Franchise Success: “It’s Not About the Money”


Chris Jeffery is the founder and CEO of OrderUp, a fairly new franchise on the rise. At just barely over 30, Chris represents a new force in franchising. Energetic, fun-loving, positive, enthusiastic, passionate and humble – that’s the person I got to meet last week. No one could have been better to begin this study on franchise success.

OrderUp started as a licensor in 2009 and was recently converted into a franchise. It is a cool concept based on a win-win-win proposition and founded on solid innovative technology that brings patrons to restaurants that otherwise would never find them. Hungry folks have the ability to find what they are searching for at whatever hours they are looking. “Think of Orbitz or Expedia for delivery and takeout restaurants,” Chris describes.

“Success is not all about the money,” is Chris’ answer to my first question.  “Money simply enables us to do what we want to do. It provides a sense of freedom and control.” A fan of Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh, Chris agrees with Tony’s premise that success is all about happiness.  And, happiness, according to Hsieh’s Framework 1 is all about:

  • Perceived control
  • Perceived progress
  • Connectedness, and
  • Being part of something bigger than yourself.

To Chris this is what the OrderUp franchise offers: a framework for happiness.

When Chris was in college, his father lost his job and this event was devastating to his entire family. “It put a lot of weight on me. My entire family felt like our lives were out of control. This was a tough time for me.” But, like with all winners I know, this awful event was the catalyst for Chris to create something great.

“I was working as a waiter while attending school. I realized that my only obvious next step was to do what everybody else did: attend a career fair, interview with a big employer, start working for them and  give up whatever control I could have over my career, to a certain degree.” So, Chris chose differently. He developed something of his own, but he went beyond that and created something that could offer an opportunity to others to take the road less traveled and jump into the driver’s seat of their lives.  “I could have raised capital and hired employees to grow Order-Up. But, doing so would have been going against what I believe. I would be asking people to do what I was not willing to do: give up a good amount of control of their destinies,” Chris added.

With 27 locations[1] in less than four years and through the toughest economy franchising has experienced, I would say that OrderUp is off to a great start.

“Our challenges are not unlike those faced by other new franchisors,” Chris shares.  “They start with finding the right franchisees: those people who believe in our vision, and who, like us, are not all about the dollars, but instead, who have a passion for what we do.”

“Making sure our systems are easy to follow and to use is our constant focus,” Chris continues. “You think because it makes sense to you, it will make sense to others, but that is not necessarily true. So, creating the most efficient and effective systems, while making them fun and meaningful, has also been one of our challenges.”

For Chris, as the founder and CEO of OrderUp, finding a voice and the appropriate language to convey the mission of his company has been a personal goal. “It is not about what we do, but it is about ‘why’ we do it. The ‘why’ gives meaning to the ‘what.’ So, as franchisors, we must find a way to explain why our franchisees need to follow the system,” Chris adds. “This explanation needs to be compelling; otherwise franchisees get stuck in the ‘what’ and never get engaged in the ‘why’.”

If Chris had to do it all over again, he says he would have started as a franchisor from the beginning. “We had a great product and we thought we could license it. But in doing so, we missed out building the strength of the brand from day one.” For Chris, the team, the brand, the joint effort of something bigger than just a single business, that’s where the fun and meaning lie.

For those people who are considering franchising their business, Chris has the following advice:

  • Make sure you find a way to sell your vision to your team, your franchisees and your customers as early as possible.
  • Have your systems in place to support your growth.
  • Never outsell what you can support.  You will just demoralize your team and all your chances of success will simply evaporate.

Chris is a very wise young entrepreneur. He has aligned himself with an experienced franchise team to ensure he has the foundation necessary for growth. He is not afraid to recognize his weaknesses and find a way to strengthen them.  He says, “We have the best of both worlds – a young, eager team at HQ supported by a group of experienced franchise experts.” Indeed, what a great combination that is.

For Chris, waking up every morning knowing that he is empowering people to take control of their lives and to achieve happiness through owning their own business, that’s what success feels like.

Chris Jeffery is a force to be reckoned with. There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the future leaders of franchising. He is shaping franchising back to its original essence: a win-win proposition, a fun pathway to happiness.


[1] Some of these locations are still transitioning from licensing into franchising units.


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