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The Conference Room

Franchise Making Beef Jerky Cool Again

By Gabrielle Karol The Conference Room FOXBusiness

Artisanal jerky making a comeback?

Michael Rothschadl on the success of The Beef Jerky Outlet, a franchise with 21 locations in the U.S.

Is beef jerky making a comeback?

In this edition of Conference Room, FBN’s Jeff Flock speaks with Beef Jerky Outlet franchise owner Michael Rothschadl, who recently opened a location in Richfield, Wisconsin.

While beef jerky may bring to mind the American frontier (or Slim Jims), Rothschadl says artisanal jerky is making a comeback in the United States. At the Beef Jerky Outlet, for example, Rothschadl stocks flavors such as “Old Smoky Moonshine Whisky” and meats like kangaroo.

There are 21 Beef Jerky Outlet stores today across the U.S., according to Rothschadl.

“It wasn’t in the market – it was a completely empty market – and the growth of beef jerky has been 60% over the last 10 years,” says Rothschadl. “So when you have a $2 billion-a-year industry, and no one’s in it … They made the concept, and it’s just been growing fast.”

Rothschadl says he’s received a lot of support from the town of Richfield and the business community –crucial ingredients for success for a fledgling business.

“We had one of the best showings ever for franchise history, and it’s all because of the community,” says Rothschadl, referring to the grand opening of the Richfield location mid-May.

Jennifer Miller, the owner of the building that houses the franchise, says she knew pretty quickly that Rothschadl’s business would be a success.

“I didn’t have any doubts about it … because of the area with [outdoor retailer] Cabela’s here and the other businesses in the area,” says Miller. “And then just meeting Mike and knowing his passion for it and his excitement, we knew it was going to be a great fit for the building.”

Making a Franchise Personal

While many franchise owners need to stick to a prescribed business plan, Rothschadl says he’s been able to put some personal touches on his Richfield franchise.

“The nice part about this is the layout is very similar all around the nation: the barrels, testing out of the barrels, sampling out of the barrels, having a fun concept … but each owner can put their personal touch on the store. That’s what we tried to do -- bring in the Cabela’s, bring in the outdoor theme of this community,” says Rothschadl.

Displaying the work of a local boat-maker is one way Rothschadl is making his mark on the franchise concept.

“I gave [the boat-maker] the opportunity to display his boats in the store,and he would never have an opportunity like this … and now he gets to showcase all his fine, beautiful works of art and just it’s wonderful,” says Rothschadl.

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