Appeal of the brand
“I’ve owned a fast food operation before, so Chicken Xpress immediately grabbed my attention. I love fast food restaurants, as there is great return on investment in food. However, I battle with the design of menus and pricing of items, so purchasing a franchise was appealing, since that would all be done for you. Moreover, I noticed that you didn’t need a massive space to open up a Chicken Xpress (80m2) and the franchise was affordable.”
The early days
“I was quite nervous during those first few months of operation. I wasn’t sure how people would react to a new fast food brand in town. Thankfully, people took to it very quickly. In fact, we managed to recover our investment within the first year. We also became the best-performing store in Africa in the first six months of operation, and were voted Store of the Year in 2015 by the franchisor.”
A typical day
“I have put managers in place, so I’m not needed in the store every second that it’s open, but I still go there every day to check stock levels and ensure that everything needed has been ordered. You don’t want to disappoint customers by not having items in stock that they want to order.”
Becoming a franchisee
“Buying a franchise is always a little bit stressful. You need to trust the franchisors. You pay a heap of money into their account, and then sit back and wait for them to show up and design a store for you. Chicken Xpress really impressed me. The training was very good and very professional. They really did assist with every aspect of setting up a store. I learnt a lot from them about running the operation.”
“I’ve been working in a store for most of my life. My mom took over a shop from her parents when I was 15 years old, and I immediately started working there. Once I finished school, I ran the business for a year. I was in London for four years, then came back to SA at the end of 2007. By February 2008, I was 23 years old and had the opportunity to buy a 24 hour supermarket. I’ve had that business for nine years and have also opened several others. All of this experience has helped in setting up Chicken Xpress Mafikeng.”
Upgrading the store
“I relocated the store in January 2016. We had simply become too busy for the original 80m2 space. We’re now in a 144m2 space, and things are going well. The franchisor helped to create a great new store. Some additions have been made to the menu in the time that I’ve been a franchisee, and head office always visits the store to provide training in the new items.”
The value of a brand
“The biggest regret I have is not opening up a franchise earlier, instead of running independent operations. The retail landscape in general has changed – people are increasingly attracted to brands, which has resulted in a lot of independent operations struggling. I would encourage anyone looking at a fast food operation to consider Chicken Xpress. It is affordable and the margins are very good. If you hire the right staff and keep a good handle on expenses, you can easily recover your investment within 18 months.”
The ideal franchisee
“I believe that anyone who is honest and hardworking will fit into the Chicken Xpress family. It is very important to remember that this is a brand and, as a franchisee, you need to embrace the systems that the franchisor has put in place. If you do what is required of you as a franchisee, you will be successful. The food is tasty and affordable, so you won’t find a shortage of customers.”
“You don’t necessarily need previous experience in fast food, but it helps. For instance, experience has taught me to rather buy too much stock than too little. Even if you’re certain that you’re in for a quiet week, a sudden rush can occur, and then you’re in trouble. That said, I honestly believe that anyone who is willing to work hard and follow the guidelines of the franchise will make a success of it.”
6 Questions Before You Discount
Try this checklist so that discounting doesn’t give you nightmares.
For some retailers, discounting is a way of life. Most, though, begrudge the thought of discounting – and I completely identify with that.
It was not until last year that we ran our first company-wide discounting, our “Spring Clean” campaign. It took Trevor Locker, our Chief Operating Officer, to convince me that there are times when discounting makes great business sense – just as there are times when it could spell business disaster.
Here is the checklist of questions which we hammered out as a guideline to successful discounting that will let you sleep peacefully at night:
1. Is this a stock clearance?
Some businesses stock ranges that have a very short shelf life, such as clothing that quickly goes out of fashion. If this is your market, you need to learn to accept that some of the goods you have bought in will be less appealing than others to your customers. The sooner you shift them out of the store through sale discounts, the sooner you can replace them with goods that repay you with a full profit.
2. Is this a cashflow crunch?
If you are reluctant about devising quick discounts on selected ranges to generate enough cash to pay the rent, you are right. This is a red flag that your business could be in trouble. Pay attention and spend time focusing on how you will recover once you are past this immediate crisis – otherwise you are in a downward spiral.
3. What are you celebrating?
Maybe you have a business or seasonal anniversary that you want to celebrate. Selected discounting in this situation can help you reward repeat customers and consolidate their loyalty as well as attracting new customers into your business.
4. Is your promotion a win-win?
Long-term repeat discount promotions can have a negative impact on even your most loyal customers. Effectively you are training them to wait for your discounts – unless you set up a win-win strategy such as partial discounting. A great example of how this can work is Steers’ Wacky Wednesday. Customers win when they come into the branches for a discounted hamburger. Steers wins because customers still pay the normal price for cool drinks, chips and so on, sales that the company probably would not otherwise make on a quiet midweek trading day.
5. Are you joining the herd?
Black Friday is a classic example of this. Some retailers have felt stampeded into offering discounts because they worry that everybody else is. The jury is still out on whether this new trading phenomenon increases sales overall or just moves them out of December and into November. To benefit most, you need to have stock that you want to clear or loss leaders that you have bought in at prices that do not cripple you financially.
6. Do you own your own sale?
Our company-wide “Spring Clean” concept sale was a great example of finding a reason to discount that worked for our branches, our customers and our brand and meant that our discount was not drowned out in the marketplace.
We encouraged customers to bring us unwanted goods from their homes and benefit from freeing up the cash value.
At the same time, we also attracted customers into the stores to pick up bargains from stock that we wanted to clear. Running this promotion at a time of year when many other retailers are quiet promotionally meant that we owned the spring-clean discount concept and it highlighted our brand across the market.
What To Know About Franchising Your Business
For many businesses, franchising is an excellent route to growth, opening up new opportunities and markets. Laurette Pienaar, National Franchise Manager at Nedbank, unpacks why it’s worth considering this route.
- Player: Laurette Pienaar
- Position: National Franchise Manager
- Company: Nedbank Limited
- Visit: nedbank.co.za
What type of business is ideally suited to the franchise model?
Franchising has been proven successful across all industries, including the automotive, food, entertainment and retail industries. However, several key qualities ultimately determine a concept’s ability to successfully become a franchise.
Firstly, the business model must be scalable and able to be repeated in several locations. Secondly, there must be demand for the products sold and, thirdly, the franchise model must be proven as profitable.
Why is franchising a good growth option?
Franchising is often used as a cost-effective growth strategy for businesses. A key benefit of this strategy is that no capital layout is required for a new franchised store as opposed to corporate-owned stores.
Franchised stores are also proven to be more successful than corporate-owned stores. This is mainly due to the fact that the franchise owners have a vested interest in the store, whereas corporate stores are supervised by a manager. Franchising is therefore also a great way to build your brand.
What should business owners focus on?
Franchisors should set up good infrastructure to support their franchisees, including good upfront and ongoing training to both the franchisees and their staff, the correct legal advice and assistance, and a strong operational team to assist franchisees daily.
Many successful franchisors provide support by expanding through vertical integration, which provides franchisees with logistics, supply chain security and product consistency.
Several franchisors advocate a structure with both franchisee and corporate-owned stores. This enables a franchisor to keep in touch with the daily challenges franchisees experience and new products and solutions can be tested at a corporate store before being rolled out to the franchise network.
How can franchising consultants assist business owners?
Franchise consultants provide daily operational support to franchisees. They are responsible for daily store visits to assist with quality checks, process flows, supplier relationships and, often, financial assessments. They are a helpful soundboard on any improvements to be made in the business model and can convey suggestions to the franchisor.
What challenges should business owners be aware of?
Businesses looking to franchise need to ensure that their business is teachable to others. Overcomplicated products and systems may deter franchisees from investing in your brand.
Franchisors have to do ongoing introspection regarding their company culture. For example, does the culture promote innovation and inspire franchisees and consumers, which ultimately is a culture worth investing in?
New franchisors’ selection criteria for franchisees are often not sufficiently thorough and comprehensive. For a new franchisor, it is important to choose good quality franchisees and to have strict selection criteria to ensure that your brand remains reputable and stable during fast-expanding cycles.
What lessons can be learnt from SA’s successful franchises?
Businesses looking to expand through franchising should consider setting up several corporate-owned stores first. This assures potential investors that your business is based on a proven model with a track record and supportive infrastructure.
There is not always a one-size-fits-all model. Many franchisors have created custom models to accommodate and adjust to the need of a specific property or consumer market. A great example of this would be the food industry where many franchisors offer shopping centre concepts, drive thrus and kiosk or express concepts. Consider this when developing your model.
Develop Digital Marketing Competency In 3 Simple Steps
Conquering the digital revolution needn’t be daunting. Polish up your tech skills and watch your digital marketing prowess increase throughout your franchise.
As a franchisor, digital marketing may be proving to be a challenge due to the unique structuring of the business.
“The very nature of franchises is ‘structured’, however, when it comes to marketing, that structure often lacks,” says Marcela De Vivo, Founder and CEO of Gryffin Media.
Franchisors and franchisees often struggle to reach common ground when looking to achieve different marketing goals. While the franchisor needs to control the brand in its entirety, the franchisee wants to market their business using particular strategies suited to their location.
Research has found that smartphones are the biggest influencers of 82% of users when they make their in-store purchase decisions while. It’s for this reason that the importance of digital marketing for franchises has increased.
Here’s how to harness its power of influence, amplify foot traffic and solidify brand loyalty:
1. Recruit digital natives and early adopters
As much as you’re the leader of your franchise network, there are franchisees in your chain you could learn from. The global increase in millennial franchise owners means it is highly likely that you’ll be able to identify early digital adopters within your franchise network.
“The best people to learn from are those who have been in your shoes before,” says Matt Forman of the Franchise Centre at Griffith University.
“Encourage and support their efforts and use them as case studies to demonstrate to the rest of your franchisees the value of digital marketing, and how to do it right.”
2. Invest in training your team
“Each digital competency level requires more education and resources in order to integrate digital marketing with your physical stores,” says Forman. For this reason, regularly investing in continuous training for your team so as to ensure they keep abreast of any new and emerging trends.
Proactivity and adapting to the constantly evolving digital landscape led KFC to open a LinkedIn account for its founder and mascot Colonel Sanders. KFC’s out of the box tactic is a fresh approach to what has long been considered a B2B platform, under-utilised as a B2C platform.
3. Apply custom targeting techniques
The discovery of new and small businesses is being fuelled by Google searches, social media and online reviews, making these platforms a goldmine of invaluable tools.
Leveraging certain custom targeting techniques like easily searchable keywords and exposure on other reputable and high-traffic websites, gives your franchise’s digital marketing efforts a boost. This results in an effective campaign, favourable reviews and meaningful and lasting interactions with consumers “whether it’s a reply to a Facebook comment or a retweet,” says Entrepreneur’s Emily Conklin.
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