Although it’s a young brand, expansion is a subject in which Lynch is quite familiar. Fourteen years ago, he acquired the rights to Tilted Kilt and grew it from one spot outside of Las Vegas to more than 100 units in the U.S. and Canada before he left. He also opened more than 100 franchised Schlotzsky’s Delis in several states.
Lynch says the Seguin agreement started when an insurance writer he worked with at Tilted Kilt came to try VooDoo Daddy’s. The former coworker returned to Texas and informed acquaintances who wanted to start a restaurant. They came to Arizona and fell in love with the food and design and wanted to secure the rights for their area, Lynch says.
Even though the first franchised location came without sophisticated solicitation, that’s not to say Lynch isn’t prepared for more growth.
He has an FDD and is prepared to lift VooDoo Daddy’s similar to what he did with Tilted Kilt and Schlotzsky’s. The process just cooled once COVID hit.
He’s talking to a group out of San Diego that wants to take advantage of favorable real estate. There’s also another group in Wiley, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, that’s shown interest.
Lynch aims to have five restaurants open by the end of 2021.
“I’m saying that with some hesitation because none of us really knows what’s going to happen when they have the vaccine, which we all hope is around by the end of the year,” Lynch says. “And we really don’t know what the confidence of people is going to be in that vaccine for a while. So we don’t know for sure how quickly they’ll get back, but I’m ready to move forward. I’m confident that there’s going to be a little bit of a pantry fatigue. People are tired of staying home and preparing their meals themselves. I think as soon as they get the slightest comfort, they’ll be out, and I want to be ready for them.”
While the COVID pandemic hasn’t presented many advantages, it has provided a clear picture of where the restaurant industry is headed, particularly with off-premises. And as VooDoo Daddy’s grows, Lynch will use learnings from the crisis to build future stores appropriately.
He’s primarily interested in installing pickup windows and ensuring the parking lot is designed for them. Lynch believes that type of convenience will be desired not only for safety reasons, but also because of the heat. He explains that in Tempe, temperatures get so unbearable that sometimes people don’t want to leave their cars to go inside to the pickup area.
“I think pickup and takeout is going to be stronger than it was pre-COVID, so I want to prepare for that,” Lynch says. “… We can’t prepare quick enough for a drive-thru, but pickup would be great. They can pull up to it, and they wouldn’t have to get out of the car.”
His team is putting the finishing touches on a new website that will have all the relevant franchising information. Lynch will then give the go-ahead to his contacts in the brokerage world to pass along leads for potential franchisees.
All of the pieces for VooDoo Daddy’s expansion strategy are coming into place. The industry veteran believes there’s so much room to grow in the Cajun segment that he will be disappointed if VooDoo Daddy’s fails to reach 200 restaurants in six or seven years.
“I think that’s very possible,” Lynch says. “Our mission statement is to be the best, most respected cajun Creole Caribbean restaurant in the country, and that comes with recognition. They have to recognize the name.”