Meet our Franchising Consultant of the Month: Amanda Ramirez

Meet our Franchising Consultant of the Month: Amanda Ramirez

Introducing Raintree’s April 2021 Consultant of the Month:

Amanda Ramirez

As we interviewed Franchise Brokers Association (FBA) consultant Amanda Ramirez for  Raintree’s April Consultant of the Month, it was clear to see why she has found such success in her role as a franchise consultant. Not only has she been involved in many various aspects of franchising over the past 6 years, but she also demonstrates a genuine interest in her clients’ future and a true passion for changing lives. We hope that you find this interview as refreshing and inspiring as we did! 

How and why did you get into franchising?

I actually started in the franchise world right out of college as a Project Manager with FranVest Management, an affiliate of the FBA. I had a pre-law degree with a goal to become an immigration attorney, so I focused on working with E2 visa candidates. Not only did it align with what I wanted to do in immigration law, but I also loved the idea of helping people change their lives by coming to the US and starting a business.  

During my time as a Project Manager, I was very involved in the initial ramp-up of the franchise, including site selection, buildout, hiring, training, managing, and operating. As much as I loved project management, I found that I was more excited about the educating and matching process with my clients. In 2015, I transitioned from a Project Manager to Franchise Consultant with FBA so I could focus more on making those connections. I was soon after asked to assist in developing FBA’s 5-week training program as a Franchise National Trainer, which I gladly accepted.

Raintree's April franchising consultant Amanda RamirezWhat is your favorite part of being a franchise consultant?

I am a major advocate of entrepreneurship. I believe that everyone has the power to be in control of their lives and their decisions. If you do not make enough money or have enough time with your family, these are all things that you can change! Franchising is the perfect solution for people who want to start their own business without being completely alone. The ability to help people find business opportunities that will allow them to become the best version of themselves is such a fulfilling experience.  

What is your favorite part about working with Raintree brands?

I can always count on Raintree brands to have a strong discovery process and I know that I will be kept in close communication every step of the way. The process is always extremely thorough as well – by the end of the process my client will have all of the data they need to make an informed decision on whether this is the right opportunity for them. There are no missing pieces or question marks.

What tips do you have for other franchise consultants?

  1. You have to believe in and understand your role. Don’t just think of this as a job – you are changing people’s lives by guiding them to the best franchise opportunity for them. Your clients are counting on you to steer them in the right direction.
  2. Develop a network of Franchisors, consultants, and other individuals who align with your vision.
  3. Never stop learning! The world of franchising is dynamic, fluid, and ever-evolving. It is important to continue educating yourself and staying on top of the latest information.

Congratulations, Amanda, on being Raintree’s April Consultant of the Month! We truly appreciate your continued partnership as we help people take control of their lives through business ownership!

Introducing Raintree’s March Franchise Consultant: Jim Olson

Introducing Raintree’s March Franchise Consultant: Jim Olson

Introducing Raintree’s March 2021 Consultant of the Month: Jim Olson

When we had the chance to interview Business Alliance Inc (BAI) consultant, Jim Olson, we were extremely surprised to find out he has only been a franchise consultant for four years. With all the success Raintree has had with him and the professionalism he brings to the industry, we thought he had been in this role for much longer! During our interview, Jim explained why the transition into franchise consulting was such an easy one for him as well as why he enjoys this profession so much. 

How and why did you get into franchising? 

My background prior to franchise consulting was in the financial industry. I previously worked at JP Morgan, Chase, and American Express. In 2016, there was a corporate setback at American Express and my entire division was laid off. I wasn’t interested in retiring so I looked at other options that were available to me. 

During my time in the financial sector, I worked with many Franchisees and Franchisors. In that role, I was drilling down and learning about my customer’s businesses and evaluating solutions to their problems. It was a bit different than consulting because it was financial products vs franchises but the skill sets needed were very similar. I ended up finding BAI and joined the network in early 2017.     

Raintree franchise consultant of the month Jim OlsonWhat is your favorite part of being a franchise consultant? 

What I enjoy most is being able to engage with people who are truly interested in improving their situation. I enjoy trying to help people and helping individuals find solutions that solve their problems. 

I especially love hearing that through a placement I make, I have improved someone’s life. My favorite placement thus far was with a man who owned a 7-Eleven that ended up being robbed, causing the Night Manager to quit. As the Franchise Owner, he ended up working 16- hour days while not making a liveable wage. I introduced him to a different concept and he ended up selling his 7-Eleven and now lives a much more fulfilled life. That’s truly why I love my role!   

What do you look for in the brands you present? 

I tend to work with home-based businesses because they are easier for people to start. They typically have a lower investment and are more simple to run. Of course, these kinds of businesses aren’t for everyone but I do love placing someone in a home-based concept that has strong validation. 

What is your favorite part about working with Raintree Brands? 

The brands Raintree partners with are great franchises that are always on the uptick and fill a real need in the market. I have found great success with Footprints Floors (5 placements!), and previous Raintree brands Screenmobile and Rush Bowls.  

What tips do you have for other franchise consultants? 

I think it is always extremely important to be genuine and empathetic to your clients. Always try to meet them where they are and understand exactly what is going on in their life that is driving them towards owning a franchise. I also think that it is important to know the brands you are presenting and to have a solid relationship with the development person. 

Thank you, Jim, for taking the time to sit down with us, and thank you for your support of the Raintree Brands! We look forward to continuing our partnership!

Meet our February 2021 Consultant of the Month: Jenny Childs

Meet our February 2021 Consultant of the Month: Jenny Childs

When we reached out to franchise consultant Jenny Childs to interview her for Raintree’s February Consultant of the Month award, her initial reaction was “What did I do to receive such an honor?” This response is telling of her humble nature in everything that she does. We replied simply, “Just being you! We appreciate everything you do, and it does not go unnoticed.” 

Jenny is one of the consultants who consistently reach out to us about our brands, asking thoughtful, intelligent questions to ensure that she is sourcing the perfect match for her clients before referring them to begin the discovery process. Her genuine interest in the success of her clients’ future is apparent in her due diligence to gain a deep understanding of their needs and then thoroughly studying the brands to ensure that she is making the best possible connection. 

In speaking more with Jenny, we were excited to learn about her background before franchise consulting, what she looks for in the brands she presents, and what she has learned throughout her years in the industry.

Tell us a little about your background before you became a Franchise Consultant.

I have worked in franchising in various aspects over the years. After college, I traveled for a few years, and when I returned to Texas to look for a job, I wanted to be sure it was something that would allow me the freedom and flexibility to travel. I had a job interview at Snelling Staffing Agency, one of the first staffing franchises. In speaking to the recruiter, I told her, “I want your job!” She then let me know that there was a franchise development position available. I ended up getting offered that position and that is when I completely fell in love with the franchising industry. 

After working a few years at Snelling, I was recruited to work for Express Employment Professionals, another staffing franchise, where I worked as a Director of Franchise Development for several years. While I loved that position, in 2008 I had to move to Las Vegas to be with my mom for personal reasons. At that time, I went to work with FranFund when they were just starting up. FranFund was a great company to work with and I am proud of the work I did to help them grow that business, but the nature of the work didn’t allow me to really get to know the customers beyond financing their franchise.  My passion lies in relationship building and long term partnerships.

Throughout the years of working in franchise support, development, and funding, I had the opportunity to meet and work with a number of franchise consultants. In 2014, I was asked to join The You Network and I could not be happier with my decision to join! I am now on the board as the Vice President and Senior Consultant.

Franchise Consultant Jenny ChildsWhat do you look for in the brands you present?

I generally look at two major categories:

Brand Attributes

I look at myself as a matchmaker, so I need to be sure that the brand attributes meet what my client is looking for and makes sense with their skill set. If my client has a strong sales and marketing background, I need to find a concept where those skills will be an asset. If my client is looking for a healthy work-life balance, I need to find a brand that will provide them the lifestyle freedom they are seeking.  Culture fit is also something that cannot be overlooked. Even with everything else in alignment. If the company culture does not mesh with the personality of the Franchise Owner, neither party will be happy in the long run. 


I want to be sure that my clients are in great hands when they are awarded a franchise, so Franchise Owner support is of the utmost importance. I become very close with my clients as we work together to determine the perfect opportunity for them, and I want to make sure that they are provided all the tools they need to be successful in whatever franchise they end up in. 


Can you share one major piece of wisdom you have learned during your time as a Franchise Consultant?

I have learned so much! But one very important piece of wisdom is to be transparent. Not everyone has the wherewithal to be a Franchise Owner. Some people are just too young and do not have the life experience, others may not be financially ready. My clients truly appreciate that I am a straight shooter and I have even received referrals from some clients who did not purchase a franchise themselves. Do not force something that isn’t meant to be! If you are consistently honest with yourselves and your clients, the placements will happen naturally.

Thank you, Jenny, for your consistent hard work and dedication to helping others change their lives through franchise ownership! You are a shining example of what franchise consulting is all about, and we truly appreciate your partnership.

Meet our First 2021 Franchise Consultant of the Month: Sue Derene

Meet our First 2021 Franchise Consultant of the Month: Sue Derene

At Raintree, we love working with franchise consultants who are passionate about what they do and ethical in changing lives. We also say that when it comes to brands and brokers, we like working with people we would want to grab a beer with, and Sue Derene absolutely falls into that bucket. We recently had the chance to learn more about Sue, how she started in the industry, how she hits her goals of 15-18 placements a year, and her favorite part about being a franchise consultant.  

How did you end up in the franchise industry? 

I really ended up as a franchise consultant by accident. I was in corporate America for several years at IBM and then decided to take time off to raise my children and to be extremely involved in their lives. Once my kids left for college and I became an empty nester, I started looking into what I wanted to do next. At that time, I had a long list of things I didn’t want to do professionally.  I didn’t want to report to a boss or sit in traffic, but I did want to be sure I was able to travel to see both of my children who were attending out of state universities. My son was a D1 athlete and I wanted to attend his matches. With these stipulations in mind, I started looking at owning a franchise and during that time I used a franchise consultant. When I learned that I could own a business helping other people transition careers, I was extremely interested. I have now been doing this for six years and I truly enjoy it!  

Franchise Consultant Sue DereneWhat is your favorite part of being a franchise consultant? 

I’ve always really cared about people and like talking and listening to others. In my previous role at IBM, I was involved in listening to problems and determining how to solve them which really parallels what I do as a franchise consultant. I’m definitely a relationship person who enjoys connecting with others. One of my favorite parts of this role is working as a team with my client, the Development Director, and funding to make the deal come together. 

I also like the fact that I work with my husband, Craig Derene, in this business. We are a husband/wife team, and we work very well together. We each have different strengths that help make the business successful. 

What is your favorite part about working with Raintree Brands?  

I always like presenting emerging brands that are unique and fill a niche. I typically like working with brands that have less than 100 locations because I like concepts that are extremely eager to grow. Not only that, but I also love working with the Raintree brands because I know my leads will be well taken care of. I feel confident in the Raintree Development Directors and I know I will be updated every step of the way. Raintree is always super professional, organized, and I find the marketing materials sent to me are extremely helpful in identifying if my candidate is a good fit for a brand. I have folders by brand in my email and use the marketing material to refresh my memory on a concept before presenting. 

What tips do you have for other Franchise Consultants? 

Earn the trust of your candidates would be by far my biggest piece of advice. You need to demonstrate respect for them if you want them to respect you as well. I think this goes for Franchisors too, it is so important to have a strong working relationship with the brands you represent. 

Also, I think it is important to remember perseverance in this role. Not every day is going to be easy so just remembering why you do what you do and keep pushing forward! 


Thank you for everything you do, Sue, and happy belated birthday! (Sue’s birthday was January 10th!) We look forward to partnering with you and working closely together this year!

Franchise Consultant of the Month 2020 Culmination

Franchise Consultant of the Month 2020 Culmination

Raintree franchising consultants of 2020

​At Raintree, one of the most exciting parts of 2020 was rolling out our Consultant of the Month program! Since April, our team has had the chance to connect with some of the top (and our favorite!) consultants in the franchising industry to learn more about them personally and learn how they have achieved success in their roles. During every interview, we encouraged them to discuss their background and share tips for other consultants in the industry. 

Below is part of what we learned in 2020, and we are excited to continue learning about our partners and spreading tips in 2021! 


Adrienne Leigh

In 2003, Adrienne decided to join FranNet and start her career as a franchise consultant. Currently, she is a proud member of both the IFPG and Franchise Brokers’ Association, of which she is also a member of their Advisory Board. Since becoming a franchise consultant, Adrienne’s purpose has not changed. She loves working with people and helping those in career transition, which she believes is one of the hardest times in a person’s life.

Adrienne makes it a point to participate in mastermind groups with other franchise consultants to share best practices, tips, and discuss different brands. More than anything, she works on her consulting business full-time and works hard! “Mostly, I work my ass off!” Adrienne jokes when asked why she has been so successful. Read Adrienne’s full story.


Jack and Jill Johnson 

Jack and Jill Johnson launched their franchise consulting company, The Franchise Insiders, in 2017, with a mission of utilizing their expertise to find freedom for their clients through franchising. As members of the consultant network FranServe, not only have they been able to transform hundreds of lives, but they have also achieved their own personal goals of freedom, entrepreneurship, controlling their own destiny, and being purveyors of the American Dream!

Jack and Jill are constantly researching brands and updating their franchise consulting inventory with those that are doing it right. The Franchise Insiders look for certain qualities in the brands they present, including scalability, the opportunity to build an empire, and backing by a third-party company, like Raintree. Read Jack and Jill’s full story.


Thomas Gibbs 

Thomas’ franchising journey started seven years ago when he took a golf coaching position for a franchise, GOLFTECH. After a few years, his boss decided to sell the business. As a person who does not shy away from opportunity, Thomas decided to purchase the existing franchise. After a few years, he sold the businesses and began looking for his next adventure. That search led him to franchise consulting and specifically the network, Business Alliance Inc., also known as BAI. 

Thomas sincerely feels that relationships with the development team are key. He says, “Consultants need to work closely with the sales team to learn the brand, how to present it, who they are looking for, who will be successful in the system and make sure that it all aligns with your client. By working with multiple brands and development people you will start to realize who you work best with and who is best at their role, these are the brands you want to continue to show.” Read Thomas’ full story.


Susan Scotts 

Susan Scotts worked in franchise development for a small company for 14 years prior to becoming a franchise coach. During that time, she established a strong relationship with the network The Entrepreneur’s Source (TES), which opened her eyes to career transition coaching. She joined TES in 2009, and has since helped hundreds of people better their lives through business ownership!

Susan stresses the importance of being in close contact with the franchise development team as your client progresses through the education process, and even beyond as they work through the steps to open their business. For this reason, Susan is highly appreciative of the communication between Raintree’s development team as they work with her clients, providing deep and detailed information following each call. Read Susan’s full story.


Lisa Welko

After starting an extremely successful boutique gym in 2001, Lisa decided to franchise the company. As Lisa began to learn more about franchising, she became drawn to the world of consulting, realizing that it would allow her to do what she loves- help people find success as business owners by drawing upon her own experiences, triumphs, and mistakes as an entrepreneur. In 2016, Lisa officially sold her fitness company, and by 2017 she was fully immersed in being a franchise consultant, partnering with both Franchise Brokers Association (FBA) and the International Franchise Professionals Group (IFPG).

Lisa warns against keeping a shortlist of brands. She believes that as a franchise consultant you always need to be learning and keeping the portfolio of brands you work with open and dynamic. When she is looking for brands to present, Lisa primarily looks for concepts that have a strong management and support team- not necessarily large but singularly focused on the success of their Franchise Owners. Read Lisa’s full story.


Scott Diener

Scott Diener is a 30+ year veteran in franchising, building multiple brands from scratch, working in franchise development, and then even founding his own private birthday party concept, Scooter’s Jungle. After spending years working with Scooter’s Jungle Franchise Owners,  he decided he wanted to get back into the business of helping others connect with their ideal business dreams. In 2014, he joined consultant networks The You Network and International Franchise Professionals Group

Scott really drives home the significance of getting to know his clients by allowing them to share their journey, their background, and the “why” that prompted them to begin their franchising search. By diving deep, Scott can help his clients accurately identify the pains they are experiencing and how they can be solved, all while maintaining the agility to adjust to their needs. Read Scott’s full story.


Patrick Elsner 

After working as the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals radio network and managing 29 salespeople, Patrick started to look into starting his own business. Patrick was drawn to franchising, and like a lot of people, he decided to work with a franchise consultant. Originally, Patrick was interested in a tax franchise, but through time he ended up taking over the business that had belonged to his own franchise consultant upon his retirement. 18 years later, Patrick still enjoys what he does every single day.

“There isn’t a magic formula for being successful. It comes from hard work, dedication, and wanting to put the effort in,” he says. “I have 75-plus people in my pipeline at any given time so I do my admin work at night or on the weekends to keep my days open for calls. I have made franchise consulting a full-time career as it should be. Consulting is not something someone should do on the side. The dedication to my clients is really what has allowed me to differentiate myself from the other 99% out there.”  Read Patrick’s full story.



Carl Grossman 

Carl Grossman is an esteemed member of Business Alliance Inc., as one of the top 10% of all consultants in the network. He spent his formative years performing turnarounds for large companies, but when this concept started dying down, he decided it was time for a career change. An old friend suggested he look into franchise consulting, and Carl was immediately intrigued.  In 2015, he joined BAI, and the rest is history!

Carl emphasizes the importance of being involved in the education process after handing your client to the franchise development team. He is there every step of the process, starting with the initial call. Not only that, but Carl continues to keep in touch with his clients after they have been awarded a franchise, and considers many of them lifelong friends! Read Carl’s full story.


Thank you to all the above consultants for your time and for sharing your franchising industry stories with us- we can’t do what we do without you! 

If you are interested in becoming our next Consultant of the Month, email Lana Mazin for consideration.

Think it’s the Wrong Time to Buy a Food Franchise? Think Again!

Think it’s the Wrong Time to Buy a Food Franchise? Think Again!

You’re probably tired of reading this in every single article on the internet, but 2020 has been one crazy year. The COVID-19 pandemic required a number of restaurants, bars, and other public gathering spaces to shut down back in March, with a number of businesses being forced to close their doors permanently. 

Eight months later, we still have yet to get back to normal life as we knew it in the “Before Times,” and business has slowed way down for restaurants, who are operating on a limited basis with takeout, delivery, and minimal dine-in service, though this has been significantly reduced as a result of social distancing guidelines.

Sounds like a pretty terrible time for an investor to add a restaurant franchise to their portfolio, right? Actually, for franchise investors who are looking at the bigger picture, there may never have been a better time in history to start a food service business than right now!

…Wait, what?

It’s true, according to franchise industry expert and Raintree CEO Brent Dowling. In a recent LinkedIn piece, Dowling explained why savvy franchise investors should strike now while the iron is hot, and how this dumpster fire of a year may have actually created the perfect storm for an entrepreneur to get a new business off the ground.

One Restaurant’s Failure is Another Food Franchise Owner’s Fortune

Food Franchise Founder Matteo Rachocki

Matteo Rachocki, co-Founder of Raintree partner brand Voodoo Brewery, is optimistic about the future of his beer and food franchise.

Though it sounds depressing to say so, the rash of restaurants and retail businesses that have been forced to close permanently may actually be good news for budding entrepreneurs, in that prime real estate is now more affordable than it has been in over a decade, a phenomenon Dowling has witnessed firsthand through the eyes of Raintree’s restaurant partner brands’ newest Franchise Owners.  

“For the folks we’ve placed into a restaurant franchise in the last couple months, the feedback has been excellent. The common sentiment is ‘We’re getting ‘A’ real estate sites for ’B’ or even ‘C’ pricing,’” he reports. “Throw on top of that the fact the we are seeing historically low interest rates on small business loans, and you have the perfect storm for business owners over the next 10 years.”

Additionally, all signs are already beginning to point to the fact that we may be in for a wave of post-pandemic consumer spending once we’re able to get down to business as usual. Food franchises such as McDonald’s (MCD) have already seen an uptick in sales, with 3.5 out of 5 McDonald’s Franchise Owners reporting higher sales and overall optimism about their 6-month business outlook, which is nearing an all-time high from February 2004. 

Similarly, Jill Nelson, Dunkin Brands’ VP of Marketing Strategy reported to CNBC that the beloved donut-and-coffee franchise is seeing the impact of people “treating themselves” to food and beverages they can’t replicate at home. 

And, as Dowling pointed out in his LinkedIn piece, “that’s just the opportunity we see from a consumer standpoint to see the bigger picture. As a business owner, the opportunity is perhaps even greater.”

Dowling listed what he perceived to be the top four factors indicating a roaring post-COVID comeback for franchise sales, particularly in the food service, retail, or experiential sectors. These factors include:

  • Pent-up consumer demand
  • Access to prime real estate 
  • “Cheap money”
  • Lack of competition due to closures of mom-and-pop businesses

Playing the Food Franchise Long Game

By thinking long-term, Dowling asserts, business owners who invest now can capitalize on future franchise success.

“You buy a franchise agreement as a 10 year-plus investment (that can be renewed for decades after that if successful),” he says, adding that “(m)ost franchises take at least 2-3 years to mature to desired profitability levels.” 

For a franchise investor looking to play the long game, this translates to historically-cheap commercial real estate prices now, due to restaurants and retail shops that have unfortunately gone out of business in recent months, with a higher potential for ROI once the world gets back to normal and people start spending like they did pre-pandemic. 

“By many accounts, we will likely see a ‘return to normal,’ whether that means an effective vaccine or not, in 1-2 years,” Dowling points out. “Some say a heck of a lot sooner.”

It’s true- with this week’s reports of Pfizer’s highly-encouraging vaccine breakthrough dominating the news, it looks like we may finally be seeing some light at the end of this long, dark tunnel, and top scientists indicate that we may be anticipating a return to pre-pandemic life within a year. 

Which brings us to our next point- after a year of sitting at home, doing nothing, seeing nobody, and going nowhere, it seems likely that people will be turning out in droves to get out and spend money on sorely-missed activities like dining out as soon as the vaccine makes it possible to do so. Dowling agrees, noting that the recent surge in home services businesses may level off as soon as staying home is no longer the only available option. 

He asks, “When the world opens up, do we think people are going to want to continue to invest in their homes at the rate they are now? Or do you think any disposable income might be redirected to other options that were not really options during a pandemic?”

For Food Franchise Owners, the Future is Bright!

So, what’s the bottom line? While service franchises, such as painting, flooring, and other skills-based businesses, may look tempting now- particularly since they’ve been largely untouched by the pandemic and are in fact seeing a surge in business- food and retail franchises may be a savvy investor’s best bet in the long run. 

It’s difficult to remember this at times, but the COVID-19 pandemic won’t last forever. Things will someday be back to normal, and it’s beginning to look like that is going to happen sooner rather than later. By taking a look at the bigger picture and seeing the overwhelming, unmet need there will be for restaurants and retail stores post-pandemic, a franchise investor can easily score a business deal of a lifetime now and look forward to amazing profitability potential when we are once again able to resume life as we know it.