Delicious food inspires travel, poetry, and has also been known to bring culinary aficionados to tears of joy. It is central to birthdays, holidays, and marriage proposals. We all have a history with the bittersweet pleasure of overdoing when it comes to fooding, but guilting will not be the topic of this article. Instead, the spotlight is on a brand that you may not have had the pleasure of sampling. Meet Nautical Bowls and their superstar dish – acai bowls. If you have never tasted one, you are in for a treat.
Nautical Bowls launched as a trendy little startup in tiny Minnetonka, a burb outside Minneapolis, just under four years ago. After expanding to add a second location, the founders, Bryant and Rachel Amundson, sought the counsel of highly successful entrepreneur and franchise expert Peter Taunton, who made a name for himself in the fitness industry with Snap Fitness. Like the Amundsons, Taunton started with one facility – but through franchising kept adding until he had an empire of a thousand locations. The Amundsons wanted Taunton’s advice about further expansion. They asked for his help when he recommended franchising, and the rest is history. In equal partnership with them, Peter Taunton is co-owner and CEO of Nautical Bowls. In just 10 short months Taunton has converted Nautical Bowls into a franchise concept and has awarded 70 territories – and is on course to have upwards of 40 locations open by this year, with the aim to roll this concept out nationally as he’s done with his previous brands.
Taunton attributes his high level of success to the discipline, accountability, and consistency that he holds himself to in his business practices. He has been extremely successful in his business career, but what drives him is the challenge of growing a successful brand, working with passionate people, and helping entrepreneurs find their way to financial freedom and independence.
When asked why he would shift gears from fitness to a nutrition-based business, Taunton explains, “The first thing I look for when considering a winning franchise is relevancy in the marketplace. It has to be something consumers are looking for. After 35 years in the health and wellness space, I am very dialed into what people want when it relates to healthy nutrition.” It makes perfect sense that he embraced Nautical Bowls, their acai bowls contain superfoods, made with plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, zero refined sugar, and organic ingredients. Acai bowls might look like a dessert, but they are a healthy meal replacement alternative to traditional restaurant fare. They are in a category Taunton dubs as “healthy, fast, casual,” and he reports that acai bowls are the fastest-growing segment within that space.
The second thing Taunton looks for in a franchisable business is scalability – is it expandable? If a business is too complex and complicated, the answer is likely negative. Not a problem with Nautical Bowls – he is proud of the company’s simplicity.
Third, he wants to know the cash required to get into the business, which is his favorite thing about Nautical Bowls. “If you aspire to be your own boss and are looking for investment and diversity, I’ve got the product for you,” says Taunton. “An investor can come to the table with $100,000 cash, and we will assist you in arranging financing. With an investment of $100,000 and a loan of $200,000 – $250,000, you’re in business and have an open and running store.”
Taunton admits to being bullish about his concept because he has zeroed in on what works, eliminating all the fragments that make it difficult for a business to identify itself. While other restaurants are all over the board with what they are serving, Nautical Bowls is doing one thing, and according to Taunton, “doing it better than anyone else.” Our new design and floor plan allow the business to operate in only 700 to 1200 sq feet. He prides the fact that Nautical Bowls is such an efficient business, “it’s a big business in a small box,” requiring only one manager and 15-20 part-time employees to operate the business.
Before going into business, Taunton asks himself three questions:
1) How much cash is needed for me to get into the business? (For Nautical Bowls, the investment is $100,000.)
2) How do the businesses perform? (His stores are competing at twice the national average.)
3) How much of my time is it going to require? (90% of his franchise owners are semi-absentee owners without giving up their day jobs.)
Taunton’s business success can be attributed to more than his ability to strategize and spot lucrative investment opportunities. As a child, he developed a killer work ethic and customer service skills working in his father’s grocery store. Just as his father modeled for him, Taunton treats employees with respect, expresses appreciation for their loyalty and effort, and coaches them to treat customers with courtesy and a spirit of positivity and helpfulness that will make them want to come back again and again because they love their tasty, healthful bowls and the fantastic service. When he gets involved with a business, as he has Nautical Bowls, he regularly connects, promoting a culture of supportive teamwork.
Nautical Bowls is a franchise for investors to watch and a restaurant to add to our itinerary any time we can try one of their guilt-free, delicious acai bowls. With any luck, there will be a Nautical Bowls location near you in the not too distant future!
Peter Taunton is highly sought after as a keynote speaker, business consultant, and is available to discuss your business needs and goals.