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Elizabeth Gillam on Food Franchising

A couple of weeks ago I sat down over a cup of tea and asked Elizabeth Gillam from Franchisee Success to share some of the insights she has gathered from ten years in Food Franchising. Liz bought her first Boost Franchise in 2004 and has gone on to open a Health Habits Franchise and Bucking Bull Carvery. I asked her to share some of her experiences starting out in Franchising and the keys that a business must have in place before they are ready to franchise and open new stores.

The Brand Story

Your need to communicate the value franchisees are getting upfront. Before you franchise a concept, you have to not only have a business model that shows profit but also you have to have a brand story. That is what people are paying for, you can’t just sell a dream.

“When I start working with business who are wanting to franchise, I ask, so what is your franchise model going to be?  We go through what their goals and aspirations are, what they feel they have to franchise and what their point of difference will be. Why is somebody going to buy a franchise over setting up a business on their own? They must be able to define what they will bring to the franchisee.”

The stores need to look similar and communicate the same story to the customer. When you are selling a franchise, you are selling not only your operations manuals but also the story behind your customer experience and brand.

Business Systems and a Leadership Team

To expand your business and open more stores you first need to free your time from the business. This takes an initial investment of time to record and systematise your business systems and test these systems with your leadership team. If you don’t have a leadership team in place your stores are not autonomous.

“You have to know your business inside out and upside down, what works, what doesn’t. You will need to systematise what you do and what makes you successful and then test that. The only way to do that is to put a leadership team in place that is running under those systems.”

In franchising, you are asking for a premium because your business is systematised. What is the system your franchisees will be buying?

The Pilot Store

In Franchising, you are selling a product, that product is your brand, store design and business systems. Setting up a company-owned pilot store will allow you to prove your business model and store design. You must come to the Franchisee knowing exactly what your product is. By the time you are opening stores for Franchisees, your time of trialling is gone.

“Your pilot store must be running at around 20% profit because by the time you franchise and lay out for marketing there must still be enough profit in each store that someone sees the value of investing in them.”

Elizabeth shares more insights into food franchising and tips for franchisees to increase profitability in her book  “Upsize Your Profit”. 

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!

 

 

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.

 

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Restaurant?

Starting a Restaurant Business

Starting your own business can be a little overwhelming and exciting at the same time. Opening up a small café or restaurant takes careful planning to achieve the plan or goal you have in mind. The first step involves a lot of brainstorming, until you come up with a solid business plan. This is where you decide what you want to achieve and how much you are willing to shell out for your business. That being said, it would be best to figure out how much it would cost you to start a restaurant.

Lease and Tenancy Expenses

First on the long list of expenses would be the rent, assuming that you don’t own the place where you will be opening up your restaurant. The amount of money that you will be spending for the lease agreement would depend on the location and the size of the place that you will be renting. It’s ideal to have at least three options before deciding which location would be best for your business.

Renovation and Interior Design

After you have decided where to open up your business, the next set of expenses that you will incur will be for the renovations and interior design. This includes materials for the renovation, furniture and equipment necessary for the business to be up and running, as well as the labour cost for the experts that you will be hiring to do the renovation and the interior design.

You may ask, is this really necessary? As a matter of fact, yes. Most often than not, aesthetics can affect your business. Beautiful interiors tend to attract more customers as compared to those that are not.

Feel free to contact our designer, Alisa, on 0415 199 466 for some creative advice to get you started. She can help you decide what concept, design or style would work best for the restaurant that you are looking into opening, and she can also help you document the entire process for future references.

Build your Restaurant Staff

As soon as you have finished renovating the place and making it aesthetically attractive to the naked eye, you can start managing your finances to cover the expenses for the restaurant staff that you need to hire. The basics would include a chef, an assistant, the waiting staff, dish washer, cashier, and other relevant positions that need to be filled with qualified candidates.

How many people do you need to keep the daily operations running smoothly? How much will they be earning? What are their responsibilities? What is the sitting capacity of your restaurant and how many waiting staff do you need to cover this? These are just some of the things that you need to think about.

Stock up and Start Serving

After you have successfully sorted out the finances that you will be shelling out for the restaurant staff, you can now begin to set aside the money for the restaurant stock. This means that you will have to decide when to stock and restock. Think about how much you need to spend for the ingredients so you can start stocking up and serving your customers with dishes that will make them crave for more.

Advertise and Market your Restaurant

As soon as you have everything you need to open up your new business, you can probably spend a couple extra bucks for some decent ads and fliers to give your business some exposure and let your customers know that you’re ready to serve them. To save money, you can also make use of social media platforms to reach out to your target market.

If you need some help, don’t hesitate to call our designer, Alisa, on 0415 199 466 so she can introduce you to the right people.

 

New Trends in Office Design

Office trends come and go. What may be popular today may no longer be the trend tomorrow.  In office design, it’s important to not only make the office look pleasing but to ensure that the office space is fully utilised as well.

Many office designs today lean towards space-saving as a primary goal. Working with an experienced interior designer can help you make your office look beautiful and at the same time be conducive to work. If this is something that you think would be beneficial to you, please feel free to give our designer, Alisa, a call on 0415199466 for further assistance. She can help you redesign and reinvent your office to give it a fresh new look to maximise productivity and workflow.

Multi-function Work Stations

Many offices today prefer low-panelled cubicles for easier interaction rather than the traditional solitary, walled-in work stations. True that the latter offers more privacy but for jobs that require frequent interaction, the former is more suitable and has become a popular pick for most office designs today. This is especially true for projects that need plenty of collaborations. Need some alone time to finish a report? You can always throw in an extra work lounge or two and a quiet room to make the work place well-utilised and suitable for work.

Clean and Green

Ever noticed that work seems to be a lot easier if you are in a good mood? Keeping the office space clutter-free gives it a more positive vibe. Adding some live plants will give it an earthly feel, and more often than not, this results to increased energy which in turn makes work easier.

Wide Open Spaces

This type of office design is perfect for jobs that require a lot of brainstorming and interaction. Using a sturdy table and a lot of chairs to accommodate a number of people is the main goal here. Installing whiteboards give employees the opportunity to visualise their brilliant ideas. An open work space helps build dynamic team plays and promotes a sense of camaraderie because the opportunity to interact with others is always present.

Bold Colours Scream Confidence

Gone are the days of the boring white walls. Fashion and design-related jobs tend to create an environment that can trigger all the senses to work sharper than ever. Putting together art pieces and bold colours can inspire the workers to unleash their creative side and spur-of-the-moment ideas. There’s no room for boredom for this kind of office space design.

Revamping your office to give it a new look is a good idea if you want to re-define who you are and what your company is all about. Who knows? This could actually bring you more prospects. Not sure where to start? Call our designer, Alisa on 0415199466 for some creative advice.