An Australian Franchisor Interview
Franchisors name: Nick Yates
Name of franchise: Fresh Healthy Vending International
Tell us about how Fresh Healthy Vending was started and the motivation behind establishing it.
I founded the concept back in 2002 at a vending trade show in Las Vegas. At the time I owned a coffee vending business. While walking the isles of the convention I noticed a “south beach diet bar” in a vending machine filled with junk food. That was the moment I decided to launch the world’s first healthy vending business.
When and why you decided to go down the franchise route?
Franchising provides a platform to grow a concept outside of the place your business exists. We couldn’t afford to operate healthy vending machines nationally so why not give everyone else the opportunity to operate and profit at the same time. We knew the concept was well received and we had proven it was successful- which are both key ingredients to successful franchising.
What have been Fresh Healthy Vending’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?
We pioneered the concept so that is our biggest achievement. Appointing over 215 franchisees, selling over 2500 healthy vending machines and taking the company public (VEND is our symbol) comes a close second.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Many! The biggest challenge is convincing unhealthy people who make decisions on behalf of their fellow employees or students they work with to take a healthy vending machine or replace the junk food machine with a healthy one. Ignorance becomes a challenge.
What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?
We are SEO experts there is no doubt about it. We receive hundreds of free inquiries each week because our Search Engine presence is so broad. In addition PPC, Press Release, Radio and Franchise Portals all contribute to our brand growth each day.
What makes Fresh Healthy Vending stand out from the competition?
Our model is absolutely turnkey and we offer the most support. Ensuring our franchisees are equipped to succeed each day is what we do best. We supply the best locations, we sell the best products and we offer the most support. It’s that simple.
Oh, we also have lots of successful franchisees singing our praises!
In your opinion, what makes a successful Fresh Healthy Vending franchisee?
Somebody who follows the system well enough to know when their own proactivity can further their success even more. Operating vending machines isn’t so difficult. Operating them efficiently with a smile is a little more difficult. The ones that do the latter seem to be more successful.
What changes have you seen in your industry over recent year? And how have you adapted to them?
When we started we were the only kids on the block, now there is much more competition. The industry itself however is now supported by government initiatives and mandates on health and wellness, which we are more than happy about. It proves our concept is valid and timely.
What does the future hold for Fresh Healthy Vending?
We will continue innovating; it’s what we are designed for. New products and technology to operate and franchise, new overseas markets opening up, more talented people joining our team are all in store for FHV.
What expansion plans have you got nationally and internationally?
We were recently asked to present at the World Franchise Association’s conference in Dubai, introducing Fresh Healthy Vending to the world. We have partners set up worldwide as of last month seeking master franchise licensees. The concept of healthy vending while mature in the US is almost non-existent everywhere else around the world. We will be looking to replicate our model in as many markets as possible.
What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?
Franchising isn’t for everyone. You must be 100% confident your concept will be well received on a large scale and that you can support your franchisees well enough for them to profit and profit well. I believe it is better being first to market with a franchise also. Most franchises that compete with existing concepts tend to fail within the first 12 months.
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Great question. I would have probably spent more time focusing on appointing a certain caliber franchisee rather than appointing anyone who wanted to be part of our business. Good franchisees make for an amazing business. Poor franchisees bring a business down.