By Peter Saunders
Toronto-based Joel Friedman has worked for a number of franchise systems over the course of his career, including McDonald’s, Second Cup, Prime Restaurants (the franchisor for East Side Mario’s, Casey’s and Fionn MacCool’s) and the UPS Store Canada—but none has been as unusual, by his own admission, as I Quit Smoking (IQS), for which he is now vice-president (VP) of development in Canada.
Conceptualized in 1999, IQS began operations in Ireland in 2002 and has since become an international master franchise with partners in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. In addition to individual franchisee locations, the business model has been applied in clinics and corporations.
To help customers quit smoking, IQS provides detoxification treatment that involves ‘auricular therapy,’ whereby reflex points in the ear are stimulated with a handheld reflection instrument scanning electropulse (RISE) device. This method, which dates back to the 1950s, encourages the activation of beta-endorphins to control the pleasure associated with smoking and thus curb the addiction. Customers are encouraged to drink lots of water to flush existing nicotine out of their system.
On the personal appeal:
I first read about IQS on the web about six months ago and found it fascinating. I used to smoke two packs a day. While I managed to quit, I would have liked some assistance at the time! I went through shakes and sweats and was agitated. With this method, you don’t have all that—it’s painless and quicker.
When I contacted the company, it had already come over to Canada, but needed someone with development experience and sales contacts in Ontario. I know franchise operations and my business background has helped me know the right people, so it was a good opportunity to work together. Now we’re looking at expanding to Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax.