Sweet Lorraine's provides simple franchise system with continual training
By Janay Robinson


Can food really make you feel happy? Most people believe the answer to this question is yes. We call them comfort foods. Comfort foods provide happiness on a psychological level and triggers memories of happy times or a specific person. Although comfort foods (or the events attached to them) vary from person to person, one of the most popular comfort foods in America is macaroni and cheese. Sweet Lorraine's has mastered the perfect ingredients, measured just right to bring us Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez!

This Detroit-based franchise is in the fast-casual market and "offers a strong niche position in the fastest growing segment of the restaurant industry". Chef Lorraine, founder of Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez!, has been serving up fabulous mac and cheese dishes to happy customers since 2010. She has found a way to take the classic macaroni and cheese dish and turn it into twisted comfort food. Sweet Lorraine's menu includes salads, wraps, soups, desserts, and, of course mac and cheese.

"What's nice about our systems is they're very simple," explains Paul Bensman, Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez! Director of Franchising. "We don't have a huge menu with hundreds of ingredients. Almost all of our ingredients are used in various ways to make different dishes. For example, some of the ingredients used in the Mac & Cheese is used in the wraps or used in the salads." Sweet Lorraine's strategically structured their franchise system to operate in this manner. The concept allows for much lower food costs and food waste, in turn leaving more money in the pockets of the franchisee owner.

How does Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez! train their franchisees?

Lorraine Platman and Gary Sussman photo from dbusiness.com     
Founders Lorraine Platman and her husband Gary Sussman.   
Sweet Lorraine's mission to customers is to provide a simple, fun, affordable and delicious dining experience. 

Sweet Lorraine's mission to franchisees is to provide an easily manageable system that includes a full menu of support and help with site selection, store planning, proper training and staff management.

New franchisees start their journey out with two weeks of onboarding training at an already existing location. While training, franchisees will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the training team and founders on all aspects of running a successful franchise. Sweet Lorraine's rapid growth is in part due to their purposely simple concept. All menu items are prepared in less than three minutes, making way for easy onboard and staff training.

Another contribution to Sweet Lorraine's growth are their low food costs and low inventory requirements. "We train our franchisees to look at their food costs," adds Bensman. "We take the time to analyze it on a weekly basis with each franchisee. Our goal is to keep food cost below 30%." Franchisees are introduced to the analytics behind tracking and achieving goals during onboarding training.

Once onboarding is complete, the franchisee and their staff, along with a training team, will assist with preparation and the grand opening. The time frame for this is usually two weeks, but more support is offered if needed. Sweet Lorraine's prides themselves on treating their partners like family and promises to deliver value for each franchise through continual training and ongoing support. Bensman adds, "With us being a smaller franchise company, you're not just another number. We treat each franchise location as if they were our own (corporate) restaurants. We go to great lengths to ensure you feel welcomed and always satisfied."

Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez! was first established in 2010 and opened their first franchise location in 2013. They currently operate with 3 franchised stores and 5 corporate owned. The franchise fee is $39,000, additional locations cost $24,500, and the total investment is about $160,000 to $400,000. Sweet Lorraine's is currently pursuing additional universities, student unions, and airports to partner with. 

For more information about Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez! visit macncheez.com

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About the Author    Janay Burch, Connection staff writer
    Janay Burch is a content writer for Latitude's Connection Newsletter. Burch has personally blogged for over 10 years and contributed to a professional marketing blog for 3 years prior to her position with Latitude in Saline, Michigan. She received her B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University and enjoys reading, listening to podcasts and writing. She currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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