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Chicken Xpress On Plucking Up The Courage To Franchise

Chicken Xpress is a home-grown brand that was developed with a focus on African flavour and a passion for entrepreneurship at its core.

GG van Rooyen

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About the Brand

The franchise was developed in KwaZulu Natal during 2011, when the founders noticed a need for a business model that could serve the nation’s most-loved product — quality fried chicken — in an affordable manner, both for the customer and franchisee.

Chicken Xpress focused on smaller-format stores of roughly 80m2 in size that could be built in high-commuter areas across South Africa.

“While we have great respect for overseas brands operating in SA, our goal is to be the ‘people’s champion’ of our industry,” says Chicken Xpress MD, Devon Scoulelis.

Chicken Xpress currently has 16 stores across South Africa, with another 45 planned for opening over the next 12 months. Its goal is to bring its offering to every community across South Africa, and Africa, through a rapid yet sustainable roll-out pattern.

The brand is also expanding across Africa, and has opened its first stores in Botswana and Sudan. Moreover, Chicken Xpress is currently exploring the feasibility of expanding into Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Ghana and other African regions.

Related: Chicken Xpress – The ‘No Frills, No-Fuss, Keeping-It-Simple Franchise’

Franchisee selection criteria

The Chicken Xpress business model is easily accessible, even for those who are new to entrepreneurship. Compared to many similar franchises, a Chicken Xpress franchise is quite affordable and boasts low barriers to entry. The company is looking for new and enthusiastic entrepreneurs who want to grow alongside the brand.

An ideal Chicken Xpress Franchisee displays strong leadership and interpersonal skills, and is able to make positive decisions for his or her business. An ideal franchisee remains resilient and has a strong ability to motivate team members.

“We want franchisees that are passionate about the brand and the long-term strategy we have at Chicken Xpress. We also want them to be hands-on, which will allow them to get to know the business. We ultimately want as many franchisees as possible to own multiple units, and this requires them to run profitable stores,” says Scoulelis.

Franchisee support

Training and support is very important for Chicken Xpress. Its head office team assists with site selection, negotiations with a landlord, store design and layout, training of staff, purchasing of stock, and, of course, organising a grand opening.

Once a store is open, Chicken Xpress keeps a member of its operations team on-site for five days to ensure that everything keeps running smoothly.

If there are any teething problems, they help sort those out. And even after that, head office staff are always available to provide advice and support. The company doesn’t want franchisees to feel alone.

Franchisee investment

The total investment needed to open a Chicken Xpress store of 80m2 is R970 000 to R1 075 000.

This includes a deposit of R75 000 to R85 000, unencumbered capital of R420 000, capital for initial stock of R40 000 and working capital of R85 000. A rental deposit is payable to a landlord.

Related: McDonald’s Lets You Peek Behind The Curtain

The monthly royalty fee is 5% of turnover and the monthly marketing fee is 1,5%. The recommended staff contingent is seven.

Franchise listing_Chicken Xpress

GG van Rooyen is the deputy editor for Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. Follow him on Twitter.

Franchise News

Be Your Neighbourhood’s Best Buddy

Ubuntu is a treasured part of South Africa’s heritage – but it could be better applied in parts of the country’s business sector, believes Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters.

Entrepreneur

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“Businesses operate most sustainably when they are entrenched in and care about the community that surrounds them,” he says.

“Ubuntu means we are people through our interactions with each other and I firmly believe that a people-centred approach like that should be a strong thread in sound business development.”

Embedding yourself in the community is also good for business – as long as you authentically and truly work at being your neighbourhood’s best buddy, he says.

“Be about helping people get on with life, about making their lives easier,” he advises. “We always encourage new franchisees to take a fresh look at the neighbourhood where they are setting up so that they can be active participants and not just providers or suppliers.”

Corporate social responsibility applies some of this thinking but, says Mukheibir, if it is a “parachute drop”, one-off activation in a community, this is far less convincing than sustained communication and cooperation.

Cash Converters places such emphasis on this that it is a major focus of the strategies implemented by the company’s Local Area Marketing Manager Juan Botha. This approach enables each franchise in the group to be in touch with its neighbourhood through social and other local media challenges, giving them added strengths locally while being supported by the advantages and professionalism of national and international 21st-century business systems.

“All franchises and chains are aware that branches represent the company on the ground,” says Mukheibir. “But Juan opened our eyes to the importance of being good neighbours and not just another store along the street.”

If you are a neighbour buddy by acting as a central, participating and unifying figure in the community, your neighbourhood will in turn work for you. You can build awareness by sponsoring local events such as food festivals, cycling races or trail runs, especially if you can offer part of your own site as a venue, for example.

Related: Cash Converters Franchise Listing

You will establish real, long-term partnerships, though, by working consistently with community gatekeepers, from schools and welfare groups to gyms and conservancies. Adopt a community project and encourage staff to give their time and effort and this will generate goodwill that will be reflected back at you.

Such activities are about a lot more than column inches in community media, says Mukheibir. Building good relationships with communities can enhance your brand’s reputation, he believes. But being your neighbourhood’s best buddy can also make an important contribution to social cohesion.

“Plenty of people hark back to the good old days of mom-and-pop stores when everybody in the neighbourhood looked out for each other,” he says. “It’s not just nostalgia to want to rebuild that in our society – it makes sense.

“We all need to contribute to the safety and stability of our neighbourhoods, whether we are individuals or businesses. The season of goodwill is fast approaching – why not see what difference your business can make in your neighbourhood by then?”

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Franchise News

Clean Out, Clean Up – And Win Big With Cash Converters!

Spring is on the way and Cash Converters is celebrating the season of renewal with a bigger than ever Spring Clean Sale – and this year it gives you two very different opportunities to cash in.

Entrepreneur

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From 24 August to 2 September, you can help Cash Converters spring clean all its stores nationally by snapping up discounted items across all their different product categories. Then in the second phase starting on 3 September, Cash Converters returns the favour by giving away R200 000 over 20 days! A total of 100 customers will win cash prizes in this Spring Clean Special Draw of R10 000 per day from 6 to 25 September. To enter, all you need to do is sell Cash Converters an unwanted item that you have decided to spring clean.

Sorting through your cupboards for items that are in good condition but rarely used and that you are ready to sell could put you in line to be one of the lucky winners of a fistful of cash that will make your budget stretch further or give you a head start for early Christmas gift buys. If you have not yet managed to act on this year’s resolution to declutter your space, here is an excellent incentive to make good on that goal.

Many of us have items crowding our homes that turned out to be bad buys, were unwanted presents or are outdated for our needs. Trading in these items can help you trade up to something that suits you better – as well as giving you the chance to be one of the lucky cash winners!

Get ready to cash in on:

  • Spare phones, computers or cameras
  • Unused power tools or exercise equipment
  • Unwanted jewellery and watches
  • Unnecessary kitchen appliances and electronic goods
  • Surplus gifts or inherited items

“Essentially, we are paying you to spring clean!” says Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters. “Even if you are not fortunate enough to be one of our daily cash-prize winners, you will be cashing in on items you do not need. That is a welcome boost to anybody’s wallet with petrol prices and the VAT increase still eating away at our income.”

Apart from all the excitement around the opportunity to win big, the outcome is win-win for everybody, says Mukheibir. Whatever you choose to trade in for cash in hand could well become the treasure that somebody else has been looking for. He believes the Spring Clean process also has an important message for South Africans.

“We are specifically running this promotion during Heritage Month because it helps enable a key change in mind-set that we need to entrench if we are to live sustainably on our beautiful planet,” he says.

“It has been estimated that the City of Johannesburg’s landfills will be full in just six years’ time, for instance. But enabling items you do not need to have a second, useful life, or astutely buying quality second-hand items you do need, is taking action on the reuse, recycle, repurpose message of our times. That makes you one of the savvy consumers who are doing what they can to save our planet for future generations.”

Related: Cash Converters Franchise Listing

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Franchise News

5 Ways To Teach An Old Business New Tricks

Cash Converters took a hard look at their product offering and realised that dealing in second-hand jewellery should become a major part of their product offering given the fact that the vintage trend really took root in the SA market.

Entrepreneur

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Do you have hidden gems concealed in your longstanding product offerings? Taking a new perspective on buying and selling patterns established over nearly quarter of a century at Cash Converters Southern Africa made CEO Richard Mukheibir realise a business lesson he needed to put into practice – and one he felt worth sharing with any other SA businesses looking for a wakeup call that can help them grow in today’s slow economy.

Reinventing your brand to keep it fresh and successful means everything from refreshing your logo to sharpening your strategic vision, he believes. That led him to relook the company’s product offerings and spot the gap where they could supply better.

“Dealing in second-hand jewellery has always been a side-line for us, another minor part of the product mix we offer,” he says. “But as the vintage trend took root in South Africa, we realised that instead of just ticking over and maybe not even earning its floor space, this could potentially be a good earner for us.”

In just six months, the 13 pilot stores have already significantly outstripped their annual target and other franchisees in the group are clamouring to join the initiative.

Mukheibir has broken the experience down into five key learnings:

1. Extend the brand

The typical Cash Converters customer tends to be about 40 years old and male. But improving the jewellery offering, the company realised, could attract more female customers. It chose to start by focusing the extended product range on fashionable silver items to cater for women in their 20s. 

Related: Cash Converters Franchise Listing

2. Establish a support team

Mukheibir did not hesitate to bring in expertise in this area, recruiting Scott Townsley to project manage the initiative. This enabled the company to leverage Townsley’s 21 years of experience in the jewellery industry with the likes of American Swiss and Arthur Kaplan. One of Townsley’s first moves was to establish alliances with jewellery workshops to machine polish second-hand jewellery and give the customer the reassurance of a third-party valuation certificate that can also be used for insurance purposes.

3. Price smart

Pricing reselling of second-hand jewellery at about half of retail prices for new products created bargains at the company’s jewellery counters. This made them all the more tempting to customers already attracted by their sparkling, nearly-new state and vastly improved display.

4. Display, display, display

Jewellery was previously mixed into the company’s display of other small, high-value items. Townsley pulled it out of there into a standalone display and devised a common merchandising formula, including layout and props such as charcoal-coloured display fabric to show off the jewellery to its best.

5. Success breeds success

“Jewellery is a luxury item, part of a consumer’s discretionary spend after the basics of food and clothing,” Townsley says. This means that sales staff need some creative flair as well as understanding the advantages of merchandising together a chain and bracelet that are part of a set. Staff also need to have the personality to interact positively with customers, as well as having confidence instilled in them thanks to being well briefed and trained to deal with questions during the selling process. Product-knowledge training introduced includes understanding hallmarks, basic familiarity with semi-precious stones and understanding the most popular types of purchases, from trending silver pieces to solitaire engagement rings.

Related: How Cash Converters Grew Through Franchising

The outcome of this initiative has been a win-win, says Mukheibir – enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff and a jump in the company’s jewellery business, with the new-look displays being rolled out as quickly as possible across the group.

“The initiative only needs minor realignments on the shop floor and implementation can be slotted into the company’s workflow without major disruption,” he says. “This brand extension required minimal investment for useful rewards. It shows how it pays businesses to re-examine opportunities that could be sitting under their noses.”

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