Why Do I Need to Come to Montana to Open a Bakery?

Why Do I Need to Come to Montana to Open a Bakery?

One day in Dillon, Montana. Is it really necessary? How can Dillon be so important that candidates need to travel all the way out here just for a one-day visit to the Great Harvest franchise office? There are several reasons. Some may be obvious and others not so much.


Obvious Reasons for the One-Day Visit to Dillon:


1. It's standard.

Experience Great Harvest Day (or Discovery Day, as some franchises call it) is common in most franchises, and Great Harvest Bread Company is no different. At some point prior to extending a Franchise Agreement, franchises require potential owners to visit their headquarters to meet with their franchising staff.

2. You can’t know the Great Harvest Franchise without coming to Dillon.

Dillon has been home to Great Harvest Franchising, Inc. for nearly 40 years now. Being part of a franchise means understanding where it came from and where it is going. Experience Day allows our candidates to learn more about both. Whether you want to purchase an existing bakery or start from scratch (pun intended), visiting Dillon is important for you to understand what it means to be part of a Freedom Franchise. 

“I think it is important for bakery owners to come to Dillon so they can fully understand the culture of our company.” ─Melissa Miller, Great Harvest Franchising Nutrition Specialist


3. You’ll meet the individuals who will help you build your strong, exciting bakery.

Up to Experience Day, you will have visited the Great Harvest website, been through a series of Q&A’s and visited with current owners. However, you will not have had much interaction with the team you will be working with during the transfer or pre-opening/post-opening process. 

Developing strong relationships is very important during the application process. While you have likely built a solid relationship with the Development Team before Experience Day, you have probably not had an opportunity to meet with the other members of our staff. During your visit, you will meet with a representative from each of our departments: Development, Bakery Logistics & Training, Bakery Services & Support, Accounting, and Marketing. You will likely meet with our nutrition specialist and corporate chef. In situations where the bakery will be relocated or where it is a brand new location, you will also meet with our location hunter.

At the end of the day, we always hear candidates say they feel more confident in their decision to pursue a bakery after visiting the office and getting to meet with us one on one.

4. We need a chance to vet you as our potential business partner.

Experience Great Harvest Day is just as important to Great Harvest Franchising, Inc. as it is to you as a potential owner. Experience Great Harvest Day helps the Dillon staff mold a game plan for you. Each bakery owner is different; each candidate is different. Up to this point, prospective owners have been able to complete their due diligence researching Great Harvest. On the other hand, most of the Great Harvest staff will still need to complete their due diligence on you as a potential business partner. Meeting with the team in Dillon accomplishes this goal and gives us an opportunity to learn more about you.

Your Experience Day is broken up into a series of sessions. Each session leader will meet with you individually for anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour, based on the session outline. Then we all reconvene in a larger group setting called the Roundtable Discussion. During the Roundtable Discussion, which is in a Q&A format, the session leaders will ask questions about bakery vision, history of success, overcoming challenges, etc. No need to worry – remember we’re loose and fun—so we’ll laugh a little bit too!

Not So Obvious Reasons for the One-Day Visit to Dillon:


enjoy_the_calm_before_the_store1. Family vacation time!

Just because Experience Day is only for one day doesn’t mean your visit to Montana has to be. Part of the Great Harvest Mission Statement is “Be Loose and Have Fun.” What better way to have fun than visiting and vacationing in beautiful Montana? Located in Southwestern Montana, there are many points of interest near Dillon. Yellowstone National Park, Bannack State Park, Maverick Ski Hill, Crystal Park, Virginia City, Jackson Hole, WY, and Grand Teton National Park are just a few attractions that are less than a 3-hour drive from Dillon.

If you can, take this opportunity to enjoy the calm before the “store.” Once there is a signed franchise agreement, which is extended after the Experience Day visit, things become very busy for new owners. That’s true whether you are transferring ownership of an existing bakery or want to open a bakery in an entirely new location.

2. Get a game plan for training!

Dillon_skyAs a new bakery owner, your next visit to Dillon will be for a 2 ½ week training session. While you are in town for your Experience Day, you have an opportunity to get a feel for the town and scout out places to stay.

3. It shows us you are as serious as we are.

The franchise staff wants to know that you are committed to this venture. Taking the time to travel to Dillon is another way of showing us that you are committed to this business.

4. We want to be confident that our relationship will work.

Why would you start a business with a partner you don’t know? The reality is that we wouldn’t. We need to meet with you to make sure that we feel comfortable going into a business partnership with you and that we see the potential for success ─ for you and us.

We hope you'll view your trip to Dillon as an adventure on the path to realizing your dream of bakery ownership. Our business model has drawn exceptional people to the Great Harvest franchise, and we've been fortunate to help them make a successful transition to small business ownership. We look forward to meeting you and helping you do the same!

Enjoy an Adventure? Consider One of these Cities for Your Future Bakery:

What Are the Best Cities to Open Your Bakery? (eBook)

Read more about opening a bakery franchise with Great Harvest:

Image credits: "Calm Before the Storm" image includes "Mission Mountains National Bison Range Montana" by Jaix Chaix. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons. Modified by text overlay.

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