Securing a commercial lease — office, retail or industrial space — is a complicated process that requires much time and effort. As a business owner, there are several different types of property owners you may encounter in your initial search and even during your occupancy, ranging from small individual owners to multi-rand dollar real estate investment trusts.
Working efficiently with each kind of owner requires a basic understanding of their preferences and priorities.
Here are the few key characteristics of each group:
1Mom and Pops
Mom and pops are owners with smaller portfolios who obtained property as a primary investment. They are not as formal in business practices as other types of owners. Often personally vested in their space, they favour tenants who will treat their space well.
- Usually straightforward and easy to deal with
- Great for those who desire a close landlord/tenant relationship
- May be flexible on terms for the right tenant
- Best fit for smaller businesses with simple needs.
- Communicate with a personable and warm manner
- Highlight what makes you a good tenant
- Convey your willingness to take ownership of the space
- Share creative ideas on how your business can indirectly benefit them.
Unlike Mom and Pops, family investors are ‘real estate families’ who have amassed a sizable portfolio over tens or even hundreds of years. The tenant/owner relationship may not be as intimate but nonetheless, family owners are still materially involved in the leasing and management of their properties.
- Still operate with a personal touch and often handle leasing in-house
- Generally cash flow driven; prefer stable tenants over the highest possible rent
- Have intimate knowledge of every building in their portfolio
- Tend to have long-term tenants that they have accommodated over many lease periods
- Best fit for small to mid-size businesses who are looking for a landlord that is willing to build space and accommodate their short-term growth needs.
- Check out other buildings within their portfolio to get a better sense of what they have to offer
- Be warm and personable because it’s not only the bottom line that drives these owners
- Clearly communicate your needs and limitations; they will do the best they can to accommodate
- Be prepared to put down a significant security deposit if you don’t have strong financials.
Related: Location, Location, Location!
While technically not an owner, management companies act on behalf of the owners that hire them. For the purposes of leasing and day-to-day property management, they are the de facto owners. Management companies typically have access to a large portfolio of properties with a variety of options to fit any business needs.
- Very knowledgeable and can accommodate a wide range of needs
- Allocated budgets for building improvements and capex
- Offer standardised and less flexible lease terms, especially for smaller tenants
- Best fit for businesses that have established credit, as these owners often have specific requirements and operating rules.
- Expect to sign a five-year lease
- If you are a high profile tenant who’s well recognised or generating a lot of buzz, use this to your advantage, as these landlords like having notable tenants in their roster.
4Real estate developers
As the name suggests, real estate developers develop and acquire office, residential, hotel, retail and mixed-use properties. The properties they construct are typically Class A buildings designed by award winning architectural firms and feature some of the best amenities offered by any landlord.
- Extremely well maintained common areas and large lobbies with strong security
- Looking to capitalise on the quality of their buildings and generate the highest rents in order to maximise property value
- Often limited to major markets/cities
- Usually more than willing to build space for long-term tenants or provide a significant tenant improvement allowance
- Best fit for companies looking for premium space.
- Plan well in advance as deals can take a long time to close
- Ask for specific details and changes to the space that will help your business
- Use time as a negotiating factor; many new buildings need to secure tenants even before new buildings are completed.
Related: Choosing the Right Location
Institutional investors are money managers who invest in various asset classes, including commercial real estate. Of these investors, real estate investment trusts invest solely in real estate properties but most funds will also invest in properly as part of a diversified portfolio.
- Most assets are Class B+ to Class A buildings that generate strong cash flows for investors
- Driven by occupancy rates and margins, not personal preference.
You are unlikely to deal directly with these owners unless there’s a major dispute, you’re an anchor tenant and/or a large tenant improvement (TI) allowance is involved. If you do, make sure you sweat the details. These are not your typical landlords, so make sure all of the right paperwork and documentation is in order.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
How Your Fast Food Franchise Can Attract Quality-Conscious Consumers
In a world where customers are becoming increasingly picky about where they dine and what they pick from a menu, it can be challenging to meet demands.
“Major foodborne illness incidents and outbreaks seem to be increasing. Even innocent or careless mistakes can sicken guests and ruin a restaurant’s reputation,” says Francine Shaw, President of Food Safety Training Solutions Inc. “Foodborne illnesses are 100% preventable and could be avoided if food service organisations adopted a food safety culture.”
Following a listeriosis scare in South Africa early in 2018, consumers have become more conscious about the foods they eat. Today’s customer is more concerned about the cleanliness of the food they buy over its taste.
“How food is sourced, prepared and served is uppermost with many diners demanding transparency when it comes to where they spend their hard-earned money.” – Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA)
The addition of more nutritious choices to your menu may be attracting health-conscious consumers, but it’s the quality of the regular – and perhaps popular – menu items that may win over consumers concerned with quality and not just calorie content.
Here’s how you can ensure your customers are at ease with having their next meal at any of your franchises nationwide:
1. Ensure everyone knows why and how it’s done
Even with buy-in from the top-tier, your food safety efforts will be futile if not incorporated into every training touch point and may appear to be optional, when they should be a priority, says Chris Boyles, vice president for The Steritech Institute. When you have well-trained workers who understand the ‘why’ behind food-quality policies, momentum is built and a culture of food safety is created.
“Through encouraging genuine, comprehensive behavioural shifts, your franchise will protect the brand, safeguard employees and sustain a reduction in risk,” Boyles adds.
2. Build food-quality impetus across the network
As a company that serves food to the public you’re in a position of great responsibility. It’s important to pass this message down to your franchisees too. “Co-operation between the franchisee and their employees in this regard cannot be stressed enough,” says Marcel Strauss, Managing Executive of The Fish & Chip Co. – which was voted the top fish brand in 2012.
To get your franchisees on board with tightened food safety regulations, ensure they’re aware of the looming food-quality changes you’re planning on implementing and the ROI for your brand. This enables them to make budgetary allowance for certain credentials and technology you may require to meet certain standards of food safety.
3. Tell your customers every chance you get
Give consumers a glimpse into your production process by including your quality mission statement on customer-facing materials such as your website, social media pages, profiles on external review sites and menus. “Use stories, images and videos to show your practices in action,” Katy Jones, Chief Marketing Officer at FoodLogiQ explains. “Take customers behind the scenes into internal discussions. Practice is the way you demonstrate your commitment.”
To incorporate quality and safety messaging into customer relations, you need collaboration between your food safety managers and marketing managers.
The Future Of Franchising Looks Smaller (And Fancier)
Franchises are adding smaller locations and reduced menu options, as niche markets emerge, to attract the customer of the future.
As the owner of a thriving franchise, you’re well aware of the fact that fluctuations in the world economy has both negative and positive effects on business. When it comes to your successful franchise, tough times could mean adopting new trends or seizing gaps, potentially resulting in a new franchise concept you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
“The buzz word in global franchising is ‘flexibility and adaptability’,” according to the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA). “Whether a result of a need to inject some life into stagnant franchise brands or as a result of the new world order brought about by the recession, franchising is embracing alternative and options in a big way.”
You can do this by either devising innovative areas to franchise or allowing more flexible ways for franchisees to operate to help with their bottom line. FASA has earmarked these as some of the biggest franchising trends in 2018 and beyond:
Smaller, more cost-effective franchise models
When franchisees don’t have high franchise fees and start-up costs to worry about, they can focus more on what customers want, and deliver. The added benefit of smaller spaces include having fewer employees and reasonable rental.
Among the new frontiers in franchising are the food court losing its legacy as the preferred setting for food franchises, as service stations increase in popularity in the industry. A number of brands – like Steers, Debonairs and Mugg & Bean On-the-Go outlets – are co-locating with major fuel retailers to create fully-integrated accessible centres.
Niche markets are offering one-of-a-kind franchises
“The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new franchise trend is also on the rise,” notes FASA. This could be offering a unique gourmet food experience in your outlets or a ‘green’ space of energy saving technology in your operations.
“Consumers have gained control of what they want,” says Morné Cronjé, head of franchising at FNB Business. “It is no longer about what you have on the menu, but how your product or service can be tailor-made to what a customer really wants.”
Founded just five years ago (2013), RocoMamas boasts over 60 franchise outlets, clearly responding to the essence of this trend –allowing consumers to build their own burgers without having to pay for items they’d rather leave out.
Stay ahead of the game
For long-term success, franchisors who want to expand their business should start exploring beyond present circumstances and current predictions.
“2018 will no doubt bring its challenges, however for every challenge there is a window of opportunity to explore. We are advising franchisors to scrutinise these trends carefully, it can definitely give them a boost for 2018,” says Cronjé.
As Consumers’ Tastes Change Can Your Franchise Keep Up?
More of your customers are eating in, and if you’re not packaging, portioning and pricing your food accordingly, they’re heading to a retailer that does.
It’s generally believed that it’s cheaper to cook your own breakfast, lunch or supper than to go out and pay a much higher price for the same food in your fridge at home. But today’s consumer’s live fast-paced lifestyles – so food is becoming more about convenience.
31% of 6 022 middle-to-high income South African earners surveyed by BusinessTech, put eating out and entertainment at the top of their list of things they’re most willing to cut their spending on in 2018 to save money. Research by supermarket giant Pick n Pay correlates, reporting an increase in customers buying quality convenience food, not just to entertain at home, but for dining at home.
Consumers are empowered by variety
You’ve heard about the ‘fast casual generation’, aka Millennials? They are demanding healthy, affordable eating experiences. But do you know how this affects the future of the food industry, and your business in particular – because they’re not the only ones adapting their lifestyles.
An increasing number of food brands and chefs are compelled to create complete ranges of new, convenient meal options that are not only packaged, portioned and precooked attractively, but affordable too.
The fastest growing sector of retail foodservice for the past four years has been the convenience store sector. Non-traditional avenues of distribution are growing, gobbling market share while establishing new patterns of consumption, price points, and customer loyalty.
Shoppers are becoming value-focused
A savvy franchise would acknowledge that although pre-packaged and pre-cooked convenience food isn’t a new trend among consumers and supermarkets, it is gaining popularity. “Some of the most notable trends in 2017 were an increasing shift to convenience foods as customers looked for both value and convenience,” says Pick ‘n Pay’s Head of Marketing, John Bradshaw.
Value for money and healthier food choices will continue to be top of the convenience food list for consumer in 2018, as more shoppers cut down on luxuries.
“We’ve seen significant growth in the number of customers looking for an easy way to enjoy a good meal without the cost of eating out,” says Bradshaw.
But he cautions that South African shoppers have always been value-focused, and while the most significant shift Pick ‘n Pay has seen is how all its shoppers, no matter what their income levels, are watching their budgets.
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