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Dunkin’ Franchisee Ribeiro Reveals Elements of a Successful Entrepreneur

Dunkin' franchisee Luis Ribeiro of New York explains his path to 25 Dunkin' Donuts shops. The Rochester employer of 500 has a heart of an entrepreneur, with a hunger and creativity in investing his money and talents into building successful businesses from the risk of failure. What is one of his hobbies? Looking for the right retail property.

According to the Rochester Business Journal:

When Luis Ribeiro sees properties for sale on a busy street, he gets excited. "It's the challenge of finding new locations, driving by sites that maybe don't necessarily jump out ..., trying to find that diamond in the rough," Ribeiro says. "There is a lot of creativity involved." As franchisee of 25 of the 61 Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. franchises in Rochester and co-owner of the Rochester Lancers, Ribeiro, 40, has transformed upstate's coffee culture by keeping his focus on the customer and reinvigorating the Dunkin' brand.

While franchisors hardly ever have systemic peer mentoring programs for franchisees, Ribeiro has found one. He has had a leg up by having a career-long mentoring program – his former boss, John Batista, owner of 28 stores.

For Ribeiro, Battista played a key role in molding his professional life. "He was truly my mentor through this whole Dunkin' experience," Ribeiro says. "He taught me things that most people wouldn't teach. He taught me numbers, he taught me how to deal with break-evens and finance and all the details-how when you walk into a store, what to look for that most people don't even see." [via rbj]

He loved finding ways to innovate in a system that values duplication and standardization. He engages the system for change.

"I wasn't crazy about our image, and I said, 'Give me the ability to do something different.'" The vision included converting Dunkin' into an upscale stop in a customer's morning routine. Ribeiro added marble countertops, new flooring and non-traditional cabinets in stores, which helped him win Dunkin' Donuts Innovator of the Year Award in 2007.

"Luis has been really good about if he has an idea about something, sometimes they [franchisor Dunkin' Brands] listen to the ideas that we put forward," Viera [sister and franchisee partner] says.

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email