An Australian Franchisee Case Study
How did you become a franchisee at 27 years of age?
After I completed my university studies, I started my career in the hotel industry. It was very demanding work that provided excellent training in systems and customer service, which is the cornerstone of my Trios business. For over six years I worked in a number of hotels, including the Westin, Rydges and the award winning franchise group, Quest. I always envied people that owned their own business and at the age of 24, I set myself a three-year goal to have my own business.
Over the next three years, I did extensive research into different types of businesses. At 27 I purchased my Trios franchised business and have been running it for three years.
How does your day begin?
I start work at 7.30am, preparing for the lunch rush. Our staff progressively come in and attend to their respective checklists. We prides ourselves on making great tasting wraps that are unique to TRIOS with our own signature flatbreads and flavoursome dressings. That why we have a very high repeat customer satisfaction at Jam Factory.
Apart from the food preparation, there are also displays to be set up, menu boards updated, occasional ordering and before you know it, it’s lunch time. That the best part of my day where I love the interaction of dealing face to face with customers.
What is the lunch rush like?
The morning’s preparation has been focused on the crucial three hours, from 11.30am to 2.30pm. During that time we go flat out serving customers.
It’s not just my staff – I’m also involved in serving and constantly watching out for our four team members and all our customers. It is critical that customers are not left waiting too long, because we may not get them back the next day.
And after the lunch rush?
We continue to serve customers, although the pace eases off. After lunch we follow various checklists that revolve around cleaning, ordering, food safety checks and preparation for the next day.
How do you plan your week?
I know what to expect most days. I can largely predict customer flows by tracking my previous year’s takings down to the week, day and hour. I aim to do most of my ordering on Mondays, administration on Tuesdays, marketing on Wednesdays, then more ordering on Thursday. From Friday to Sunday we’re fully occupied with serving customers.
This structure is great in practice, but for various reasons it can be a challenge to follow, therefore I need to be organised at all times. The new menu introduced at the end of 2007 has increased business by 25 to 30 per cent, and I’ve found it difficult to keep up with my administration and marketing; this is the main reason I come to work early. If I am disorganised, my staff will probably be the same.
How much marketing do you do?
Ideally, I dedicate most of my Wednesdays to marketing. I walk the local streets, dropping off special offer pamphlets and customer loyalty cards. I focus on specific streets each Wednesday and track where the customers are drawn from. Not only are certain streets better than others, but certain sides of a street can be more rewarding. The franchisor provides us with the local marketing initiatives and tools. Using these, I can gather up information about the local area to help me target my marketing efforts.
How many hours a week do you typically work?
My working hours can vary from week to week. As I said earlier, I start at 7.30am so that I can ensure there is adequate preparation for the busy day ahead and I leave between 5 and 6pm. My typical working week varies between 50 to 60 hours, but this is my livelihood, so like any other business owner, I am willing to put in the hard work.
Which parts of the business do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy running my own business and welcome the challenges thrown at me every day. The work can be hard and the hours long, but it is rewarding and I live a comfortable lifestyle. The most enjoyable aspect of my business is the interaction with my customers whilst serving them good, tasty and healthy food.
And the less enjoyable aspects of the business?
My single biggest challenge, like everybody else in this retail environment, is finding the right staff that fits our culture. I keep a positive attitude with my staff, and I find if they feel they own part of the business they are more motivated at work. I encourage a fun, energetic team spirit amongst them all. They are the ones who serve the customers all day every day, and it is their enthusiasm and attitude that will keep the customers coming back!
Where do you turn for guidance and motivation?
I try and deal with most issues myself. I’m a highly motivated and positive person, but if I need guidance, I call the franchisor; building a strong relationship with your franchisor is essential to your success.
They have extensive experience and knowledge and they always are willing to listen and support me wherever possible. The franchisor also has specialist resources in marketing, operations, leasing and fit outs.
Ultimately, my drive comes from wanting to be successful for myself and to help my parents and family.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start?
Basically, I knew very little about running a business when I started. I quickly realised the importance of quality service, dealing with staff and suppliers. I am committed to learning, and learn something new every day. I believe I will still be learning in 10 years.
What makes a successful Trios franchisee?
I think there are a number of factors that contribute to being a success as a Trios franchisee. Firstly, you must be actively involved in the business. And you must be 100 per cent committed. Don’t expect to find a manager to run your business for you as well as you will. You have to be present at all times, doing the hard yards and be willing to get your hands dirty during busy periods. The franchisee needs to be in tune with all aspects of the business, especially ideas to increase average customer spend and how many times I can get that customer to come back every week. The best part of the TRIOS menu is that we have 30 different meal choices from hot and cold Laffé Wraps one day, to a fresh salad or a baked spud on another. This give us a competitive edge during the week.
Secondly, a strong relationship with the franchisor is paramount, I can’t see how you can remain motivated and committed without having faith in your franchisor.
Thirdly, you must be able to laugh, or else you’ll go crazy.
Fourthly, as I said earlier, you have to be willing to learn and keep learning every day.
Finally, you have to absolutely love what you do. You can’t just do it for the money; you must be passionate about your business, and you must believe in the product you are selling to customers.
Any words of wisdom for a new franchisee?
Choose your business carefully, stay positive, enjoy what you do, work hard to achieve your goals, and the rewards will follow.
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