Inventory: Up In Smoke!

    Inventory:  Up in Smoke!

Inventory. That monthly, sometimes weekly, exercise that almost every operator dreads doing — especially if month-end falls on a weekend!  But it’s a necessary task to making sure that your cost of sales is in line and every good operator, GM and chef should appreciate knowing how their operation is performing.

There’s a Bigger Picture

But what are your reasons for completing inventory? Is it just so you know how your operation is performing? Is it to help discover missing inventory? Maybe you discover that one of the line cooks isn’t using a key ingredient in your signature dish…whatever the reason, let me add one more: Insurance claims…yep, insurance claims!

Recently, the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, one of the Crown Jewels on the “Strip”, caught fire! Imagine a luxury hotel with (guessing) a $100 Million budget, some of the best, most attentive staff in the world, and hearing that it caught fire!  How the..?  What the…?

When It Hits Close To Home!

Imagine you get the call. It’s 2 am and it’s the local fire department telling you that your restaurant is on fire! But you just left your restaurant after a great Saturday night dinner service, inventory completed, and it’s now on fire!?! Thank God no one was injured, but your business is your life!  Your only solace may be that you have your Agent’s personal cell phone number and you can start the claims process.

What does any of this have to do with inventory?  Remember we said that in this scenario, you had just completed inventory.  And because of that, the property coverage that you have built in your insurance policy should have a contingent for your inventory!  So why is this important? Because, if you have an extensive wine list with high-end wines, how would you prove that you had them?  How could you prove that the list of super-premium tequilas you’re so well known for was actually in the building?  Your inventory!

Inventory Coverage is Key!

Many carriers, albeit not highly advertised, will allow for a little-known coverage form that covers your inventory (i.e., wine, spirits, and high-end food products like saffron, truffles, and other exotic ingredients).  These items can add up, and quickly!  This coverage form is outside of your regularly scheduled property limits yet it allows you to recover inventory items in addition to your equipment costs, FF&E, and other business and personal property.

What happens if you don’t have this coverage form on your policy? Don’t worry, all is not lost! Your property coverage limits should be such to help replace the cost…but you’ll likely only recover up to the limits of the property listed – and only if you have business and personal property protection!

So, you see, keeping a proper inventory, when paired with the right insurance coverage forms, can save you from a major financial hit if a disaster should strike!  And believe me, if a fire can rock a Billion Dollar Hotel, it can happen to you, though we hope and pray it NEVER does.

Are You Covered?  Are You Sure?

Now ask yourself this question: Does my coverage include my inventory?  Are you sure?  Have you seen the coverage form specifically on your policy?  Have you asked your agent?   No, you say?  Call your Agent and specifically ask about this scenario. They should be able to tell you right away if your policy does or does not include coverage for inventory and if they’re not sure, well, it might be time to take a better look at your coverage and probably your Agent too.


This article was contributed to the National Franchise Institute by Tony Martinez with Cornerstone Insurance & Financial Group   (970) 370-7065


How To Avoid a DIY Branding Disaster!

   How To Avoid a DIY Branding Disaster!

Once Upon a Time . . .

Once upon a time there were two business owners named Dan and Stan. Although there are some basic similarities between both men and their individual companies, this story illustrates how differently each approached the marketing and branding for their businesses and how their respective decisions produced vastly different growth outcomes.


First, let’s start with some background information. Dan and Stan each run their own Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) shops. Whenever a hailstorm hits in the area, both men get busy removing dents from their customers’ cars by “massaging” out the dents without affecting the original paint and finishes of the vehicles…a valuable service that saves customers time and money.

Many New Businesses Start Out With Limited Cash Reserves

When they first opened their doors five years ago, Dan and Stan were like many start-ups: limited cash reserves that were allocated to expenses such as specialized equipment, rent, utilities, insurance, etc.


When Dan started his business, the term “storm chaser” had somewhat of a nice ring to it. While he couldn’t take credit for creating the storms, he was definitely not opposed to making a great living because of them. Convinced this was the perfect, needs-based recurring opportunity – which was covered by most people’s insurance – Dan saw his business as a “build it and they will come to ME!” opportunity. To save some money, Dan felt he could put together his own logo and he hired a college kid to build his website.  Although he knew everything about PDR, Dan admitted he knew nothing about branding a company. “How hard could it be?” he thought.

But Some Entrepreneurs Also Start With a Plan!

Stan, on the other hand, saw things differently. He heard that other PDR shops were opening up around town. “With more competition,” he thought, “I have to find a way to stand out…to be recognized and remembered by people so when the next storm hits, my company is the one everyone will remember and then come to me. Besides, some day I’d like to grow, perhaps add another shop or two…maybe even franchise my PDR business all over the state.” Although his vision seemed far off in the future, Stan decided to plan for it now. He figured this would help save money in the long run by avoiding costly re-dos and confusion down the road. Like Dan, Stan knew everything about PDR, but all things being equal, Stan understood that a well-developed brand would give him the competitive edge he needed to grow his business.


Stan performed his due dilligence: he asked around and searched online for reputable branding companies. He looked through each company’s work and called references. After meeting with a few, Stan found a branding team he liked a lot. He felt comfortable with them, asked them questions, expressed his opinions, and shared his dream. He felt they understood his vision and had the ability to create a strong brand for him that would reach larger audiences and build greater value in his company. With only start-up resources, they were also willing to work within Stan’s budget by spreading the work out over time so as not to strain his finances. Stan’s branding team researched his competition and discovered hidden opportunities they could take advantage of. They developed a strategy that would align with Stan’s short-term and long-term goals and designed an exciting, eye-catching brand and messaging that held peoples’ attention, stood out from his competition, and represented the values of his company perfectly. They also created a website with internet marketing capabilities that targeted the types of customers Stan was seeking and introduced special offers to convert website visitors into customers – all the things that Stan knew he needed but didn’t have a clue how to go about doing.

Others Wish They Built a Solid Foundation

Fast forward a couple of years, Dan was exhausted from running his business and trying to do business development simultaneously. No matter how hard he worked, Dan was getting by but he sure didn’t feel like he was getting ahead. What he thought would be an easy, cash cow business turned out to be the financial equivalent of working for someone else – except he had all of the headaches and sleepness nights of being a business owner.


Stan’s well branded business grew exponentially and not long after, his vision became a reality. His strong, consistent brand not only got the attention of customers, but also franchise buyers. People recognized and appreciated the powerful qualities that Stan’s brand stood for: credibility, trust, quality work, and professionalism. They wanted to be a part of his success.  As a result, Stan opened up several franchise shops and the rest is success history.

Pay Now — Or Pay Later!

The moral of this story?  Stan acted on his dream and understood that a strong brand would become the most valuable (and visible) asset of his business.  As for Dan, the term “storm chaser” no longer holds the allure it once had.  Word has it he still runs that one-man shop with hopes of selling it…someday.


This article was contributed to the National Franchise Institute by Greg Armgardt at Blue Ocean Branding   (303) 791-9725


Inc. Magazine’s ‘Inc 5000’ List

   Franchisors & Franchisees:  Get The Recognition You Deserve!

The Inc 5000 list is the gold standard of business recognition and entrepreneurial achievement.  Now in its 36th year, the Inc 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies has given exposure — sometimes for the very first time — to many of America’s best known brands by appearing on the list!  The National Franchise Institute is excited to work with Inc. Magazine to help ensure the franchise industry is well represented in this  year’s list!
The application process for the 2017 Inc. 5000 list is currently open but the application deadline is fast approaching.  Franchisors and Franchisees are invited to apply for the opportunity to join the hundreds of franchise professionals — from the niche to the iconic — who appear on the list year in and year out.

The National Francbise Institute is pleased to partner with Inc. to offer  a 20% discount on your application.  Click here or visit to submit your application by the May 1st deadline.  Applying is easy and, for all honorees, it is a great way to boost morale and gain broad exposure (customers, vendors, investors…).


Be Sure To Use Promo Code NFI5000

Profitable Turnkey Colorado Fitness Franchise FOR SALE


  • PROFITABLE Colorado Fitness Concept!  Achieved profitability in only 2 1/2 months (net income of $10K/month after all expenses)
  • Turnkey
  • Part-time commitment
  • Strong customer base
  • Trained staff
  • Includes one existing unit plus two additional territories to be developed
  • Asking price:  $600K
  • Franchisor is ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine and has a steady track record of growth

The owner is a self-proclaimed “solopreneur” and is selling because he has decided that he is better suited for an online business and is possibly leaving the state of Colorado.

This is a confidential offer since the current employees are not aware that the business is for sale.  Financials and other details can be shared with interested parties upon execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Request NDA Here