We’re different

Our Philosophy

Not all franchise development companies are created equal. We are not like the others. We align our interests with the interests of our clients. We protect cashflow and develop a partnership that is based on performance. We are a results oriented organization that is driven by the success of our clients. If our clients don’t succeed, we don’t succeed. Therefore, we drive toward the type of results that have everyone’s best interests in mind.

Meet the Team

Ryan Rao
Principal

Ryan Rao serves as the Chief Brand Development Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group. He is a passionate and motivated professional who is driven by many things, one of which is entrepreneurship. Ryan is a franchise development expert who has grown multiple emerging concepts to become national and international brands. Ryan’s passion for franchising grew and developed from his entrepreneurial spirit and love of business development. Franchising has allowed him to help individuals realize their dreams of business ownership – permitting them to experience the independence, flexibility, and freedom that comes with being a business owner. Ryan has vast experience in real estate, start-up financing, franchising, franchise development, and brand development. He is an avid franchise blogger with thousands of followers. Ryan also serves as a franchise consultant and is a personal growth advocate.

LinkedIn

Randy Stepp
Principal

Randy Stepp is an experienced leader who serves as the Chief Operations Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group. Previously, he served as the Chief Administrative Officer for Romeo’s Pizza Franchise, LLC. Romeo’s Pizza is a domestic and international franchisor. Randy has systematically refined Romeo’s operational systems and processes, making Romeo’s more operationally effective and efficient. As a result, Romeo’s has met its key performance targets, realized revenue growth, and has continued to expand domestically and internationally. While serving as CAO for Romeo’s, Randy also facilitated the development of a highly detailed and actionable strategy that has served as Romeo’s vision for the execution of its core values and for the managed growth of the brand. Randy has also served as a Business and Franchise Development Consultant with Renaissance Leadership Group, LLC, and a Chief Executive Officer for a public entity in which he managed a $100 million budget. Randy’s experience is vast, deep, and built through years of being intimately immersed in business operations and business development as a hands-on leader. Randy has an MBA from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH and is currently pursuing his Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation through the International Franchise Association (IFA).

LinkedIn

John Gulyas

John Gulyas
Principal

John Gulyas is the Chief Development Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group. John is a serial entrepreneur with multiple 7-figure exits and experience in industries ranging from cellular services to waste management to hospitality. John has owned and operated multiple franchise brands over the course of the last 13-years. In addition to owning and operating franchise locations, he consults franchisors on how to successfully develop their brands. His most notable consultation work was with European Wax Center where he provided development consultation, helping them grow the brand from 4 to 640 locations. John’s experience, vast investor network, and business insight led him to co-found Apex Franchise Development Group. He is an investor in multiple franchise concepts. John is a former professional athlete who resides in South Florida with his wife and two daughters.

LinkedIn

Ryan Rose Principal

Ryan Rose
Principal

Ryan not only serves as Chief Executive Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group, but he is also CEO and Principal for Romeo’s Pizza Franchise, LLC, an emerging franchise brand with domestic and international exposure.

Ryan began his career in the financial services industry and spent 14 years assisting entrepreneurs and companies with business strategy, business development, and finance. He invested in his first franchise in 2013. Shortly thereafter, he became committed and passionate about professional growth and development, improving organizational infrastructures, and controlling the destiny of his own business

Ryan’s related interests include active involvement with not-for-profit Economic Development organizations, Chambers of Commerce, Ohio Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association, and International Franchise Association.

Ryan earned both his undergraduate and graduate degree from Ohio University and is currently pursuing his Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation through the International Franchise Association (IFA). Ryan resides in Ohio with his wife, Mia.

LinkedIn

Robert Strickland
Principal

Bob is the Chief Finance Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group. Bob is a principal owner of Romeo’s Pizza Franchise, LLC.  As a principal, Bob has helped redevelop the Romeo’s brand and position the company for growth. Bob also serves as a Certified Public Accountant and principal within a highly successful accounting firm that provides tax and financial services to a wide array of clients. In addition, Bob is an experienced strategic planning consultant who has successfully led multiple strategic planning events utilizing a structured design approach that incorporates proper formal business planning into the process. Bob has worked with many large and small corporations, helping them to address their business and financial service needs. Bob also owns Family Management Associates, LLC, a business dedicated to helping high net worth families manage, grow and protect assets, transition wealth, provide estate planning options, and more.

David Ragosa
Franchise Development

David has over 20 years experience as a business professional in the franchise industry. He has served as a franchisor, franchise consultant, and as a franchise development and sales leader. He is an experienced entrepreneur, having started his own concepts and grown them to be franchised. David works with startups by helping them understand the intricacies of franchise leadership, development and sales.  David has most notably found or invested in companies such as Kono Pizza and In Touch technology.

David has a thirst for success, cultivating entrepreneurs, and helping them grow. In short, helping others realize their dreams is David’s passion.

Ryan Rao
Principal

Ryan Rao serves as the Chief Brand Development Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group. He is a passionate and motivated professional who is driven by many things, one of which is entrepreneurship. Ryan is a franchise development expert who has grown multiple emerging concepts to become national and international brands. Ryan’s passion for franchising grew and developed from his entrepreneurial spirit and love of business development. Franchising has allowed him to help individuals realize their dreams of business ownership – permitting them to experience the independence, flexibility, and freedom that comes with being a business owner. Ryan has vast experience in real estate, start-up financing, franchising, franchise development, and brand development. He is an avid franchise blogger with thousands of followers. Ryan also serves as a franchise consultant and is a personal growth advocate.

LinkedIn

Randy Stepp
Principal

Randy Stepp is an experienced leader who serves as the Chief Operations Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group. Previously, he served as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Romeo’s Pizza Franchise, LLC. Romeo’s Pizza is a domestic and international franchisor. During his time at Romeo’s, Randy systematically refined Romeo’s operational systems and processes, making Romeo’s more operationally effective and efficient. As a result, Romeo’s has met its key performance targets, realized revenue growth, and has continued to expand domestically and internationally. While serving as CAO for Romeo’s, Randy facilitated the development of a highly detailed and actionable strategic plan that has served as Romeo’s vision for the execution of its core values and for the managed growth of the brand. Randy has also served as a Business and Franchise Development Consultant with Renaissance Leadership Group, LLC, and as a Chief Executive Officer for a public entity in which he managed a $100 million budget. Randy’s experience is vast, deep, and built through years of being intimately immersed in business operations and business development as a hands-on leader. Randy has an MBA from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH and is currently pursuing his Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation through the International Franchise Association (IFA).

LinkedIn

John Gulyas

John Gulyas
Principal

John Gulyas is the Chief Development Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group. John is a serial entrepreneur with multiple 7-figure exits and experience in industries ranging from cellular services to waste management to hospitality. John has owned and operated multiple franchise brands over the course of the last 13-years. In addition to owning and operating franchise locations, he consults franchisors on how to successfully develop their brands. His most notable consultation work was with European Wax Center where he provided development consultation, helping them grow the brand from 4 to 640 locations. John’s experience, vast investor network, and business insight led him to co-found Apex Franchise Development Group. He is an investor in multiple franchise concepts. John is a former professional athlete who resides in South Florida with his wife and two daughters.

LinkedIn

Ryan Rose Principal

Ryan Rose
Principal

Ryan not only serves as Chief Executive Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group, but he is also CEO and Principal for Romeo’s Pizza Franchise, LLC, an emerging franchise brand with domestic and international exposure.

Ryan began his career in the financial services industry and spent 14 years assisting entrepreneurs and companies with business strategy, business development, and finance. He invested in his first franchise in 2013. Shortly thereafter, he became committed and passionate about professional growth and development, improving organizational infrastructures, and controlling the destiny of his own business

Ryan’s related interests include active involvement with not-for-profit Economic Development organizations, Chambers of Commerce, Ohio Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association, and International Franchise Association.

Ryan earned both his undergraduate and graduate degree from Ohio University and is currently pursuing his Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation through the International Franchise Association (IFA). Ryan resides in Ohio with his wife, Mia.

LinkedIn

Robert Strickland
Principal

Bob is the Chief Finance Officer for Apex Franchise Development Group. Bob is a principal owner of Romeo’s Pizza Franchise, LLC.  As a principal, Bob has helped redevelop the Romeo’s brand and position the company for growth. Bob also serves as a Certified Public Accountant and principal within a highly successful accounting firm that provides tax and financial services to a wide array of clients. In addition, Bob is an experienced strategic planning consultant who has successfully led multiple strategic planning events utilizing a structured design approach that incorporates proper formal business planning into the process. Bob has worked with many large and small corporations, helping them to address their business and financial service needs. Bob also owns Family Management Associates, LLC, a business dedicated to helping high net worth families manage, grow and protect assets, transition wealth, provide estate planning options, and more.

How it Started

The team of experts at Apex Franchise Development Group came together when they realized that their combined and vast business experience could be harnessed to help emerging and established concepts move to their business next level. Their shared passion for people, business development, and entrepreneurship led them to coordinate efforts to help others realize their dreams of business ownership and independence. Success breeds success and this ideal serve as the catalyst for driving the Apex team to help others succeed.

Bakeries, Delis and Coffee Shops

What others say about us…

Apex not only helped us hone in on our franchise messaging and facilitate connections with the right franchisees, but they helped us redesign our operational model. As a result, we realized exponential revenue growth. We now know that we have a model that can be replicated across the country. With the individualized support from Apex, we’re able to articulate our differentiators to the right audience.

Joe Stanoszek
Joe StanoszekCEO, VIO Med Spa

Ryan, Randy and the entire team at Apex Franchise Development offer start-up and emerging franchisors a unique perspective on franchise development and growth. What differentiates the Apex team is their real-world experience in successfully growing brands, the organizational structure, and the franchise development discipline that they bring to their brands. They know how to grow franchise systems!

Charles Internicola
Charles InternicolaFranchise AttorneyInternicola Law Firm

Apex Franchise Development Group exceeded my expectations and went above and beyond as they assisted us in redeveloping the brand.  Their attention to detail, insights and business savvy uncovered potential problems and afforded us an opportunity to respond in a proactive manner. The tireless work ethic that was demonstrated in the organizational development and operations phases of their work has continued in the sales phase. I couldn’t be more pleased

Grant Reeves
Grant ReevesCEO, The Upbeat K9

I have worked with Ryan for three years and with two different brands, and have seen time and again how great of a resource he is for Franchisors. He knows the Franchise business inside and out, serves as a great Ambassador for the Franchises that he works with and, maybe most important, always works in the best interest of his Clients. I would recommend Ryan to any Franchise looking to take their business to the next level. 

Greg Guyuron
Greg GuyuronExecutive Vice PresidentAnchor Cleveland

If there is one thing I have learned during my time in this industry. It is that relationships are what makes this industry work. Ryan and his team exemplify this by ALWAYS putting his clients needs above all else!

Tyler Carlson
Tyler CarlsonVP SalesSiteZeus

Our Clients

 

Strategic Partners

 

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