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Franchise Interview with P.B. Loco

PB Loco
Franchise Interview with Ken, Keri, and Jodene of PB Loco

P.B. LOCO INTERVIEW What were you doing before starting the P.B. Loco franchise? It seems like there is an interesting story of you, Jodene, and Keri coming together.

Ken of P.B. Loco- Jodene and I worked together. We were both lawyers in the same firm. She went to a different firm here we started P.B. Loco but we did stay in touch. During our time at the firm, we worked on some cases together. At some point it came out that we both had a desire to start a business.

Keri was living in New York. She moved back to Minneapolis and was thinking about joining a law firm there but then she decided she would like to do something different. We talked to her and told her we were also interested in doing something different. We all had the idea we wanted to start a business. It was then a matter of determining what type of business. What we really liked about peanut butter is it's not really something completely new to people. We didn't want something trendy but rather something that has been around for a long time but we could add some new twist to. We did some research and found that 92% of Americans eat peanut butter on a regular basis. Have you always dreamed of going into your own business? Did you picture yourself doing this?

Ken of P.B. Loco- My parents reminded me that when I was a kid, I started writing and selling a school newspaper to my elementary school classmates. How has your lives changed since starting the P.B. Loco concept? I imagine your lives are a little different from the legal field?

Ken of P.B. Loco- Dramatically different. One big adjustment for us has been the wide scope of duties we all have now. A business owner wears so many hats in the same day. To me, that is exciting because I was in an area of law that was very specialized. Did your legal background help you guys in setting up the whole concept?

Ken of P.B. Loco- Yes. We did use outside counsel for our trademark and franchise work but as far as contracts, drafting and negotiations, it is nice to have a legal background. What characteristics do you think make a successful entrepreneur?

Ken of P.B. Loco- I think having a lot of perseverance and determination is key because there are so many obstacles along the way. You really have to believe what you are doing. Did you get a lot of nay Sayers in the beginning because your concept is a little different?

Ken of P.B. Loco- Not really. Most people were supportive. Any time you are doing a concept that is new, it is risky and that is part of what appealed to us. No risk, no reward. How did you come up with the idea for P.B. Loco concept? Was it based on an idea that just popped in your head or was it based on research?

Ken of P.B. Loco- A little of each. The more research we did, the more comfortable we felt with the P.B. Loco concept. It seems like you are in a great location as well. The Mall of America seems like a great place for the P.B. Loco concept.

Ken of P.B. Loco- Yes. Originally we looked at neighborhood locations that would have cost quite a bit less but we were afraid if it didn't do well, we would never know if it was the concept or the location. The Mall of America has so much traffic that if it failed out there we would know it wasn't attributed to location. How would you describe the P.B. Loco concept to our readers?

Ken of P.B. Loco- We like to say it's a gourmet peanut butter café and retail experience. Sometimes we say its all peanut butter all the time. Our menu primarily is built around 10 flavored peanut butters as well as plain creamy and plain crunchy varieties. To keep customers coming in all day, we also offer lots of snacks because we have a steady stream of mall walkers and shoppers in the afternoon and morning. We really try to incorporate the peanut butter into foods that can be eaten all day long. How has the response been to P.B. Loco so far?

Ken of P.B. Loco- It's been great! It's exceeded what we thought it would be. We have been surprised at the passion people have for peanut butter. People have almost a cult like feeling towards it.

We hired an R&D team to help us develop the peanut butter flavors when we initially started. I think one of our best days was the first time we tasted the peanut butter because we really believe in the product. We wanted it to be healthy, but first and foremost we wanted it to taste great. There has been many studies taken on the benefits of eating peanut butter as well.

Ken of P.B. Loco- Yes. There are a lot of people on high protein diets so we have been able to take advantage of that trend. Have you been able to identify a typical customer yet? Did you think in the beginning it was going to be younger kids, middle age or is it a broad audience?

Ken of P.B. Loco- Yes. It is a broad audience. We specifically designed the store to appeal to adults and young adults. We knew by the nature of the products that kids would like it and parents would bring their kids in. What has been the most popular flavor so far?

Ken of P.B. Loco- The Raspberry White Chocolate. Jungle Banana is second. That sounds great. I see that customers can also order the peanut butter over the Internet. Have you been getting orders through that medium as well?

Ken of P.B. Loco- Yes. Last summer we were featured on two shows. One was ‘What's Hot, What's Cool', and the other was called ‘Recipe for Success'. That gave us quite a bit of exposure. We had a couple thousand of franchise inquiries within a couple of weeks. What is the training like when someone buys into the P.B. Loco franchise system?

Ken of P.B. Loco- We have what we call PB Boot Camp which is 10 days training at our Mall of America store that culminates with the franchisee managing the store for a couple of days. We then provide onsite training during the first couple of days their franchise is open. Do they have to learn everything about peanut butter?

Ken of P.B. Loco- Yes. One thing that we really train our franchisees to do is to educate the consumers about the benefits of peanut butter. Because this is a new concept there is a lot of education that goes along with it. Should someone have retail experience to get into a P.B. Loco franchise?

Ken of P.B. Loco- No, not necessarily. It is not mandatory. It could help but we feel our training is exceptional.


PB Loco
Inside a PB Loco

Interesting Peanut Butter Facts- (After interview section)
The P.B. Loco website ( is full of fantastic facts and recipes on peanut butter. Here are some of them.
• According to Harvard researchers, women who regularly consume peanut butter and nuts have a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes compared to those who don't.

• Peanut butter is one of America's favorite foods, and Americans eat more than 800 million pounds of peanut butter each year. Peanut butter was invented around 1890 as a health food for undernourished patients.

• The average American child will eat 1500 peanut butter sandwiches before he or she graduates from high school.

• Women and children are more likely to prefer creamy peanut butter, while most men opt for chunky varieties. People on the East Coast tend to prefer creamy peanut butter, while their friends on the West Coast more likely prefer chunky.

• It takes approximately 850 nuts to make an 18 oz. jar of peanut butter.

• "Arachibutyrophobia" is the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of your mouth.

• Americans consume enough peanut butter each year to cover the floor of the Grand Canyon.

• November is Peanut Butter Lover's Month.

• Seven states account for approximately 98% of all peanuts grown in the U.S.: Georgia, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Oklahoma.

• About 40% of the U.S. peanut crop is used to make peanut butter.

• Although U.S. peanuts represent about 10% of world peanut production, they account for about 25% of world peanut trade.

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