Thriving through Covid: Josh Shanahan – Clean Eatz Cafe Franchise Owner

Josh Shanahan is no stranger to business ownership, but when it comes to franchising, he’s now another satisfied FranNet client. A CEO of a successful technology services company, Josh was looking for a way to diversify his business ownership portfolio. And with the help of FranNet’s Brigitte Betser, he found it with Clean Eatz Café, one of the largest health-focused cafes and meal-planning service providers. In fact, he was so impressed with the business model and the validation he received from other franchisees in the system, he purchased the licenses for five locations.

During this edition of “Thriving through Covid” series, Josh shares a few thoughts and a little bit of advice for all the other budding entrepreneurs out there, looking to become their own boss.

On Pivoting to Franchising:

“Entrepreneurs like us can be a crazy species. We think we know what business is best for us—what we like, not necessarily what we were meant to do, per our profile and assessment. That’s where consultants like FranNet keeps us in line. I had a background as a business owner, having owned a couple of companies before purchasing a third-generation business from my family during the last economic downturn over a decade ago. Recently, I was looking to diversify my portfolio and I reached out to FranNet for some guidance.”

How He Found Their Perfect Franchise:

“I wanted something that served a primal need, and that would perform well as a recession-resistant opportunity. I was also looking for a concept that was newer, that served an up and coming demographic and that was scalable. Those were the elements I decided would be the best fit for me. The reason I chose to go the multi-unit route with Clean Eatz was that I preferred to establish an enterprise, not a single entity.”

On Covid Concerns:

“During the validation process, Clean Eatz corporate introduced me to their ‘meet the owner’ program. A current franchisee would be on the line, without corporate listening in, and I could ask whatever I wanted. It turned out to be a tremendous help. They said positive things about the business model, and they were honest about the challenges they were facing. With Covid, there was a lot of talk about how they kept revenue going in the stores, which was cool to hear. I had questions about corporate support, staffing, revenue benchmarks, square footage and layout of stores, supplier information. It was a great help and I really enjoyed those sessions.”

Best Advice on Starting a Business Now?

“The biggest advice—make sure you have your funding secured. You need to have a firm understanding of what the financial requirements are, where the money is coming from—you need to understand the full process. There are steps, pre-approvals and the like, that are needed for a smooth transition. Right now, banks are being conservative on lending and there’s a lot more scrutiny involved. And once you sign on the dotted line and buy your franchise licenses, the clock begins ticking.”

On Working with FranNet:

“I’ve known Bridget Betser for over 20 years and did my research on FranNet, finding out that they’re one of the most reputable consultancies out there. Brigitte is real trusted advisor and also a friend. We went through the process, narrowed it down over the course of several weeks. There was never any pressure to go a certain direction and I ended up with a five-unit license and now we’re looking to open our first store. It helped that Bridget comes from a family of franchisees and was able to give me the inside scoop on how things really work.

Any prospective franchisee should use a consulting group like FranNet. People underestimate what the entire franchise process entails. The FDD’s the disclosures, the brands. To make sure you get the right territory you’re looking for and to understand your local competition. You have to use a consultancy like FranNet because they’re local and they know your area. And they have the connections you need.”


“Thriving through Covid” is FranNet’s new series of inspirational articles featuring positive news, business owner profiles, success stories, and educational updates—all of which demonstrate the resilience of the franchising industry. We want you to know that even during this uncertain time, franchising can offer you an alternative path forward—and a new opportunity to achieve success through business ownership.


Check back with FranNet twice weekly for new articles and let us know when you’d like to begin an entrepreneurial journey of your own!

Dec 3, 2020