May, 2015

Managing A Food Business Fit Out

Are you one of the many business owners who want to grow your business and open new stores but you are not really sure where or how to start? Working closely with over a hundred food business owners in various stages of growth has helped me learn and understand the process of replicating the success of an existing profitable hospitality business. This is no formula for success but there are certainly and certainly tricks and tips that may help you along the way to growing your business.

The three common problems which hold business back from opening new stores are: lack of time, knowledge and capital. In this article, I will go through some of the knowledge on selecting sites that I have found to be missing in business that are struggling to take the leap moving from one store to many.

Business expansion doesn’t happen in a snap of a finger. The process of systemising your existing business ready for expansion, research into locations demographics and available sites and finally taking the leap to opening a new store may take months or even years. Much of this time is in research and planning. However, planning alone will not get you where you want to be, you have to put your plans into action if you want to make that dream of opening up a new store come true.

Site Selection

This is one of the most crucial stages in the process of expanding your business. It is at this point that you need to decide where you want to open up that new place. Some things that you might want to think about should include the following: target market, foot traffic, lease incentives and rent, and the services you will need.

Location is an important factor in the success of a business. Knowing and understanding the desires of your existing customers will help you to choose a location that appeals to the same demographic. It may be helpful to profile your existing customers. Where do they live? What areas do they work in? What is it that makes them visit your store? Thoroughly understanding your customer and the need your business fills for them will give you clarity in your choice of areas in which you can fill the same need.

It is also important to consider how easy it is for your customers to come to your store. Is the location accessible enough? Does it have enough parking space to accommodate your customers? Is it on the busy side of the road? How much pedestrian traffic is there? Minimising the effort that your customer has to make to visit you seems like a small issue but can have a big impact on your new business particularly in the early days. If you can locate yourself so that you are already surrounded by potential customers you will have higher visibility and a greater likelihood of attracting customers who are regular passers-by.

Once you have narrowed down a location you can start looking at individual tenancies.

Other things that you need to think about are the terms of the lease agreement. Is it fair? Is it beneficial to you? Getting someone to review this with is a smart move that you may want to make before closing the deal with the lessor.

You will also need to go over the property that you will be leasing. Does it need plumbing? How is the ventilation? Check also the pipes and lines, as well as the emergency exit. It should be at this point that you will know what needs to be fixed and repaired. If you’re not sure, you can always find someone to help you.

 Design and Approval

This is the part where you are required to work with a retail design manager to get a design assessment; and coordinate with the council to get a food license approval.

At this stage, you will be focusing more on how you want your store to look like and how it operates. Visualize your new store. How do you want it to be? What colour scheme do you prefer? What design or theme do you want to use? A commercial designer can guide you with this, and can also help you utilise the space for maximised profit.

Fit Out

It is during the fit out process that the builders get involved. To ensure that the fit out process is right on track, there should be proper coordination and open communication between the business owner, the builders, and the design team.

Working with a design firm will be an advantage because they can provide all the assistance you need starting from the selection of a site up to the opening of your new store.

If you want to get started, you can call our designer, Alisa, at 0415 199 466 for creative advice and more.


Creating Consistency in the Look and Feel of Your Stores

Expanding your business is no easy feat. In fact, growing a business and duplicating your success form one store to many is a challenge that many business owners struggle to master. If you are a franchisor or business owner I’m sure you will agree. Working with business owners who have five stores or fifty stores I have noticed that some of the challenges and objectives are the same.

  1. Firstly franchisors want to have a strong and recognisable brand image and a constant look and feel across all of their stores.
  2. Secondly franchisors want the look and feel of the stores to remain fresh and appeal to their target customers.
  3. Finally (and this is the big one) every business owner wants a point of difference, something that creates a “wow” moment for their customer or is memorable enough to make the customer come back.

Let’s talk first about creating consistency. Have you noticed how the brands that we all recognise as household names all have a signature look and feel? Take McDonalds for instance, their stores follow the same colour scheme, red and yellow. You can globe-trot all you want but you still won’t see a single McDonalds store with pink and blue walls.

The secret to creating your signature style and achieving consistency across your stores is to create a design strategy before you get to far along the road to growing the business. The Design strategy will detail the branding, interior design, colour scheme and store layout as well as the “big picture” vision for the business. Having a strategy for not only the initial design but also the store refits is important in creating consistence.

The ability of a store to attract customers directly affects the profitability of the business both for the franchisee and the franchisor.To keep your brand fresh and maintain your customer appeal it is important that this design strategy isn’t just prepared once and then left on the shelf.

Working ongoing every year or two at most with an experienced designer to review your current brand and set a new direction for future stores and refits keeps your brand alive and ahead of market trends. More importantly it keeps things fresh and interesting for your customers.

Finally, creating your point of difference and that “wow” customer experience. There are no rules for this. I am a firm believer that you are the one who already knows what makes your brand special and unique. It may be a family run pie shop that makes every customer feel like they are part of the family. If may be a café that serves up a little slice of Europe to their clientele. Whatever your point of difference is, I believe it is already there you just need to work with the right people to uncover and create it.

How Remarkable Design Can Help Your Business Grow

Business owners who are looking into expanding their hospitality business should start thinking more of the benefits a remarkable design could provide them. Artistry, as shown in the unique interiors and beautifully painted walls of multiple retail stores and franchises has become one of the growing trends today. Clearly, design correlates to the success of the hospitality business.

Dynamic Team Play

Business expansion entails a lot of hard work and collective efforts from a team of individuals with a unique set of skills and expertise. You will need the help of a financial analyst to manage your finances; a lawyer for the legal framework and franchise documents; an interior designer for the aesthetics and documentation of the concept design; and builders for the actual construction and fit out process.

The Power of Aesthetics

We cannot deny the fact that beauty has a way of attracting people. This also applies to newly opened branches of your hospitality business or retail and franchise stores. The more your store exudes beauty and uniqueness, the more people will be attracted to it. This basically means more income for you.

What I’m trying to say is, if you create a store that is attractive to the naked eye, chances are, you will attract more prospective customers to visit your place, and actually try the products and services you offer.

Work with an Interior Designer

Working with an experienced interior designer is beneficial to your growing business. Delegating the task of embellishing your otherwise plain-looking store to someone who actually has an eye for details and design is a smart move.

You can contact our designer, Alisa Newey at 0415 199 466 not only for creative advice, but for other things as well, such as the documentation of the entire process of replicating your success through the opening of new branches of your retails stores and franchises. She can also introduce you to the people who can help you in the expansion of your fast-growing business.

Visualise Your Ideas and Make Them Happen

More often than not, business owners who want to expand their business already have an idea of how they want the new stores to be like, or how they want these stores to operate. They may not necessarily rebrand and adapt a new concept but they do have visual images of how they want their retail stores to be recreated.

It is the job of the interior designer to put this image into reality, and that is why it is important to work with one who will not only put your idea on paper, but will actually help you make your dream store a reality.

Interior design may be an important tool in attracting new customers but this should not jeopardise the efficiency of the store or the establishment. It is still very important to properly utilise the space to maximise your target profit, and this is where the interior designer’s expertise come in really handy.