by André Vener, Partner, Dog Haus
Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” At Dog Haus, these words couldn’t be more true. Our brand would not be the award-winning concept it is today with locations across the country, including restaurants, entertainment venues and virtual kitchens, without the special partnerships and relationships that we’ve carefully cultivated over the past 10 years.
Dog Haus itself is founded on a partnership. Me and my longtime friends – Quasim Riaz and Hagop Giragossian – launched the brand together as three equal partners. When times get tough, we have each other to lean on, and when times are great, we’re quick to celebrate our successes with one another. We believe at the end of the day, our relationships with each other, our franchisees, vendors, mentors, venues and the communities we serve are what’s most important to us.
Here are five ways Dog Haus maintains positive relationships with national and local partners:
We choose partners who share similar core values and beliefs. At Dog Haus, we team up with businesses that believe in things we are passionate about and empower us to be better people and a better brand. We’ve worked hard to create a culture around shared values. They include our commitment to our partners and staff, our active role in the communities we serve and giving back to those who need it. The quality of our food is of the highest standard with the best possible products and cleanest ingredients. Work-life balance is a very serious component for us with family always coming first, and we are transparent and honest with one another. We expect all the same from our partners. For example, King’s Hawaiian supports the community with us by not charging us for bread for our Chef Collaboration Series items, which give back to our national charity partner No Kid Hungry. Additionally, we were among the first brands to work with Impossible and Beyond Meat, both of which help us offer top products to more of our guests.
We select partners who fit our brand. After three years of operating Dog Haus, we decided to franchise, bringing on new partnerships within our business. We take extra time to select franchisees that understand and align with our brand. We’ve always been a family-oriented brand, and we know our franchisees’ time and their family’s time is precious. Because they’re putting their livelihood on the line to represent our brand, we want to be sure that Dog Haus is the right fit for them.
We foster social relationships. With all of our partners, we like to develop a relationship outside of just business. Whether it’s staying out late, sharing personal stories or checking in on each other, we believe that when you work with friends, you fight for each other a little harder. Because all of our hot dogs and burgers are made with King’s Hawaiian’s rolls, we’ve had an exclusive partnership with their brand since day one. We have grown so close with the company that we both regularly go to each other’s offices to cook for one another and share new ideas. I play basketball with the CEO of KitchenUnited – Dog Haus’ first virtual kitchen partner. We’re also in a number of Live Nation venues, and our relationship with the Live Nation team helped get Dog Haus into the Rose Bowl. Being social and being there for the people we work with is fun for us, and it adds another layer to the partnership.
We seek guidance from industry veterans. We know we don’t have it all figured out, so it’s important to make meaningful, personal connections with those who do have more of the answers. In 2018, we brought on Jan Risi, CEO and President of Independent Purchasing Cooperative, as our fourth partner because she has invaluable experience in franchising multiple brands. When we need direction, we give her a call to help us flesh out ideas and give us advice on business strategies. We also like to surround ourselves with top industry leaders which is why we go to several conferences a year to learn more about businesses, meet new people, and have fun. With Jan and other industry veterans in our network, we’re able to easily fast-track the answers we need. And, when asked, we offer our advice in return.
We encourage community involvement. At the national level, we work with Top Chef winners and celebrity mixologists to create limited-time items and then donate a portion of the proceeds to No Kid Hungry. Locally, our franchisees are involved in several different charities on an ongoing basis at the local level. We also love to see our guests get to know one another. Dog Haus Pasadena Biergarten has a Run Club to build relationships within the community. A group of people gather for a run at the restaurant every Tuesday, and then enjoy an extended happy hour once they’re finished. Many relationships have grown from it, with several couples meeting and some even getting married at the restaurant.
Much of our success comes from creating invaluable partnerships. Like the old adage, you get what you give. We like to give a lot to our partners, and we know when the time comes, they will always have our backs. It’s a win-win for everyone!
For Dog Haus franchise information, please visit https://doghaus.com/franchise.html