Practical Founders Podcast

#100: She Scaled Her Software App as a Successful Franchised Service Business – Erin Fletter

Erin Fletter had a long career in the restaurant business before starting an after-school enrichment program to teach kids how to cook at her daughters’ school in 2011. Her cooking program became popular, and she improved and expanded it to become a paid program called Sticky Fingers Cooking. Soon, she had a sizable business with over 100 chef-instructor employees who conducted engaging classes daily in Denver.

Her team created custom software to help manage their complicated operations, from enrolling students, coordinating instructors, and building relationships with schools to handling payments and payroll. The software grew slowly initially but eventually became a powerful system that helped them scale their business and run efficiently. 

Erin considered turning her business into a software company, as many tech-powered businesses do. Instead, they kept improving the software and expanding operations, serving over 150,000 students and thousands of schools and venues. Now Sticky Fingers Cooking® is a fast-growing and successful franchise business with a software superpower.

Quote from Erin Fletter, CEO of Sticky Fingers Cooking

Our business has a lot of logistics, coordination, and operations. Our own custom software, we call it the Dash, it takes about 85% of all operations off the table for humans. This enables our chef-instructors to connect with their students and our franchise owners and regional directors to focus on building relationships with schools and parents.

“Over the years, we have been contacted by very large organizations like YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other after-school enrichments about our software. They would see our automatic rosters getting texted and emailed at the venues that we were teaching in, and they asked, What are you using? What is this? And we told them, Well, it’s our own software, sorry. 

“We had talked for years about selling our software as a white-label solution because the demand is there. We’ve had inquiries for the last 10 years. That was a direction we could have taken. 

“But I’m just laser-focused on Sticky Fingers Cooking. It’s a very simple business, and our technology helps us do it incredibly well. We want to be the best at what we do. I didn’t really want a diversion from the path of taking our business national through franchising.



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Greg Head recorded this on episode on July 5, 2024 for the Practical Founders Podcast see all of the episodes.

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