Jesse Koontz had never heard of
when he first visited the Burbank, California location with his buddy from the Marines. A former Sergeant in the United States Marine Corp., Koontz was looking for his next adventure when he agreed to tag along.
"I instantly fell in love with the brand," Koontz said. "Everything from the modern industrial build-out to the cool music really captured my attention. Once I tried the food - I was sold."
Like many military veterans, Koontz had explored other
. After four years in the military, he knew he had transferable skills and he'd always wanted to own his own business. He just hadn't found the right fit. He had looked at several concepts and was searching for a brand that stood out from a field already crowded with pizza concepts. Now, four years later, Koontz owns two Dog Haus locations in the Chicago area in addition to the licenses for the Live Nation venue in Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island.
"A lot of fast casual concepts have good food but no excitement," said Koontz. "Dog Haus had a great atmosphere and overall vibe. Plus, once I met Dog Haus' partners, I loved their transparency, vision and willingness to work hard alongside their franchisees. They have an open door and they personally dig into any challenge or problem that comes up. Even after four years, I still appreciate that about them."
The restaurant industry has seen a surge of military veterans joining the ranks as successful business owners. As veterans return home from active duty, the industry has launched programs aimed at recruiting veterans and wounded warriors by offering discounts, mentorship and training to veterans seeking to become business owners. The initiative has been a win win. Franchisors find that veterans, with their leadership and teamwork skills and propensity for following a system, make ideal franchisees.
Why do veterans make such great franchisees?
They lead by example
Koontz is case and point. As a military veteran, he joined the franchise world with leadership skills already in place. As a Sergeant in the Marines, Koontz was charged with leading and mentoring 40 men and women. These skills have been crucial in leading a team of employees in building a successful franchise.
"I get a lot of satisfaction out of mentoring our younger staff," Koontz said. "In the Marines, many people in my charge were right out of high school. It's very similar in the restaurant industry. I like guiding them and asking them to create a plan. It helps employees to think about what they want and have a purpose."
They're not afraid to get in the trenches
In the military, systems and procedure are a way of life. A good franchise follows that same model. A franchise model takes the guess work out of creating a successful business. Veterans, like Koontz, understand the importance of systems for the success of the franchise. He appreciates that operation checklists and training have been created and marketing materials are all uniform.
He's also willing to get in the trenches with his crew. Serving in the military requires a commitment and drive to do whatever it takes to succeed. A restaurant franchise requires the same commitment for success.
"Being in the military was great training for owning a franchise," Koontz said. "In the military, you start off at the bottom and are given the worst jobs. However, you get to work with great leaders and are given incredible opportunities to grow. I learned a lot and now use those skills to lead my team at Dog Haus. I also lead by example. That's another skill I learned in the Marines. I would never ask someone to do something I wouldn't do myself."
They see the big picture
When you are part of the military, you always know you are part of something bigger. Protecting our country alongside thousands of other enlisted soldiers is an honor to most in the armed services. A franchise system requires the same mentality. Moving one system in the same direction creates successful growth. A rising tide lifts all boats.
Koontz is passionate about creating success in his Dog Haus locations and supports the brand's growth throughout the country. He's also passionate about veterans and encourages his friends from the military to look at all options.
With Veteran's Day right around the corner, he's ready to celebrate the men and women around the world who have bravely supported our country. He's also a big fan of Veteran's Day deals.
"I love Veteran's Day," Koontz said. "It's my day. I love getting a free haircut and free donuts. At Dog Haus, we offer a free meal to any veteran. I like to ask for challenge coins. It's a military tradition. If someone asks to see your coin and you don't have it, you have to buy them a beer. I buy a lot of beer that day!"
For more information about becoming a Dog Haus franchisee,