Zane Tankel began showcasing his entrepreneurial prowess way back in the 1980s when he started a small printing company, according to The New York Times.
Many years and new ventures later, Tankel got into franchising, becoming the king of Applebee’s franchises in New York City and its metro area.
He now owns 34 of them, including the immensely profitable one in Times Square. On average, Tankel’s restaurants double Applebee’s nationwide revenue numbers.
So how’d he become such an incredibly successful franchisee? By taking risks, and not accepting the status quo.
Here’s a part of his interview with The NYT:
“Maybe this kind of thing isn’t for the average franchisee but we pushed the envelope right from the start, took those protocols to the next level, and I think that’s entrepreneurship. We changed the uniforms for instance, got rid of the baggy shirts and ties. If you’re sitting at a bar, you want the woman behind it to look good, not buttoned up.
I remember when we started karaoke nights in Staten Island. We had a huge line outside, but the franchisor didn’t permit karaoke and they said we had to stop. I told them, ‘I’m paying you a fee to do business, so unless you want to pay us for the customers we are going to lose, it’s not appropriate for you to ask us to stop.’ They cited us for going against franchise policy. I was known as a troublemaker.”
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