Richard Larkin and Renaat Marchand are partnering up at Wannawafel.

Richard Larkin and Renaat Marchand are partnering up at Wannawafel.

Dragon waffles on Wannawafel

New "Dragon" in the picture

Last year may have been the Year of the Dragons for Wannawafel’s Renaat Marchand but 2011 is anything but.Last year Marchand travelled with his son Arno to pitch their waffle cart business to the millionaires on the hit CBC show Dragons’ Den. They succeeded in securing $100,000 from Dragon Jim Treliving of Boston Pizza franchise fame. All Treliving wanted was 50 per cent of the business. That’s where the Dragons’ Den story ends.After seven months and mountains of paperwork nothing was happening. Marchand says he was frustrated with the delay and began to rethink the whole deal.“He was going to do everything for me,” said Marchand.So after a reality check, Marchand backed out of the potential deal. This turned out to be a good thing because it allowed Richard Larkin to enter the picture as a partner in the flesh.“This Dragon is really doing it,” said Marchand of Larkin.Larkin has a solid and successful background in franchising as well as being a business coach and entrepreneur.“We watched the show and my wife said, ‘you really should talk to this guy.’” said Larkin.The rest, as they say, is history. The two men met at a social media event in Victoria and started talking. Larkin will take on the marketing, sales and financial aspect of the business while Marchand will deal with the operations and quality control end.They are interviewing potential franchisees and getting so much further ahead than was possible with the previous arrangement with Treliving.”I never even got a chance to talk to Jim,” said Marchand.Regardless of the failure to make things happen quickly with Treliving, the show sent so many potential franchisees into the fray that they are still going through the more than 1,500 emails. They hope to roll out 10-15 waffle carts this year and open a few storefronts in prime locations in larger cities across the country. They have even received inquiries from overseas, from places like Indonesia, Dubai and Singapore. Going on the show was not a bad thing in any way, says Marchand.“Everything is possible, I notice now,” said Marchand. “When I went to Belgium I knew it was going to work, I learned so much. I’ve always been curious, like a windmill turning with the wind.”His daughter Dana, his spouse Krista Spinoy, as well as his son Arno are all involved in the business in various ways. And with Richard now in the picture Marchand says, “I’m accepting Richard in my life. I feel really comfortable.”They plan on making Wannawafel the McDonalds of the waffle business.Larkin said he was attracted to the business because he “liked the people behind the business.”“Let’s build a company based on performance,” says Larkin. “We’ll go 50/50 only when it’s really successful.” The potential franchisees are in a fortunate position in that their investment will be between $50,000 to $55,000. Inquiries have come from young couples wanting to start their own businesses to people with millions to invest.“I look at this as a real opportunity to do something significant,” said Larkin. “We’re going to see a growth here, I’ve never had this kind of jump start. It’ll get interesting.”“I’m the type of guy who always goes for challenges,” said Marchand. “I want to make my life as interesting as possible. We’re taking all our life experiences and taking them to this business – we’re flexing our business muscles and enjoying it.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

.
LETTER: Anti-semitism definition lacking

Re: We must identify anti-Semitism and combat it (Online, Feb. 26) I… Continue reading

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read