After Ray Omar completed his six-year service as a U.S. Army Special Forces communications officer in 2006, he took a consulting job with the government and moved to Maryland. Once he got there, however, he noticed that his new home looked nothing like Queens, New York, where he grew up. One thing that stood out to Omar in particular was the fact that there were no Dunkin' Donuts.
The coffee and baked goods franchise business was everywhere in New York, according to Omar, so he contacted the brand and found out that they were in the midst of expanding their footprint in the Midwest. He signed up and began his new career as a franchisee.
As Omar quickly found out, his military background was a factor in tangible success. In fact, the National Restaurant Associated reports that 19 percent of veterans have management positions in food service while another 14 percent hold supervisory roles (http://www.restaurant.org/Industry-Impact/Giving-Back/Military-Foundation/Veterans-in-the-Industry). Comparatively, only 10 percent of non-veterans in restaurant jobs hold management positions.
The military, noted Omar, focuses on building leaders and making sure that service members can motivate and inspire their team around common goals, and these skills and tools translate well into the civilian business side.
It has worked well for the 38-year-old so far. He now owns three stores in Maryland and has nine stores in development for the future. He recently expanded into Tennessee, and his first location there will be near Fort Campbell in Clarksville, which was his home base during his time in the Army. He always imagined himself owning multiple locations, as his father opened a small chicken store in the Bronx before moving into a coffee distribution company.
Omar is also a strong proponent of VetFran, an initiative of the International Franchise Association that aims to make franchise opportunities more accessible to veterans and their spouses. For some veterans, transitioning back to society and forging a new career path can be hard after returning home from the service. Omar feels that VetFran is an excellent networking tool, and the financial discounts offered to veterans via participating franchisers can give some veterans the nudge they need to take the plunge.
Dunkin' Donuts Franchise Opportunities
Dunkin' Donuts, one of the leading coffee and baked goods brands globally, currently has opportunities available in several markets, including locations in Colorado, Texas and North Carolina. To qualify for a franchise, applicants must have a net worth of at least $500,000, with at least $250,000 of that liquid. Franchise fees and the total investment vary widely by store location and format, but the initial franchisee fee generally ranges from $40,000 to $90,000, and the total investment goes from $228,621 to $1,692,314.