The allure of the brand
“Taste Holdings (which owns the Maxi’s brand) is a great organisation to be a part of. I’ve been in retail for close to 20 years, and I’ve been a part of other franchises, but Taste is unique. As a franchisee, you’re often nothing more than a number to head office. Not with Taste Holdings. The company knows and cares about the franchisees. Open communication is encouraged. You can pick up the phone and easily speak with someone in charge.”
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Why a franchise is crucial
“There is an awful lot of competition in the restaurant space. In my opinion, setting up an independent operation isn’t even an option. Customers like the predictability and consistency of a franchise. So, if you want to open a restaurant, it needs to be a franchise.”
“Taste Holdings expects new franchisees to work in an existing store for three weeks, and I can understand why: It gives you great insight into what it actually takes to own and operate a Maxi’s. You learn the ins and outs of the operation. This way, you don’t go into things blindly. You know what to expect.”
The right personality
“You need the right personality to own and operate a restaurant. You need to be front-of-house. You can’t hide away in the office all day. You need to enjoy speaking to people. If you like interacting with people, there is no greater business to run than a restaurant. You’re dealing with so many personalities, which can be challenging but also very fulfilling.
“I make it a point to remember the names of as many of our regular customers as possible, and I encourage my staff to do the same. There is nothing better than knowing exactly what a customer will order and have it waiting for them before they even reach a table.
“It is an industry that really gets into your blood. A happy customer can provide you with an immense amount of satisfaction.”
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Expecting the unexpected
“You might think that working in the same restaurant every day can be boring, but the truth is, every day is different. A group of 30 people might walk through your door, or a company could order 40 hamburgers. You’ll be amazed by the interesting scenarios that crop up. No two days are ever the same.”
Hiring the right staff
“Prospective franchisees often underestimate the people management component of owning a business. Owning a restaurant, for instance, means managing around 20 people daily. It can be very difficult if you don’t have the right people.
“People who work in a restaurant are often young. I like to hire staff who are studying towards something. One of my permanent waitresses is in her third year of attaining an engineering degree, for example. If you hire people who are bettering themselves, you won’t retain them forever, but that’s okay. You want employees who are ambitious and driven.”
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Ordering the easy way
“An awesome part of the Taste Holdings model is that the company supplies about 95% of the products and supplies needed. So, instead of dealing with a dozen suppliers, you’re dealing with one. Moreover, the size of the company allows franchisees access to great prices. A sizable operation like Taste has much more buying power than a small independent restaurant.”
How Body20 Moves Their Franchisees In The Direction Of Success
Nivi Kassiram abandoned the corporate life for a career in health and fitness by investing in a Body20 franchise. She never looked back.
Nivi Kassiram, owner of Body20 Atholl Square in Sandton, left behind her career in finance to focus on being a new mom. Little did she know that this decision would lead her into a venture that would enrich her physically, financially and emotionally.
“After I had my baby I struggled to lose the weight,” she says. “I attended a Body20 trial session. I was new to the concept and curious to try it.”
Nivi loved the experience, but she saw something bigger than simply meeting her weight-loss goals — she saw a business opportunity. A franchise gave Nivi a way to join an established brand with proven systems, while still owning her own business.
“My husband and business partner, Priyesh, who is a doctor, has always been my support and was instrumental in showing me the upside of the business and the validity of the science involved.”
After doing her due diligence, Nivi confirmed that Body20’s unique electro muscle stimulation training concept has established a niche in an untapped market, making the brand a worthwhile investment.
Leaving the comfort zone
As a new franchisee in a pioneering location, settling into her role as a first-time business owner was a challenge, but a supportive franchisor eased her in.
“Bertus Albertse is hands on and extremely smart,” Nivi says of her franchisor.
“We’re close to him and understand how he operates. His energy, passion and approachability influences everyone in the business network.”
The personalised support coupled with the easy buy into the franchise was enough for Nivi to get into Body20. “We’re an agile brand that never rests,” she says.
Many franchisees buy a business and get someone else to run it. “Owner-operation is vital. You need to be part of the brand. It all ties in with having your finger on the pulse of your industry and the business, and knowing your clients personally. Your clients’ goals become your goals, you feel their pain and celebrate their achievements,” she says.
“We change lives doing what we do every single day,” says Nivi.
“Some clients have undergone so much of a transformation that they are even able to come off their blood pressure medication, or complete a sports event that has always been a goal.”
To keep clients motivated, Nivi’s team focus on a personalised touch, ensuring each Body20 client feels special when they walk through the door.
“Your staff are an extension of your business and if they love what they do, clients will enjoy being there and look forward to each session. Our trainers all have their unique strong points and we’re always keeping the training fresh and dynamic, making sure we’re effective and ensuring the training is not boring. We’re a lifestyle brand and work relentlessly in the pursuit of a holistic, sustainable solution for our clients’ ultimate goals.”
(Watch) Franchising Refuelled: The Road To Tshepo Maboa And Andrew Sehata’s Partnership
Tshepo Maboa and Andrew Sehata have gone from an independent business owner and petrol attendant respectively, to running two successful fuel retailer franchises in Pretoria. Eight years later, their partnership is growing strong — both within their businesses and with their banking partner.
Watch this video on Tshepo Baboa and Andrew Sehata, Engen Fuel Retailers
- Tshepo Maboa and Andrew Sehata
- Franchisees since: 2009
What made you decide to become franchisees?
Tshepo: I found it difficult to run a business from scratch having attempted to keep a laundromat and pub, among others, afloat before joining a franchise. I had all the business knowledge I needed to grow the businesses, but found myself lacking in terms of systems required to drive the business, and I learnt the hard way that it can be a dangerous combination.
Andrew: I used to be an employee at a fuel retailer franchise and my dream was always to be my own boss. By owning a franchise I knew I’d be able to create a steady income and help those in need of employment, as our country is facing an unemployment challenge.
How did you secure your first, and subsequently second, franchise?
Tshepo: I attended a lot of seminars and used any information I could get my hands on. The capital required is high, especially the unencumbered funds, so when Andrew told me he needed a partner for a fuel retail franchise he had been offered, I was already looking around.
Andrew: I think my journey from being a petrol attendant helped me to get to where I am today. I already knew the franchise basics so it became much easier for me to adjust to being a franchisee.
What has been the most challenging part of your journey?
Tshepo: Raising the capital to finance the business. Our first site was small, comparatively speaking, and we had to grow to acquire a second site. Rapid growth required a capital injection to keep up with the pace of growth. For example, our second site had a very primitive design when we acquired it, and with the revamp, the whole site had to be completely knocked down and rebuilt from scratch, and we added a fast food franchise in the process. All this was a very costly exercise.
Andrew: Money is tight all around, but more so in the township. This often makes it difficult to sell items in our area of trade. Sometimes we have robberies late at night and shoplifting is rife.
Why did you opt for a partnership?
Tshepo: Andrew needed a partner because he didn’t have enough cash to open a franchise on his own. I didn’t either, so it made sense to join forces.
Andrew: Tshepo helped in raising the franchise fees, and as you know, two minds are better than one. That’s why we are running two sites today.
How do you run the two sites jointly?
Tshepo: We have a 50% stake in both businesses. I manage the site in the CBD, because I live in Midrand and it’s easier for me, while Andrew runs the Mamelodi site as he lives in the area.
Andrew: We have been faithful to each, and sometimes we swap the running of the sites.
Why is it important for successful franchisees to have a strong relationship with their banking partners?
Tshepo: When we moved our banking from our previous bank, the funds needed for any upgrade were easier to acquire. Nedbank really understands the nature of our business. They have a team that specialises in fuel retail so it’s made it easy for them to ask the right questions.
Andrew: Nedbank has put some orderly daily systems in place to make it easier for someone to understand his business needs. They also provide you with a professional team of staff.
Cash In On South Africa’s Burgeoning Second-Hand Goods Market
You don’t have to open a thrift shop to attract the millennial consumer. They’re attracted to bargains from stores you may have turned your nose up to as investment options – second-hand shops and online marketplaces.
A 2% decline in the real net wealth of South Africans isn’t bad news for everyone.
While Stats SA has reported a corresponding slump in conventional retail sales in the first quarter of 2017, as a start-up franchisee, you can take advantage of this economic predicament.
“We need to get past the doom and gloom and recognise that there is a silver lining in the second-hand goods market,” says Cash Converters CEO, Richard Mukheibir.
Second-hand goods are making a comeback. Engaging well with the influential millennial stance to ‘reduce, recycle and repurpose’, is the best way to respond to this development.
Here’s why considering a franchise that’s geared towards previously-owned goods could be your best bet:
1Pre-loved is popular
According to Bidorbuy CEO Jaco Jonker, second-hand goods account for as much as 40% of all items recently sold on the company’s site.
South Africans are hoarding up to R35 000 worth of unused items in their homes, according to a survey conducted by fellow online marketplace Gumtree.
“Putting that cash back into circulation is quite significant,” explains Gumtree SA spokesperson Estelle Nagel, adding that the results of the survey indicate the stigma previously associated with second-hand goods has been firmly dismissed.
True to the millennial consumer, popular items sold on these sites include electronics, particularly smartphones and laptops.
2Greening the economy; stretching the rand
“Buying second-hand makes sense for the environment and has very clear benefits for those concerned about excessive consumerism,” says Mukheibir.
“It began with the trend for vintage goods, furnishings and clothing and has extended into savvy second-hand buying and selling of staples of modern life, such as electronic devices.”
While early adopters of new technology snap up the latest version of technological devices upon their release, environmentally conscious shoppers line up to buy the discarded devices. This is because the latter know they’ll get a bargain as on these often nearly-new goods.
This should create a constant flow of stock and customers relieving you of that stock quite quickly and consistently.
3Cheaper and safer than before
While Mukheibir believes buying through a bricks-and-mortar store gives consumers additional protection and reassurance, Bidorbuy and Gumtree have seen second-hand goods surge in demand to just under half of all goods sold.
“There are dangers in buying second-hand online because you’re more vulnerable to scams and con artists,” says Mukheibir, but as of 2009 SA consumers’ are protected by the Second Hand Goods Act and they receive further support under the Consumer Protection Act.
So, while you may not think selling other people’s discarded items is a good business idea, consider the millennial consumer who’s looking out for the environment and their pocket. Whether you go online on bricks and mortar, remember that a few people’s trash could pave the way to your business’ success.
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