Annapolis, Maryland–based Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls announced it is now offering franchises to entrepreneurs in major metro markets in eastern and Midwest states. Founder Dan Beck, a seasoned restaurateur and seafood expert, designed the fast casual with a business model that requires only a small footprint and a modest investment.
The lobster industry has grown exponentially in the past 20-plus years due to increasingly popular demand, and the increasing presence of lobster roll shops suggests that lobster is no longer the exclusive province of full-service restaurants or just for New Englanders.
Beck has engaged the services of FranPoint Partners, a well-regarded Maryland-based franchise development firm that has supported and helped launch many successful fast-casual restaurant concepts, to help put the proper underpinnings in place and to ensure easy adaptation for franchisees, even those without restaurant experience. FranPoint’s senior partner, Richard J. Sharoff, also serves as the firm’s EVP of franchising.
The prototype location in Annapolis has grown quickly and received numerous accolades in the press and social media. Beck is a life-long restaurateur and has spent a number of years as a seafood buyer. His experience and connections allow Mason’s to efficiently source quality Maine lobster, which is key to the success of the concept in order to ensure its premium quality and affordable price point to consumers. Beck points out his preferred vendors are certified sustainable, and lobster is a healthy, low-cholesterol food option, with fewer calories and saturated fat than both chicken and turkey.
Beck has worked to keep the menu simple and satisfying, complementing only several classic lobster roll variations with lobster salad, shrimp salad, lobster bisque, and New England clam chowder. There are also New England favorites like whoopie pies and organic Maine Root soda.
Beyond the menu, Beck developed and refined his “Re-Maine TRUE” brand to create a striking visual impact. Mason’s is a modern twist on the traditional Maine lobster shack. There are natural wood finishes, large stenciled lobsters, and a chalkboard menu, with a few floats and lobster pots strewn about. Beck says Mason’s is going for traditional Maine values, but a modern offering for today’s consumer.
“The fast-casual segment is a fantastic format for today’s consumer, but it is desperately needing a fresh concept beyond the typical burgers, pizza, Mexican, and sub shop concepts that have dominated the category,” Sharoff says. “Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls is a highly compelling franchise opportunity because it makes this ever popular, aspirational seafood item easily accessible to consumers and is affordable and easy to execute for franchisees.”
Mason’s franchise team believes they have a winning combination: a bold brand and a streamlined business model that takes a seafood delicacy and makes it affordable and easy to eat, all within 700–1,200 square feet. Sharoff says the business systems are equally streamlined with all the requisite documented procedures in place. Easily executable marketing strategies are also developed for franchisees to grow and maintain their business.
Mason’s is announcing its franchise development as it gears up to celebrate National Lobster Day on June 15. Guests in the Annapolis area are invited to stop in for a free lobster hat and to show off the hat on Facebook or Twitter to win a free lobster roll.