European Wax Center
European Wax Center ensures growth momentum with a passionate culture
and focus on franchisee profitability.
By Staci Davidson
European Wax Center is one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and beauty brands in America with 70 to 80 new locations opening each year. It helps that the beauty industry is quite resistant to economic downturns, and hair and skin care compose the largest sections of the market share in the beauty industry. But European Wax Center has nearly 700 locations across the country and continues to grow because it remains focused on quality, profitability and supporting its franchisees.
“The brand really works everywhere,” CFO David Willis explains. “We are in 43 states and Washington, D.C., and we have high visibility in 24 of the top 25 markets in the country. This is not just an urban concept – we are very successful in areas like Tulsa, Okla., and Midland, Texas. We have a very consistent and predictable growth pattern from the day you open to a center’s maturity.”
Vice President of Franchise Performance Robb Thomas notes that “centers typically grow in a consistent pattern regardless of geography,” and says that is by design because the brand is dedicated to ensuring guests have consistent, high-quality experiences at every location. As a result, guests know what to expect and keep coming back.
“We set franchisees up for success from the beginning,” Thomas says. “We bring on board the best franchisees so we have the best operators.” Franchisee onboarding starts in the European Wax Center corporate office in Hallandale Beach, Fla., where they meet key members of the team and are connected to a franchise concierge. They also go through multi-tiered training in the corporate office, and are set up to fully understand what guests will expect.
The corporate team works with franchisees from site selection through the launch of the center and beyond. Training and support are ongoing with the assigned concierge, the area representative and the Talent teams, which involve the associate experience team, manager experience team and franchise performance team.
“We have organized our staff so that we have a dedicated team focused on supporting each stakeholder in the system,” Willis explains. “The teams’ sole focus is to develop content, tools and techniques to ensure our franchise managers are the best they can be. We do everything we can to enhance the franchise experience in the brand and drive four-wall profitability – that is our secret sauce.”
Additionally, Thomas notes European Wax Center has a full library and other resources available to ensure the guest experience is consistent. “It is accessible to every member and is full of the best techniques and approaches,” he says.
Fueled by Culture
European Wax Center continuously looks at opportunities to enhance the company’s overall profitability. Willis notes the out-of-home waxing market is a $5 billion to $6 billion annual market and it’s growing by about 5 percent each year, although that continues to accelerate. European Wax Center is focused on investing in anything that will enhance the guest and franchisee experience, and right now, technology plays a big part in that.
“A year or two ago we started allowing guests to book their reservations on our mobile app,” Willis says. “When a guest was within 50 feet of one of our centers, a notification would welcome them. At the same time, our guest service associate gets a notice that the guest is walking in. The associate knows the guest’s name, what they need and knows their wax specialists. When the guest is finished with their service and they walk out of the center, the app asks them to give a rating of the service. All of this is to provide guests with a high-quality, consistent service.”
The company, additionally, takes pride in how dedicated its team and franchisees remain to quality service. Thomas explains European Wax Center looks for people who have a passion for the business and good leadership skills, and from there it looks for those who are the right fit.
“We look for leadership skills and want to know what their level of engagement will be like, and we want them to understand this business,” he says. “And we really have a wide variety of franchisees from different backgrounds. They see our profitability and our great culture, and the franchisee passion really drives our marketing and growth.”
Willis adds that one of the company’s big success stories is one of the company’s wax specialists who became a franchisee in North Dakota. This woman now has one of the most successful centers in the country, and she got started because she was empowered by seeing European Wax Center had a model that worked and a culture that energizes the business.
“The culture here is very palpable,” Willis says. “Our founders had the belief that they wanted to work with good people who were passionate about the brand and would enhance the guest experience. We feel we can teach people anything, but they have to come to us with a passion. The family atmosphere in this company is very tangible and we want to keep it that way, even as we grow.”
Thomas stresses that the culture continues to fuel European Wax Center’s growth. “The culture is a big attraction for franchisees and associates,” he says. “The people here have passion and determination and work closely together. As a result, there is so much excitement throughout our network and you can see it every day in our centers.”
Last year, European Wax Center had a “Culture Challenge.” The company asked its centers to exhibit engagement with the brand, engagement with their associates and demonstrate their guest results. Every week, each participating location submitted a video on how it was demonstrating culture in these areas and celebrating different themes. The company received more than 3,500 videos and found that every center that completed the challenge showed operational KPIs that were significantly higher compared to centers that didn’t participate in the challenge.
“If we continue to focus on culture and four-wall profitability, that will allow us to continue to improve operational excellence and the guest experience,” Willis says. “We want to continue to be a brand that people are excited about and passionate about, and if we are, the growth will solve itself.”