Operating a franchise business can be good way for entrepreneurs to leave corporate jobs and “be their own boss” without the risks that pure start-ups face. One young franchisor has been beating its growth projections for 2009 and having tons of fun while doing it.
Games2U, an Austin, Texas based franchisor brings elaborate kids parties to homes, churches and community centers. The key to success is their mobile party platform which is either a brightly decorated van filled with games and a 4D theater, or a longer 5th wheel trailer capable of carrying more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Founders David and Stuart Pikoff are middle-aged men who quit their corporate jobs to found Games2U. According to David Pikoff, “We wanted to buy an existing franchise. We couldn’t find anything unique, dynamic, and interesting, so we started our own franchising business. We wanted it to be fun and we like kid’s entertainment.”
Kids play games in the Games2U mobile theater/gaming center
Franchisees seem to be impressed as 97 of them have formed with several buying a second or even third game vehicle. Games2U’s projections are to finish 2009 with 100 franchises. A franchise costs between $115,000 and $175,000 depending on the base vehicle and package. Systemwide, Games2U’s franchisees provide entertainment at 1,500 parties a month with the average two hour party costing about $300. David Pikoff believes they will hit their goal of 100 franchises for 2009 with several weeks left in the year. The company’s goal for 2010 is 300 new franchises.
One of Games2U’s shareholders knows a little about rapid growth. Joel Kocher is one of Games2U’s shareholders and strategic advisors. Kocher managed the rapid growth of several multi-billion dollar companies. For seven years, he was Dell Computer’s #2 executive behind Michael Dell as President of Worldwide Marketing, Sales and Service.
Having fun is what Games2U is all about. One half of their 5,000 square foot headquarters in Austin, Texas is called the “fun factory” where all the top secret games are created. You can hardly call it R&D.
David Pikoff uses his own 7 year old son and 10 year old daughter as game testers. His kids call him the “coolest” dad in town.
At a time when most businesses are struggling, and most business owners are not having much fun struggling to keep their businesses afloat is nice to hear about a company that started during this recession, is profitable, and where the owners are having as much fun as the kids who get to play their really cool games.
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