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Are You Ready To Open New Stores?

Brian Keen from How to Franchise Simply talks to Renew Design and shares three decades experience working within the franchise industry. We discussed a simple strategy to set your business up for growth.0aeebbc

There are a handful of key ingredients that must be in place before a business is ready to expand. When a business owner first looks at expanding the business, they need to look closely at whether they have the right ingredients to open a new store.

The first one is the demand for the product. You have to make sure that there are enough customers who are hungry to buy your product. Secondly, you have to make sure that the business is profitable. A lot of people go out to franchise because they’re desperate to grow and they can’t grow their existing business because it’s not profitable enough. This should be a warning signal. Lastly, once you know there is a demand for your product and that you can sell your product at a profit, you have to know your business model can handle volume.

Preparing your business for expansion is a process of refining your existing business model. As you move through the stages, you will define and clarify your ideas.

  1. Firstly, you have to design the concept of your business. This is your brand messaging, customer experience, marketing strategy and your organizational chart.
  2. Then you need to define your business model a bit more by developing budgets and your territories.
  3. Once you have a clear understanding of your business model and figures, you can develop the detail of your operations manuals and store style guides.
  4. Finally, you are ready to deploy and open new stores.

Develop the Concept for Your Business

Expanding the business is basically taking what you have done and learnt and starting from scratch and saying;

“How will I change this?”

“What will it be like now?”

You may find you need to eliminate some things because they are not profitable. When you expand, keep it really simple. Most successful businesses that grow have a simple flow to them. Break it down to the minimum.

To simplify the operations of your business, start by putting an organization strategy in place. Usually in a small business, the business owner will be wearing several different hats. Before the business is ready to expand, you need to break it down into different segments. For instance, they may be administration, marketing, sales, production, and so on. You then need to describe very simply what those roles are and then list down the key five or six tasks under each one.

Breaking the business down and understanding the key tasks will form the beginning of the operations and procedures manuals. However, before you sit down and write your operations and procedures manuals you need to make sure everything works as effectively as possible.

Define Your Business Model

Once you have simplified your business model, the next thing you need to do is test your business model. Really look at the processes and expenses for your new store and how this will differ in the new stores to your existing store. Consider store setup costs, suppliers, wages and overheads. Allow for an additional marketing and advertising budget for each store.

For store setup costs, some of those figures won’t be viable when you are doing your preliminary budgets and you will need to revisit them later. Budgets for store fit out will vary for different sites however you should start with a realistic budget figure and refine this as you develop your business model.

Who are your customers? The key thing that most people overlook when opening a second store is understanding the demographics of the area in which you are opening. You need to do some research on the demographics, on the statistics, find out about the profile of the customer you are looking to attract.

There is an idea that is often used in marketing called your avatar.  Your avatar is your ideal customer. Profiling your ideal customers before you set up another store allows to look at the demographics in the new area and see how many of your target customers are in the area around your new store. Understanding who your customer is helps you to define your brand messaging and create the experience you want to offer to your customers. This will affect your marketing messages, the language you use to talk to your customers, and the look and feel of your stores.

Develop an Operational Strategy

Once you have defined your business model and customer, you are ready to document your operations manuals. The purpose of your operations manual is to allow you to communicate and train your staff in the operations of your business.  You will usually need two types of manuals, comprehensive training manuals and quick reference checklists.

In Franchising, it is pretty much accepted that you need to open a pilot store when you open your first franchise.  When you open your first business you still have things to fine tune. You need to test your store design and operational systems with staff. You need to see what works and pressure test your systems to find the holes and the things that you have overlooked.

Open New Stores

In the first few months of opening your new store you will be testing and modifying things. You will test the manuals, equipment, layout and business model to make sure it works as effectively as possible. When you open new stores, you need people who can assume significant responsibility, these may be managers or franchisees. You want them to step up to the mark, not because you’re paying them but because they love being involved with your business.

When you have opened your second store, you need to treat it like a newborn baby. What I mean is, monitor it very, very closely. Bad habits set in quickly, and having a system for monitoring the performance of the business will allow you to have the peace of mind everything is on track.

Expanding your business and opening new stores can be rewarding. Asking the right questions and planning in advance will help to keep the process simple.

Just Opened: Beefy’s Pies Mango Hill

Since opening their first store in the Sunshine Coast in 1997, Beefy’s commitment to creating award winning pies and connection with the local community has seen the business thrive. Last month, Beefy’s opened their eight store in Mango Hill  with a fresh design inspired by the history of the brand.

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Taken during the construction of the new Beefy’s store.

Designing the new store was not just about selecting colours for the walls, rather it was uncovering what works for the existing stores and creating a new store design that tied into the existing brand. Renew Design worked with Beefy’s Managing Director Mark Hobbs to define the experience Beefy’s create for their customers. Rather than starting with a blank canvas, we looked at the tradition and values of the brand to define what Beefy’s were already offering to their customers to make the stores a success.

Shopfront

The new Beefy’s store in Mango Hill.

The Beefy’s experience is first and foremost about enjoying a great pie. The idea of the pie is the subtle inspiration for many elements of the fitout. From the detailing of the entry to the warm timbers, the experience is designed to feel warm and homely. Quirky touches with a sense of humour  include the “ floating pie” lights above the shared tables.  The inspiration for the detailing of the new store interior came directly from the product.

Counter

Since opening their first store, Beefy’s have built strong connections to the local community. Regularly sponsoring local sports teams, schools and charities the stores are local in the way the operate at every level. Each of the Beefy’s stores are family-owned and operated and this sense of family extends to staff and customers. Supporting local charities and events is a big part of what allows Beefy’s to connect with their local community. This was something we wanted to convey in store to make it visible to customers

The new store sees a fresh take on the experience of visiting a Beefy’s store and the friendly welcome and first delicious bight of a Beefy’s pie as as good as ever.

 

Building a Team of Experts

Building a Team of Experts

Whether you are opening your first store or fiftieth you will need to work with a team of people to make your vision a reality. Many business owners feel overwhelmed and out of their depth dealing with the fit out of a new store. Advice you can trust from people who have been through the process before can be invaluable. So how do you build a team of experts? Who do you need to contact? How much do you need to pay? The people you need are different for different store types. For Hospitality Business you will usually need a Retail Designer, graphic Designer and Shopfitter at a minimum.

Retail Designer

Your retail designer is usually the first person you engage and their job is to design your store and guide you through the fit out process. Your designer will work with you from initial sit inspection to develop your concept for the store and will produce drawing for council approvals and prising by your shopfitter.  Your designer will also help you to manage council approvals and centre management approvals. There are some designers who have a package price for different types of jobs while some will price based on the requirements of the job. You should expect to agree on the price upfront based on the services you need.

Graphic Designer and Branding

The services you require from your graphic designer can vary widely. Usually you will need logo and signage design at a minimum. You may also want your graphic designer to prepare menus, loyalty cards and marketing materials. As for the prices, it will depend on what you need exactly. Do you need to develop and unroll a new brand concept? If you have an existing logo and signage, you may only need a graphic designer to make minor adjustments.

Shopfitter

Your shopfitter helps you to manage building costs and is in charge of construction your new store. A good shopfitter will work with you from site selection all the way to opening your new store. He can provide you with advice regarding services and construction costs. During the fit out period your shopfitter will be mange the subcontractors and ensure your new store is completed on time and to a high level of finish.

Hydraulic Consultant

It is important for hospitality businesses to work with a hydraulic consultant for the design and submission of the plumbing and drainage plans. Their rate is usually a package price based on the amount of work required. Based on the consultants I work with I usually allow between $1000 to $1500 on small tenancy jobs.

Building Certifier

Your building certifier is in charge of issuing your building approval. They will look through your drawings before construction to ensure your design Meets the Building Code and will also inspect the completed store before issuing your Building Approval. The fee that they charge will depend on the size and complexity of your fit out and the degree of structural work. As a rule of thumb, I allow between $1500 to $2000 on tenancy design jobs, based on the rates my consultant offers.

Town Planner

As for town planners, their advice is only needed in selected fit outs like if you require a development application. Your designer should always check with a town planner upfront ton confirm if a DA will be required for your site.

Understanding who you need to talk to about what can make it easier to get started in a new store fit out. Speak with your designer or shopfitter first and ask for recommendation for people they work with often and trust. Good Communication between everyone involved in your store fit out will create the best end result.

Understanding Fit Out Costs & Limiting Financial Risks

There is a saying by Dave Ramsey that goes this way: “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”  Knowing where your money is supposed to go is an essential part of business expansion. Having a realistic budget will save you time and will free you from unnecessary delays and stress. It will speed up the process of building new stores, and curb possible hindrances caused by financial restraint.

Most business owners I have worked with often ask how much it would cost them to fit-out the new store. This is a common problem in the industry if you do not understand the design and fit out process that is why it is necessary to know the roles that your designer and shopfitter play in managing the cost of the project.

An entrepreneur must have a clear understanding of how he or she wants the new store to look like and operate. First, create a list of the furniture and equipment necessary to keep the business running smoothly would help determine how much it would cost to replicate the success of their already existing store. Second, get a builder to run through the description of the typical store layout and floor plan for an estimate of the fit out cost.

In a hospitality fit out, your key costs usually come down to four things:

  1. Equipment
  2. Services
  3. Fit out
  4. Consultants and approvals

Equipment

Put together a list of all the things you need, including, but not limited to your cooking equipment, bench top equipment, fridges and freezer, stainless steel shelving, storage equipment, and counter tops, plus all other equipment that will be included in your retail display and counter area.

Give your equipment list to your equipment supplier for pricing and also to your shopfitter and designer to allow them to understand the equipment you need to allow for in your typical store layout.

Services

Services are a hidden cost that can easily be overlooked and have a big impact on your budget. Knowing your equipment requirements is the first part to understanding your services costs. It is best to have a sit-down with your shopfitter so you could discuss the cost of the installation of the equipment. He can give you the price range for the installation of grease trap if needed, exhaust canopy, as well as electric circuits and wiring connections.

Fit out

Fit out costs can be a bit more challenging as there are a number of people involved in controlling these costs. The problem arises when pricing is only discussed once the design has been resolved and documented. The way the fit out industry works currently, most shopfitters will not price a job until they have detailed drawings to base their pricing on.

Understanding your fit out costs upfront relies on close collaboration between your shopfitter and your retail designer. The way I approach cost is to give the business owner as much information upfront as we can. To do this we put together a concept plan within the first couple of weeks of your store design and run through a value management exercise with your shopfitter which will ultimately give you confidence that costs are under control.

Consultants and Approvals

Completing a new store design takes a team of experts, such as the retail designer, graphics designer, shopfitter, and others who will assist you in different areas to get the best possible result. Knowing who these key players are, and understanding their roles will give you an idea of who you need to contact to understand pricing. We will discuss more of these on my next post.

 

Juzcit Pressed Juice Freshens Up The Logan Hyperdome

There is a growing trend for shopping centres to create a market feel in and around food tenancies. Fresh fruit and vegetables on display, open fronted tenancies and an informal layout create a feel that is more in keeping with an open air market than a traditional shopping centre. Logan Hyperdome is the latest centre to follow the trend with the opening of the The Market Room at the beginning of July.

Juzcit 2 The Market Room is a breath of fresh air for the Hyperdome and creates an exciting new food experience for shoppers. Many of the kiosks are not yet fully  open however it is already apparent that the area has not only answered the growing demands for food retail but has also given the consumers a unique fresh food experience.

Juzcit opened their doors at the entry to the Market Room and have had fantastic feedback from customers and management. Offering fresh pressed juice and delicious spiced cold drip coffee Juzcit is the health alternative for a quick energy boost.

Juzcit is a cold pressed juice company with a goal to change the world, staring in our own backyard. Through their Juice Kiosk and home delivered fresh bottled juices they make it convenient and easy to live health and nourish ourselves with the highest quality foods.

Juzcit 1

The brief for the Juzcit kiosk was creating an open relaxed relationship with the customer. Rather than serve across a counter the layout is open to allow the staff to interact with and help the customers. Michelle the founder of Juzcit also wanted the materials of the kiosk to represent the brand; raw, natural and authentic. The design team from renew Design worked with Michelle to detail a simple design using plywood, stone and ceramic tiles.

Branding experts and graphic designers Brave Creative collaborated with us to provide their expertise and develop the brand strategy and logo and signage. The printed plywood panels that surround the kiosk share the Juzcit story and values with customers.

Creating a remarkable business takes a team of people. Juzcit is a great example of staring with a simple idea for a great product and the power of collaboration.

Project Team

Client : Michelle Caterson

Retail Designer : Renew Design

Graphic Designer : Brave Creative

Shopfitter : Rowe Shopfitters

 

 

The First Step to Business Expansion

They say that in order to reach your destination, you have to begin your journey by taking the first step. This applies to business expansion as well. Yes, you have a successful business, but are you ready to open another one?

One of the reasons why business owners are hesitant to venture into business expansion is the lack of knowledge on how to replicate success in a different environment. Copying the exact set up of the business is usually not enough. There are other factors to consider like the location, demographics, business operations, functionality and cost.

A Trusted Advisor 

Taking the leap from running one successful business to expanding and opening more stores is a big one. To open your first store you had to learn new skills. You worked out how to manage a fit out, hire staff, find suppliers and manage the day to day operations of your store. Often as a first time business owner, you had to learn how to juggle everything and manage decisions even when you were out of your depth because you were the only one to do it. Many business owners approach business expansion in the same way. Suddenly you are out of your depth again and juggling running your existing business with finding new sites and managing the design and fit out of your new store.

Lack of time and knowledge can be a big barrier for many business owners. The reason many successful business stay small is that expansion isn’t easy and takes the work of a whole team of people. So what is the solution? Working with an experienced retail designer can take away much of the stress of opening new stores and leave you feeling in control of the process. Always ask your designer upfront if they will assist you with design management, this means managing all of your approvals, consultants and timeframes to make sure your new store opens on time. Your designer can work alongside you, and guide you through the design and fit out of your store.

Working with the right people will make your new store fit  an exciting experience.

Replicate Your Store, Replicate Your Success

Replicating the Look and Feel of Your Current Store Across a Variety of Sites 

You have gone through the early days of working long days, nights, and weekends to get your business off the ground.  You have taken on staff,  grown a following of customers and made your business a success. For some business owners, this is enough, but ambitious business owners see the first successful business as a start. For them, this is only the beginning.

Now that you have the skills, product, and team – you are ready to open new stores and expand, right? From the business owners I have worked with going through this transition, it is evident that one successful store doesn’t always mean you are ready to open two, three, or a dozen more. The first thing you need to consider is how well your business is running without you? If running one store is your full time job, how will you handle running more than one?

To expand your business, you must separate your time from your business by documenting what you do in such a way that someone else can learn to do what you do.  A franchise consultant or a business coach can help you with this. It will mean an initial investment of your time, but will serve as the foundation for your business. After all, opening a new store is opening a new business, and your systems are your recipe book for success.

Consistency is the Key

In business expansion, consistency is the key to successfully replicating the look and feel of your current store across a variety of sites. Consistency creates brand recognition for your customers. Remember, your aim here is to allow your customers to recognize your newly opened store, and to create familiarity. How can your customers recognize your brand, that when you open up a new store, they will automatically know that it is a replica of an existing one?

You don’t necessarily have to copy the exact same store to ensure that it is recognizable. What works for one site does not guarantee that it will be the same for the other. Look at McDonald’s. It has millions of branches all over the world. The store layout are different in every location and yet, people know that it is McDonald’s. They are consistent with their logo and their colour scheme. The store layout varies but the system to order is the same.
The point is not just to copy what is already there, it is adapting to the new sites without sacrificing brand recognition and business functionality.

 

Communicating Your Point Of Difference

There’s a saying that goes this way, “Before you can know what you are, you must know what you are not.”

For instance, a café must know that they are not a fine dining restaurant. That being said, it is imperative that you, as a business owner, can communicate your point of difference to your customers.

What’s Your Story? 

What is special about you? What can you offer that others cannot? What do you believe in? What are you passionate about?

Let’s say that you are an art enthusiast and so are your ideal customers. You don’t have to curate a multi-million dollar art collection on the walls of your restaurant to communicate to your customers that you love art. You’re opening up a café, not a museum! So, how do you show your artistic side?

Be creative and don’t be afraid to share your story. I find the things that excite me and that I love are somehow linked to experiences I have had or people that mean something to me. I love daffodils because they remind me of frolicking through Hyde Park in London Springtime when I was 21. Seeing the bright sunshiny yellow in a cushion or a painting brings back those memories.

Define Your Point of Difference. 

I consulted with a restaurant owner who was passionate about quality health food. He made all of their bread on site and could talk for hours about the benefits of bread made without preservatives and chemicals. Yet looking around his business I couldn’t see the evidence of his passions anywhere. His fit out was beautiful but it lacked the passion and substance that I had found talking with the owner.

Share your experiences with your customers, let them get to know what you are passionate about and involve them in the story of your business. Be personal. Reach out to your customers by incorporating your beliefs and passions into your business. Pull them into your world and let them experience why you do what you do.

 

 

More Bums On Seats

In small businesses, cash flow is king and one of the common questions I get asked by restaurant owners is how I can get more bums on seats? There are a couple of tips that can help attract customers and turn them into raving fans.

  1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

 Are you trying to attract tourists with your authentic Australian burgers? Or are you serving Brisbane natives who want convenience and a healthy meal on the go?

Being clear on who your customer is will influence all areas of your business from menu, to marketing and store design. Understanding your customer is no longer just about age, and demographic. To create a concept that will make your customers want to experience what you have to offer you also must understand their needs. What can you offer that has meaning to your customers, makes their lives easier and will bring them back for more?

Put yourself in the shoes of your target customer. What are you interested in? What are the little problems that you would like to solve? How do you decide if a newly opened café or restaurant is worth the second glance? If you’re thinking “visuals” and experience– then you’re dead on.

  1. CREATE AN EXPERIENCE WORTH SHARING

Let’s be honest, concept and aesthetics have a lot to do with the success of a hospitality business, be it a café, a restaurant or a bar and grill. People tend to pick a place based on how it looks, and the experience that it offers.

There is a restaurant in the Philippines that has a weird concept, yet it has become wildly popular. The restaurant uses real toilet bowls as seats and bath tubs as tables. Pipes and bathroom tiles were used as décor. It doesn’t stop there. It also has a photo booth with a giant toilet bowl and lots of props for the customers to enjoy.

The restaurant offers a variety of food with a Filipino twist, however what they are really selling their customers is an experience. It is memorable, it is remarkable and it is worth dragging your friends along to experience.

  1. WE ARE IN THE EXPERIENCE BUSINESS

In a product based industry it is easy to get caught up in selling products and fail to realize that the customer’s impression of the business is about everything they experiences; not just the food. Your customer’s experience is made up of the food they eat, the friendliness of the staff, and how attractive and comfortable the store environment is.

If you want to create a REMARKABLE customer experience, you need to come up with something new and unique to offer to your customers.

Disruptive Design, Making Your Customers Notice You

Whether it is scrambling through the Rubble Bars in Budapest or winding down back alleys in the grungy end of Fortitude Valley to visit “Greaser” (one of Brisbane’s new hotspots) customers are searching for experience. The young twentysomething hipsters with money to spend can be a fickle crew but one thing is for sure, they are looking for something different, something worth telling their friends about. The real question is, are you giving it to them?

The hospitality industry is becoming increasing competitive. There seems to be a new laneway bar or American food restaurant on every corner and customers have their choice of venues to wine and dine. However going out for dinner and drinks is not just about the food it is about the experience. Going “out” is a social experience, it is about the food the environment and the company. Your customers want to try something new. They want to be delighted. They want to take their friends out somewhere that will make them look cool for recommending it

Are you able to provide something special that can attract these potential customers? With so many different options available, what will make you stand out? Why will they choose you? A unique concept will draw more customers in. If you can pique their interest, chances are, they will want to visit your place not only for the food but for the experience itself.

What is your story?

What made you decide to go with the concept that you have chosen? This is where you communicate with your customers. Be personal and weave them a story, communicate your passion and make them part of the story. And ask them what they love about visiting your business? How do you become part of their story?  People visit and spend money with businesses they care about, to create a loyal customer you must be offering them something of significance to them. You may be a cafe and your product is convenience or you may be a baker who brings back the feeling of sitting in grandma’s kitchen.

What makes you remarkable?

The hospitality industry is one of the biggest and most competitive industries globally. With so many options available in the market, what makes you stand out? What can you offer your customers that others cannot? First you have to tempt them through the door to see what makes you remarkable and then you have to offer them an experience worth coming back for.

Your goal is to create difference!