Alan Balen, President of IB Corporation, presented his talk “How To Run a Successful Franchise Business” at IncubatorCTX on Thursday, October 24th to a room full of undergraduate business students.

Alan and wife Tracy Balen, both graduates of Ohio State, never expected to get into the franchise business. After both starting out in the country club and bowling/entertainment industry, the Balens heard about franchising from a longtime business partner.  The rest is history!

Alan Balen has been in the franchise restaurant business for over 25 years. The Balens own and operate 20 Checkers/Rally’s, 4 Qdoba’s Mexican Grills and 2 Jersey Mike’s. They have included supervision of all restaurant operations including marketing, financial P&L’s, oversight of 500 employees, and all day-to-day restaurant operations. Alan is a two-time Franchisee of the Year for Checkers & Rally’s and has also served on the franchise advisory committee.

In his talk, Mr. Balen discussed the advantages of owning a franchise compared to owning a restaurant. The main advantage is following a tried-and-true system.  As a franchisee, you do not need to pay for all the commercials and marketing yourself. Instead, these expenses are split up amongst all the franchise chains. When it comes to training employees, a training plan is already made for the specific franchise so you don’t have to create one yourself. Alan explained that location is key. Choosing a bad location can dictate whether or not your franchise succeeds and generates revenue.

Asked what it takes to be successful, Alan summarized: “The guys who make it follow the system.”


Written by Hannah Watson


About IncubatorCTX

IncubatorCTX helps startups and early-stage companies grown and succeed. Our goal is to promote innovation and impact in Northwest Austin along the HWY 620 corridor. We are located on the campus of Concordia University amidst 400 acres of Hill country preserve.

Incubator CTX members have 24/7 access to vibrant co-working space alongside other entrepreneurs. IncubatorCTX is much more than a co-working space; our members also benefit from a network of mentors, entrepreneurial programming, classes, events, and access to faculty and student workers.

For more information or to become a member, please go to or to learn more about Concordia University Texas go to