Dan Brinton is the CEO of Fractured Prune, a ‘design-your-own doughnut’ franchise with 25 locations in the US, and counting.
Though the brand was created in 1976, the expansion has practically doubled since Brinton took over in 2013.
But despite the recent growth and age of the company, Fractured Prune doesn’t have a corporate headquarters.
That’s right: these 25 franchisees operate without the usual guidance of a bunch of marketing professionals and customer service reps developing strategies, stationed in some big city.
The brand’s innovative infrastructure method, what Brinton refers to as a “virtual franchise,” was inspired by years spent wasting precious time and money sitting in dull and ineffective business meetings.
“The idea came out of years of ‘meeting just to meet,’ and hating it,” he says. “Since my business partner and I both have experience with a corporate office, we decided we wanted to do something different. We wanted to be totally and completely engaged with our business.”
But how does the brand get managed? Brinton believes in a very hands-on approach. Instead of instructing his company from the comfort of a cushy office with a view, he actually travels around the US visiting his stores — the locations vary from South Carolina to Maryland to Colorado — to address the specific needs of each one.
“I’ve found that it’s actually easier not having an office,” he admits. “With our system, we are always connected to our customers and franchisees. Instead of dealing with in-office issues and being consumed with general administrative tasks, we are actually able to focus our efforts on the business and on our franchisees.”
In fact, Brinton reveals that he spent 223 days travelling last year, meeting with different franchises. You couldn’t do that while running a typical office, he notes.
“Our ‘virtual franchise’ allows us to see first-hand what is working well [and] what needs to be changed as we travel from state-to-state visiting our franchisees,” he explains.
He says the lack of a big-boss office actually gives him more control over the business, and “allows us to see our plans at the execution level so we can amend plans as needed in the field, instead of sitting behind a desk and hoping all goes well.”
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