEO Darden Coors. “We have complete confidence that Loren is going to take MAD Greens to a new level and pique skilled operators’ interest in being a part of this innovative brand.”
From Social Work to Franchising
Having spent more than seven years as a behavioral specialist working with dually diagnosed homeless veterans, Bontrager knew that his next move had to provide the opportunity to “facilitate success” in others’ lives. “I found that my goal of ‘facilitating success’ was possible outside of social work and that addressing and solving a franchisee’s problems could be equally rewarding. It was an eye-opening experience to see how many franchisees emptied their bank accounts, flipped their 401Ks, or went to their friends and family for funds to make their dreams of business ownership come true.”
He added that franchising allows many individuals with entrepreneurship goals to live out their dreams knowing they have a successful, proven business model behind them. He values each franchisee and the sacrifices they have had to make.
Food Franchising Trends
Bontrager got an inside glimpse into everything it takes to successfully run a franchise at the age of 12 when he started working at a restaurant. Food franchising was a natural progression for him. He appreciates that restaurants provide an opportunity for people to find themselves and have advancement opportunities.
Since joining the industry, Bontrager observed a number of trends in food franchising. These include a rise in franchises that focus on healthy options, including salad bars, juice bars, and smoothie shops; a growing demand for plant-based food options, which has led to more franchises offering vegan or vegetarian options; the rise of third-party delivery services leading to an increase in delivery and takeout options; technology integration; and a focus on sustainability.
For Franchisee Candidates
Before buying a franchise, Bontrager urges prospective franchisees to research the industry, assess their strengths and weaknesses, take stock of their skills and experience, find a brand that aligns with their values, and follow the system. He adds that while franchising does have the benefit of a proven system, candidates should be prepared to put in hard work.