Mel Carter always pondered what it would take to become a franchisee. Now, he no longer has to ponder with 18 Bojangles locations under his belt.
As AfroTech previously told you, the milestone was accomplished alongside Quality Control’s Kevin “Coach K” Lee, in 2021.
During an exclusive conversation with AfroTech, the Second Estate Records founder shared his sentiments on being a part of one of the top quick-service restaurants (QSRs) in the world.
Carter reflects on becoming a franchisee: “I used to go to McDonald’s and always used to be like, ‘Man, what would it take to own one of these?’ And it’s still the same. You’d have to have like a million dollars in the bank to own a franchise. And I remember it was like the wildest thing in the world. It was like, man, gotta have a million dollars for them to even talk to you. So, I think Bojangles being the best brand, best QSR brand in the world, I think I’m really blessed to be part of it, and I think somewhere deep down — it was part of my bucket list,” Carter said.
Sweet Chick was the blueprint: Carter’s interest in Bojangles started from his investment in John Seymour and Nas’ restaurant Sweet Chick. Witnessing their success and how they ran the business inspired him to enter the Bojangles space.
“Sweet Chick is all John Seymour, which means he’s a friend of mine before anything. He has a great vision and he’s been able to execute that vision. So, I’m just lucky to be a part of that. I’m just an investor with one of my partners. But just watching John Seymour execute Sweet Chick to such a high level in such perfection, it motivated me to even go get in the Bojangles space,” Carter expressed.
Carter On What It Really Takes To Become A Franchisee
Now, being at the forefront of 18 Bojangles locations, Carter reflects on some previous notions that he had about becoming a franchisee. He learned it isn’t about having a million dollars in liquid cash. The key is to have the assets that strengthen your purchasing power when addressing a company.
“There are many different ways to approach it, but it’s as simple as it’s not necessarily having a million dollars in a bank, but being worth a million dollars,” Carter said. “That could be your house, it could be just different investments, it could be certain things. What I did first is put the structure in place.”
Took two years to secure a deal with Bojangles: To put himself in the best position possible, Carter worked to find an operator and a CEO for the company, among others, before reaching out to Bojangles. The process wasn’t overnight and took two years to close a deal.
“It was a very long process that again, several times it felt it was completely over, and I just kept pushing and pushing,” Carter told AfroTech.
Different Ways To Become A Franchisee
Even if your assets are not on par with Carter, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. There are other avenues people can explore to reach the same destination.
“There are many different ways. You could raise money among friends and family. Banks are the number one thing, I always advise people use banks,” Carter said. “You have the right deal, the banks are gonna support you. You have the right structure in place, the banks are gonna support you.”
He added: “So, going back to that million dollar thing, that was just what I heard when I was younger and I think somewhere it still says something like that, but it’s a lot of different ways, not around it, but to have that valuation to be able to approach these companies.”
For the full interview of Carter’s role as an executive in the music industry, previously serving at Republic Records and now with his label, Second Estate Records, plus more, head to Blavity TV.