Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming
Founded in 2007 by Paul and Cara Allen, Woof Gang Bakery is one of North America’s largest and fastest growing pet services franchisors with over 250 locations open or under development. Woof Gang provides personalized grooming services, as well as a one-stop-shop for everyday pet care, nutrition, and gourmet treats.
Whereas big-box pet retail stores offer variety and convenience in an impersonal way, Paul and Cara envisioned a brand that would offer quality, consistency, and sophistication, but feel local and unique at heart. Franchise owners, groomers, and team members are integral members and reflections of their local communities.
“At Woof Gang, one of our biggest priorities is discussing how we can grow in a sustainable way, and we have created a clear path—selecting strong franchisees to oversee the stories and lending support from our team to help the stores’ success. In the franchise space, you can get a lot of excitement and growth, but if you don’t have the infrastructure to support that growth, many companies lose that traction. We’re spending our time on getting ready for the future growth that is coming.”
Certain founders, former owners, or personnel of GSP investments and/or GSP operating partners are current GSP investors. And, as a result of their relationship to GSP, such persons could be inclined to provide a more favorable description of GSP than might otherwise be the case.
Woof Gang began with just one store in Florida and successfully grew in multiple states by 2012, evolving its services along the way. This evolution included responding to market demand for professional pet grooming, an offering which became a cornerstone for its storefront success and drove accelerated system sales and new unit growth.
Despite navigating unprecedented times, 2020 was a record year in terms of sales, dogs groomed, and store growth. The average per-store revenue was up 20+% versus 2019.
By April 2022, Woof Gang had grown to over 146 franchised units across 17 states but required additional resources and a supportive investment partner. The Founders elected to step away from the business and chose GSP to scale the company for the next leg of growth, given GSP’s demonstrated history of growing other franchisors.
With the support from GSP and a seasoned management team, Woof Gang implemented best-in-class franchise operations, without disrupting the company’s culture and mission. These best practice strategies included standardizing POS platforms, launching new branding, creating consistency with store layouts that focused on grooming, and launching training programs for new and existing franchises.
The franchisee training program allows Woof Gang to scale and grow the brand while maintaining their unique customer experience across all the neighborhood stores. Dubbed the “Woof Gang Way” the program and encompassing ethos helps set Woof Gang apart from its competitors.
Woof Gang invested in extensive science-based research to improve its cornerstone service, dog grooming. This proprietary research informed the architecture of the grooming house, operational processes, and grooming techniques to optimize for the dogs’ wellbeing.
Woof Gang lacked a coordinated technology platform, operating with various isolated systems across the franchise.
GSP and its new management team helped Woof Gang benchmark and replicate best-in-class tech stacks to collect, analyze, and synthesize data from its franchise partners. Woof Gang hired a new chief technology officer, redesigned its website, and implemented a full suite of corporate technology upgrades, including a new industry-leading POS, chosen to optimize franchisee performance.
Following the transaction, Woof Gang was in a prime position to augment its management team and investment board.
GSP built out a new management team led by franchise industry veterans with proven track records from within the GSP network. The team includes new CEO Ricardo Azevedo (former Regional President of Tim Hortons U.S.), as well as a new CFO/CDO, CMO and COO. GSP also supplemented the new management team with a strong board, including Tony Lamb (Founder / CEO of Kona Ice), Eric Hirschhorn (Founder of Frida Baby), and Dennis Maloney (former Domino’s Pizza Chief Digital Officer), among others.
Looking ahead, there’s still significant remaining whitespace in this category, as pet grooming remains one of the most fragmented and fastest growing spaces in the United States market.
Since May 2022, GSP has accelerated franchisee openings and tripled the new franchise pipeline. Led by its augmented management team that has significant experience executing franchise-focused growth, accelerated by robust tailwinds in pet spending and guided by the “Woof Gang Way,” Woof Gang is well positioned to accelerate franchise expansion across the U.S and internationally, spreading love and joy, one groom and treat at a time.