b.good, a Boston burger chain with a location on Dunster Street in Harvard Square, announced on Wednesday that it would begin to franchise later this year.
The burger restaurant originally opened eight years ago as a healthy alternative to traditional fast food restaurants.
At the time, co-owners Anthony S. Ackil ’99 and Jon J. Olinto wanted to reinvent fast food with fresh and healthy ingredients to fill a niche in the market for food “made by people, not factories.”
Ackil and Olinto hope to sell two franchises and open at least one new branch before the end of the year.
According to Ackil, the first franchises will probably be located in the Boston area so that the current co-owners can easily offer support.
However, after a few years, Ackil said, new locations would open outside the Boston area.
As the restaurant expands, Ackil said that he expects franchise owners to share his commitment to nutritious food and individual relationships.
He added that new franchisees should have the entrepreneurial drive to overcome the obstacles in the “tough business” of restaurant management.
Franchisees will undergo a rigorous training process of several weeks until they have learned the skills to operate the restaurant without direct supervision.
“We’re going to take it slow and make sure the franchisees have the right brand and culture,” Ackil said.
Ackil and Olinto have spent the last eight years streamlining their business model in anticipation of the day they might pass their b.good onto other entrepreneurs.
In the last eight years, the pair has created a strong brand that should facilitate an easy transition to the franchise model, said Denise A. Jillson, Executive Director of the Harvard Square Business Association.
“They’ve worked very hard and have a done a wonderful job in branding their product,” Jillson said.
The owners have narrowed down a lengthy menu—which once included steak dinners and rice and beans—to a few simple options made with natural meats, cheeses, and seasonal vegetables from local farmers.
They have also worked through kinks in their labor recruitment and marketing. For example, they have played with their marketing strategy to appeal to the younger clientele at their Harvard location.
“We had always talked about seriously exploring franchising. You have to have a really strong economics and unique concept and we think we’re ready,” Ackil said.
—Staff writer Laura K. Reston can be reached at email@example.com.