4. Steps to Become a Franchisee
The following explanation walks you through all of the steps that a person goes through, from applying for a franchise all the way to the Grand Opening, to become a Franchisee. Please read through these carefully to gain a thorough understanding of the process and determine if franchise ownership, and the commitment required, is right for you.
1. Apply to Be Awarded Your Franchise
AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETE: 3 Months
Needless to say, it takes a very, very special person to be awarded a Cold Stone Creamery®. That’s because we consider owners our partners in the common cause of Cold Stone’s ongoing success. Here’s how the preliminaries to the Award Process work, literally from this day, if you should happen to apply online right now:
- You start the process today by submitting an application by e-mail, mail or fax.
- Our Development Manager/Area Developer responds.
- The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is sent to you.
- Cold Stone Creamery receives your signed acknowledgement of receipt form (Item 23).
- Our Development Manager/Area Developer runs a credit check on you.
- You prepare and submit financials and business plan to Development Manager/Area Developer for final approval.
After waiting for some interval while our Franchise Development Team studies your application, you will hear back from us.
Congratulations! Let us suppose that you’ve been awarded a Cold Stone Creamery and are now an official franchisee. From this moment on, it’s as though a conveyer belt has turned on, processing you from task to task, assembling your Cold Stone Creamery. Now is when the fun begins!
2. Secure a Premier Location
AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETION: 4 Months
You’ve heard it a thousand times: Location! Location! Location!
Passed from the capable hands of the Franchise Development Team to our Real Estate team, you’ll be guided through finding a great location in your area. A member of our team or an authorized broker will assist you in your site selection. If you’d like to greatly expedite the process, go to our Ready-to-Own section for available pre-leased sites. Who knows, we may already have a Ready-to-Own site in your area.
3. Negotiate Your Lease
AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETION: 3 Months
You get to use our team to set your terms, and our team is one of the best in the business. Our expert Lease Negotiators are here to help you secure your lease under the most advantageous terms possible. You will work with an authorized broker and retain an approved Cold Stone Creamery real estate attorney to help you through this process.
4. We Review the Lease
AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETION: 2 Weeks
This stage is where we cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s, and it’s almost completely stress free. Our Real Estate team reviews the final lease to make any last revisions before the lease is signed, putting you one step closer to opening your doors.
5. Nail Down the Site Specifics, from Blueprints to Training
AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETION: 4 Weeks
Now, with the help of your Construction Coordinator, you begin the build-out process, including site plans and design documents. Upon the signing and execution of your lease documents, you become eligible to enroll in Cold Stone University®.
6. Enrollment in Cold Stone University. How Cool Is Our School?
AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETION: 6 - 8 Weeks
Very cool. You’re about to embark on two weeks of intensive training in operational excellence, learning to live up to and exceed Cold Stone Creamery’s customer expectations. You’ll be on-site at our worldwide Headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. And be prepared for two of the best weeks of your life!
7. Manage Your Logistics: The Checklist of Success
AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETION: 10 - 12 Weeks
From your Real Estate Coordinator you’ll connect with your Logistics contact, or Store Opening Coordinator, to take you through the entire construction process. Together you’ll cover a checklist including everything you need to handle from the signing to the opening.
8. Build out Your Store
AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETION: 3 Weeks
Your Construction Coordinator will help you with your official construction documents, including mechanical, plumbing and electric plans, as well as help with any build-out/design questions. You can also count on them to make an on-site visit to review your checklist with your licensed contractor.
9. Forever After, Live up to the Cold Stone Brand
AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETION: Ongoing!
You are now an ambassador of the Cold Stone brand, a great honor and a great responsibility. The first step in promoting and marketing your store is to always make sure operational practices are in place and crew members are properly trained to live up to the promise of The Ultimate Ice Cream Experience®.
Employing Cold Stone Creamery’s philosophy to profit by making people happy, it is also important that you connect with your community on a number of levels by exploring:
- Local store marketing programs and information on national promotions found on the Cold Stone Intranet
- Practices other franchisees have found to be successful Local Co-op affiliations
- Other grassroots tactics and a wealth of other practices that you’ll learn about in Cold Stone University
It is important that you understand all of the above steps when making your decision about whether or not to apply to become a Cold Stone Franchisee. However, many of the steps will not apply to you if you opt to buy a pre-existing store.