Foodies, doggies eat under one roof as MUTTS franchising begins

With nearly 90 million dogs and some billions of dollars spent on pet food last year, a restaurant chain targeting canines and their owners seems like it might have interesting prospects.

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That's what restaurant concept creators Kyle Noonan and Josh Sepkowitz thought.

"People are passionate about their pets, and we’re both pet owners. It’s amazing the amount of money you will spend on your pet," Noonan told QSR Magazine, "We thought this was a great opportunity to be able to tap into the millennial market where they don’t want to leave their pet at home or hire a pet sitter. They want to be able to take their dogs to work or go out to eat with their dog."

So in 2013, MUTTS Canine Cantina was born in Dallas. Each Cantina features a bar, a dining area and two enclosed dog runs on three-quarters of an acre. It is on a mission to make a fast-casual “eatertainment” oasis accessible to four-legged friends beyond the Lone Star State. After adding a Fort Worth location and making expansion plans in Austin in 2018 it decided to begin franchising. Last April, it signed a franchise development agreement with Fransmart, which helped grow the Five Guys burger restaurant and Qdoba Mexican Grill into national chains.

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“A concept’s growth process is largely dependent on identifying well-suited and passionate franchise partners, which can be a challenging task because they’re not only investing in your concept, but they’re also serving as a representation of your brand,” Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart said in a statement announcing the deal.

This week, the company announced a new outlet will open in Allen, Texas by fall 2020. This comes on the heels of announcing three new locations in Austin, Texas and Denver, Colorado.

“I am confident that I speak for much of Denver in saying that we need a concept like Mutts where you can drain your dog’s energy in 20 minutes while relaxing and having a cold beer after a hard day," Denver franchise owner Felice Halliday said in announcing the expansion.

PET OWNERS SPENDING BILLIONS ON THEIR FURRY FRIENDS

If beer isn't to a dog owner's liking, one could have a "Barkarita" for $8.25 while Fido enjoys a "Pupsicle,"  which the MUTT'S menu describes as a "frozen doggie delicacy" with "beef broth, peanut butter and an edible bone." It also has daily "Yappy Hours" with $4 cocktails and $3 dog treats. No menu item exceeds $10, but the use of the dog parks requires a membership: $5.95 daily, $15.95 monthly and $119.40 annually. Membership also offers exclusive access to special events and offers.

Co-founder Sepkowitz told QSR that the company has targeted 25 potential franchisees and that MUTTS was "targeting the Sunbelt states, primarily because of weather. MUTTS does have a significant outdoor component, so the more sunshine you have, the more successful it will be," he said.

According to Franchise America the costs of a MUTTS franchise are:

  • Investments: $906,124 – $1,487,989.
  • Franchise fee: $40,000.
  • Royalty fee: 7 percent.
  • Minimum Cash: $500,000.
  • Net Worth: $1,000,000.

Fransmart's Rowe told Restaurant News, “The combination of an adult restaurant and dog park creates a dual revenue stream and unlimited growth potential for entrepreneurial franchise investors.”

Maybe not so-surprisingly, MUTTS does not have this dog and restaurant space to itself. Texas is also the home the Yard Bar and Doghouse Drinkery. In Denver, there is The Watering Bowl and Kansas City, Missouri is the home of Bar K.

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