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By Benetrends • December 26, 2014

Benetrends Client Spotlight: Rich Miller - Muscle Maker Grill


Name: Rich Miller, Franchise Owner
Company: Muscle Maker Grill
Location: Triad, NC

Why did you decide to open your own business?

I worked for large companies my whole career and was intrigued by the opportunity to make decisions that lead to the success of my own business.

What did you do prior to deciding to open Muscle Maker Grill?

Before opening my own Muscle Maker Grill restaurant, I was employed in the risk management sector of the finance industry. I specialized in building new processes or improving processes that were in place.

Why did you decide to join a franchise system and what specifically sold you on Muscle Maker Grill?

I had been looking at franchise opportunities for years. The Muscle Maker Grill franchise model was appealing because while I had the background to control the business from a financial and risk management perspective, I didn’t have the experience to run a restaurant. Muscle Maker Grill has the qualified personnel to help me mange that side of the business. I get to marry my financial background with their restaurant industry expertise.

I decided to become a Muscle Maker Grill franchisee for both business investment and personal reasons. From a business standpoint, when I looked at the current restaurant industry I noticed that it was evolving around two concepts. One was that many of the newer, successful franchises were fast casual restaurant concepts. The second was that the customer was increasingly looking for healthy food alternatives. Muscle Maker Grill was founded 20 years ago with the mission of making great food with your health in mind. The founder, Rod Silva, was ahead of the pack with the concept. Muscle Maker Grill has been franchising since 2007 and there are already over 200 restaurants open or in development throughout the country. As an investor, you look to be a part of a growing concept from the start.

From a personal standpoint, I’m dedicating all of my stores to the memory of my grandmother Mary and my brother-in-law Kevin. Many of my fondest memories as a child were the Sundays that my family including aunts, uncles and cousins would spend at my grandmother’s house. I enjoyed the time I spent cooking with my grandmother and she taught me how important it was for her to cook with fresh ingredients. She freshly grew the majority of the ingredients she used in her dishes. From the tomatoes ripening on her window sill to the eggplants, peppers and fresh herbs grown in her garden. Of course, the payoff was a great meal spent with the whole family. My brother-in-law Kevin was one of the kindest, most warmhearted people you ever wanted to meet. He was always there to give advice or lend a hand to anyone in need. He lived to be around people and one of his greatest joys was having a great meal with family and friends. Rod and his team at Muscle Maker Grill make you feel like you are part of the family. It just fits ─ the concept, food, clean eating and family atmosphere.

*We are a brand new concept in the state of North Carolina. I will be starting the first phase of development in North Carolina which will cover the region from the Triad east to the Triangle. Additional phases will include Charlotte and locations further east to the coast.
The person who has driven my experience is Ben Ross, Manager of Franchise Development at Muscle Maker Grill - he’s been my sounding board.
Muscle Maker Grill was featured on Food Network’s Giving You the Business in June 2013. We were also recently ranked No.14 in the 2013 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers.

How did you plan to finance your businesses?

Primarily, 60-65% of my first several stores will be funded by utilizing the rainmaker plan and rolling over a portion of my retirement savings. The balance will be funded through personal savings and SBA loans. Ben Ross of Muscle Maker Grill referred me to Benetrends for my financing needs and that’s when I began working with Kim Graham. Kim’s professionalism, patience and product knowledge was the reason I decided to use the rainmaker program for my financing. I have many CPA’s in my family who were skeptical of the process, so if it wasn’t for Kim’s dedication and reassurance I wouldn’t have decided to fund my business with my retirement savings.

What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve ever received?

1- At all costs, try to minimize as many risks as you can at any endeavor. If you can get a head of or eliminate as many risks or variables as possible, you’ll fare much better.
2- You have to make sure that your employees are engaged in the process and adding value to the process. You will only go as far as your employees will take you.

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