Snack in the Box Franchisee Case Study Feed

Last updated: 07-December-2021

Father and son run multi-van Snack in the Box business -


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Franchisee: Andrew and Alan Sharpe
Location: Ayrshire and South Glasgow
When established: 2016
Franchise: Snack in the Box

What made you first look at SITB and choose their Franchise?
I had looked at several businesses and franchises. SITB met all of the criteria that I set myself.

I was impressed with my initial contact and that has continued through acquisition and operation

What were your key personal objectives when buying the franchise?
My 4 incentives were:

  • I wanted a business that I could operate without staff
  • That utilised market leading products and equipment
  • Was a ready-made business providing income from day 1
  • Flexibility in working hours

Tell us what the circumstances were for your reasons to expand?
The main, if not only, reason that we looked at expansion and taking on another area was that Alan, my son, had been working part time with me.

We had discussed the possibility of him working fulltime but we would have needed to expand our business through new sites, however, when the opportunity to purchase our neighbouring area presented itself that enabled him to join full time.

What now are your mid-term and long-term goals for the business?
Short and mid-term is to consolidate both areas and ensure that we are both gaining experience of maintaining equipment and delivering the best customer service possible.

Long term we would like to grow our customer base and perhaps employ someone on a part time basis who would also be able to cover holidays etc.

What is it like now being in partnership with a family member?
I have been fortunate to work with family members for most of my career, and have worked with my father, brother, wife and stepmother and now my son!

In my experience, it only works if you have a strong personal relationship and can communicate well with each other.

What are the challenges to running a ‘multi-van’ operation?
I had in the past operated multi van distribution and sales businesses, so have been able to draw on that experience.

We are currently running both areas as separate operations, so there are no different challenges to running a single vehicle but there are some advantages. For example, last week a customer phoned Alan to say machine was not accepting any money and he was quite a distance away but I was close, so I was able to attend and rectify issue.

 


Honesty is the Best Policy for Snack-in-the-Box Franchisees -


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With an 'honesty' box there is no personal contact with a vendor at the time of purchase, nor is there a mechanical vending process in place. Customers are relied upon to leave the correct change in return for the tempting snacks on offer.

Snack-in-the-Box Sales Director, Sean Cleveland, explains:

“Many people ask me whether customers really do put the money in the box. They seem genuinely surprised that an honesty system works in this day and age. But it is important for them to understand that, in building a business that has been successful for the best part of two decades, we introduced a number of systems and controls that reduce theft (or shrinkage, as we call it) from our franchisees.”

“Most customers are decent, and they are honest enough to leave the exact amount in a fair exchange for the snacks they take away. In reality, newsagents and food retailers suffer far greater losses from shrinkage than our franchisees, and we even have a number of ex-newsagents and shop owners within our network who can testify to that!”

“We also have franchisees that are well into their fourth term; people that have been successfully trading for more than 12 years, who are able to testify our Vending Box model works”

Snack-in-the-box franchisees deliver boxes packed full of popular snacks to small to medium sized businesses of less than 20 employees. They return a week later with a freshly packed box and take away that week's cash takings. There are no contracts or cost to the work-place – the staff simply pay for the snacks they eat !

Sean Cleveland goes on to explain:

“This is a very simple cash business that relies on trust. The businesses we deliver to love our service because we keep their employees on site, and they prefer that than seeing their employees wander off for mid-morning and afternoon snacks. Those same employees love our service because we make it convenient for them to buy the best chocolate, confectionary and crisps. And because they love the service we provide, they want it to work. In the smaller work place if someone abuses the system generally everyone knows who it is. So the collective honesty of the group often prevails. They tend to govern any 'would be' light fingered abusers as the rest of the staff don’t want to lose the service. In the smaller work place it really works. Put simply, we are vending from a self-service Box.”

Professional canvassers from Snack-in-the-Box help franchisees source their initial customer base. But it is the rapport that is then built up between those franchisees and their customers that ensures each site remains profitable.

Norfolk Franchisee, Sean Taylor (who has over 200 Vending Box Customers), explains:

“I love meeting my customers, spending time chatting with them and knowing they appreciate seeing me every week. They know that this is my business, and that if they were stealing from my boxes they would be taking money from me, not from some huge corporation. That's the honesty box policy, and it works. And let's face it, Mars wouldn't put their name to something that doesn't work either!”

Every year, Snack-in-the-Box donates a significant sum to help the NSPCC, Cancer Research and other charitable organisations – this contribution is highlighted on the ‘box’ itself. Franchisees acknowledge that, altruism aside, this also serves as a control to keep customer's morals in check.
A total of over 8,000 business benefit from our vending box service each week !


Interview with Steve Barnish, Parts Manager for Snack in the Box -


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Steve has been part of the Uvenco/Snack in the Box team for over 10 years now in a variety of roles, focusing on the machinery and the technical side of the business. His main role within Snack in the Box is to provide the network with parts and technical support in a variety of ways, achieved with his team of field engineers and the support of the franchise managers.

How often do vending machines breakdown?

Machine break downs are something that all franchisees will encounter through their time servicing vending equipment. Like all electrical items and appliances with moving parts malfunctions can occur at any point for a variety of reasons. The common question is ‘how often will my machines break down?’ but this is almost impossible to answer. There are ways in which we can advise franchisee’s to minimise the risk of break downs, and provide as much support as possible to minimise the impact of breakdowns. Franchisee’s may have the odd breakdown or minor issue to resolve through the course of the week, or not have an issue for a few weeks but then suddenly have 3 issues all at once. Either way SITB will be on hand to assist in resolving these issues.

Who is initially responsible for fixing the vending machines?

The first person to attend site once a breakdown is reported is the franchisee as they are the ones in the area, and visit the machines on a frequent basis. We hope that the franchisee will be able to do most fixes quickly and with ease in this initial visit.

Who is responsible for moving machines?

We don’t restrict where franchisees locate their equipment, in fact we encourage them to look for opportunities to develop their business and optimise sales. Often the quickest way to act on these opportunities is utilising machinery within their area which they deem to be under performing, uplifting from site A and deliver to site B. Again we are on hand to offer guidance, advice and physical support via the engineering team whenever required.

What support regarding ‘fixes’ does your engineering department offer?

The engineering team offers a range of support to the entire franchise network. We have technical phone support, providing diagnosis and guidance to fix faults when the franchisee is on site and attending a machine. We have field engineers who are available to attend sites where requested and can carry out whatever work that specific franchisee wishes, from fault fixing, to relocations or even machine servicing/refilling. The technical department also seeks to provide parts at the best possible value to the franchise network and in the majority of cases offering next day delivery when parts are ordered.

What training is given to new franchisees?

All franchisees entering the business are given an ‘in house’ training day at one of our regional offices, when a range of machines are stripped down and rebuilt providing a hands on technical experience. These foundations should give confidence and illustration that even the less technically minded can carry out the required routine servicing and first time fixes they are likely to encounter. We are also able to provide refresher training either out in the field or again at one of our offices to build on the knowledge already gained or to address specific requirements. Our engineers when carrying out repairs in a given area can always be joined by the local franchisee to gain more experience, and initially when handing the business over a SITB representative will be present to offer additional support and training on each of the machines visited.

Are franchisees given any machine parts and tools as part of their start up package?

Incoming franchisees are provided with a parts pack tailored to the package they are buying. This will include motors, panels, and machine components, as well as a tool kit, product decals and labels to enable the franchisee to start off on a steady footing.

Are machines covered by a warranty?

In the first year of business all franchisee’s vending machine parts are covered by a 12 month warranty. This ensures during this period the franchisee is able to focus on the servicing of equipment, settle into a stable routine and learn the industry without the concern of parts ordering an maintenance issues. By the end of year one the aim is to have a stable business with fully functioning machinery ready for the business to grow in the coming years.

What happens if a machine can’t be fixed by SITB or the Franchisee ?

With the training and support offered by SITB we are confident that on the whole there is no fault we cannot rectify on site, either by the franchisee or engineering team. In the rare instance where we deem it best to remove a machine from site in order to carry out repairs, working with the franchisee we offer a range of options to minimise the impact on the specific site and the franchisee. This could be in the provision of a temporary replacement or a more permanent machine replacement.


Interview with Lisa Robinson, Franchisee in Gloucestershire -


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Lisa and James joined Snack in the Box in July 2016 and now service the Gloucestershire area. They have a number of Vending Boxes and Vending Machine sited in customers.

Lisa was working for an existing SITB Franchisee, who was selling his business in order to join our Management Team. After a few weeks Lisa and James realised how much they were enjoying Snack in the Box and they bought the business and the rest is history!

What made you first look at SITB?

“James and I started looking for a business opportunity and when a venture in Spain fell through we began looking closer to home and at franchises.
When a friend asked me to help with his Snack in the Box franchise I jumped at the chance. I had been working in hospitality for 20 years and wanted my evenings and weekends back.
I knew my friend wanted to sell his franchise so we looked into buying it. We expressed our interest to the company and within a week or two, after exciting conversations, set up a meeting in London.”

Prior to purchasing the Franchise, how detailed was the SITB ‘sales/selection’ process?

“James and I met the management team and discussed the business in detail. As I had been working for my friend for 3 months I had a good idea of the logistics and business levels but it was still a very important meeting as it answered most of our questions. The management team had a lot of questions for us too. They wanted to get to know us and our background and if we would be suitable to wear the Snack in the Box logo!”

What were your 3 key personal objectives when buying the franchise?

1) We wanted the flexibility to grow our customer base and a franchise that would allow us to do that.
2) We wanted a branded franchise, one that people recognised and with Snack in the Box, you get that. Everyone knows Mars so selling Boxes and machines is not that difficult.
3) We wanted a franchise that was big enough to cope with growth but small enough to care about their franchisees. Again you get that with Snack in the box as we know that they are there if we need them but not constantly on the telephone.

How did you find the initial training – did it help you in your early days as a franchisee?

After we bought the franchise we arranged a couple of days up at HQ in Blackburn where we met some of the other franchisees, the engineers and more of the management team. James and I learnt more about the machines, how the parts are fitted and most importantly how to repair them if they go wrong.
As I had been working with the company for a while, I already had a good understanding about the machines, however if I was new to it, the training would have been more complex and detailed. I also went out with a franchisee in the local area to see how he did things. It’s good to pick up ideas, hints and tips from an experienced existing Franchisee.

What have the support levels for us been like?

The support since buying the business has been very good. The engineer is always on hand to answer questions if I’m stuck. He always tries to help and what he doesn’t know about a vending machine isn’t worth knowing. SITB always gets new parts to me within a couple of days so that the machine in question isn’t out of action for long.
I have not needed much support, however I know that if I did, the support is there. The Franchisee Manager is very approachable and will always return my call and help if he can.

What are the best things about running the business?

The best things about running this business are that it gives me the freedom to take care of my children whilst working hard for myself. I am out on the road all day, but can still see my family in the evenings and at weekends. Also because the brand is an easy one to sell and customers are always happy to see ‘the chocolate lady’!

What are your future goals for the business?

Our future goal is to grow our areas as much as possible.

Our aim is to get another van on the road within the next two years and if we continue to hit our targets then this is achievable. James and I both know that this can only be done by putting in a lot of hard work and is not guaranteed but we have the drive to be able to do it.


"I aim for steady growth in customer numbers - there are so many potential customers out there." -


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Sean joined Snack in the Box in July 2016 and now services the East Anglia area. He has a large customer base of Vending Boxes and a few Vending Machines.

What made you first look at SITB and choose their Franchise?

I Had gone as far as I could in previous employment and was comfortable but effectively in a 'dead mans shoes' position. In addition, the Head Office team had changed and I was uneasy at their strategy, so I started casually looking for self-employment opportunities.
I came across SITB and agreed to meet with them. I loved the simplicity of the concept, but still had a lot of doubts and questions. SITB Head Office became increasingly involved and I realised I warmed to the idea, due to the honesty of those I spoke to - Straight answers, good and bad.

What were your 3 key personal objectives when buying the franchise?

My 3 incentives were:
• A steady income stream that would reward me better than previous employment
• Costs of the business to be paid off within 2 ½ years
• More control over my own time and future

In terms of the Launch Programme, did SITB deliver what was promised?

The Launch programme was comprehensive. My initial thoughts were ''do I really need that much time and support for such a long period?''. The answer was that the time flew by, and the advice and support given assisted me to getting to the 'happy place' I am now.

Happy to say that after two months of ''getting to know my round' and having long days (which I had anticipated and had been warned about), I'm now on target to achieve all of my initial goals.

 What have the support levels for us been like?

The support teams are excellent, and that 'honest' factor I came across during the initial contact period continues. There is no 'blame culture' like in many businesses… Just support - Very refreshing.

What are the best things about running the business?

As someone who has a predominantly box orientated round, I see more customers than someone with a majority of machines. This brings two distinct advantages.
Firstly EVERYONE seems delighted to see you. The Red Vending Box makes you an instant ‘knight in shining armour’ in numerous workplaces.

Secondly, I see a huge variation of businesses - anything from telesales offices to car mechanics, miniature golf course designers to power stations, hairdressers to bus companies, bird of prey centres to supercar garages, and many more. The variety of customer is incredible, but then- practically everyone loves chocolate.

Are you hitting your sales targets and what are your plans for the business now?

My sales targets are being hit, in fact, I budgeted a bit on the pessimistic side

I now plan a 10% growth in customer numbers by Christmas which should help me achieve my business pay off plans 6-12 months earlier than I'd forecast only 3 months ago.

In addition I've invested in additional machines for customers I felt would benefit from them, and in addition this will assist me on fuel economies and time.

Despite my plans for growth, I will be earning more this year for doing fewer hours- that is free time I look forward to using.

More longer term, I aim for steady growth in customer numbers- there are so many potential customers out there it's frightening, but in a good way.


Interview: "SITB are a tried and tested franchise who are members of the BFA." -


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Ross and Kay joined Snack in the Box in July 2016 and now service the Worcestershire area. They have a number of Vending Boxes, Slimline Machines and Large Combination machines now sited in customer premises.

What made you first look at SITB?

“We were looking for a business venture that we could build and run for the next decade, it was important that whatever we chose to do generated an income early in its development. While happy to take responsibility for running our own business we were looking for franchise which would give us the support we felt we needed particularly during the critical launch phase”

Why did you ultimately choose a SITB Franchise?

“SITB are a tried and tested franchise who are members of the British Franchise Association. The business model is a straight forward one which has been replicated successfully on many occasions. They presented us with a clear launch plan which gave us confidence that we would be generating an income in first few months of trading.”

Prior to purchasing the Franchise, how detailed was the SITB ‘sales/selection’ process?

“The process was comprehensive and at no point did we feel that we were being pushed into buying the franchise. In point of fact SITB went out of their way to stress that the franchise isn't for everyone. Equally SITB were keen that we spent time with existing franchisees so we had clear picture of what being a franchisee was like on a day to day basis. Every claim that the company has made during the process has been verified by our experience.”

What were your 3 key personal objectives when buying the franchise?

1). A steady income
2). A decent work/life balance
3). To grow a business which we could sell in the long term.

How did you find the initial training – did it help you in your early days as a franchisee?

“The training was comprehensive and prepared us as well for running the franchise. It is testament to the training that at no point have we felt we were out of our depth. However no training can cover every eventuality so as we continue to learn as the business develops.”

In terms of the Launch Programme, did SITB deliver what was promised?

“Absolutely, everything was delivered not only to the letter of the agreement but in the spirit of it. On occasions where we needed some additional help it was offered without being prompted.”

What have the support levels for us been like?

“Franchise Manager Support - First rate, having a dedicated manager who has actually run a franchise to guide you through some of the pitfalls of running the business is invaluable.

Engineering Support - We have lent heavily on the engineering support team and they have always been helpful and above all patient as we have come to terms with the new set of skills required to manage our vending machines.”

What are the 3 best things about running the business?

1. Providing a service that is genuinely appreciated by our customers
2. Having the flexibility to set our own routine
3. Being able to work together

Are you hitting your sales targets?

“Broadly we have hit the targets we have set, although as with any business there is variance, we have had set backs and unexpected opportunities but critically we have never felt that the targets we have were unattainable.”

What are your mid-term and long-term goals for the business?

“Our initial objective of establishing the business has largely been achieved. We now want to grow the business and make it more profitable. There is plenty of scope within our franchise area to get more customers and we are constantly refining what we do by learning what our customers want and being a little bit smarter at delivering it.

Ultimately we want to sell the business but that is way off in the future for now we are happy growing the business and delivering a service to our customers.”

 


Interview with Sean Cleveland, Snack in the Box – Franchisee Selection - 24-November-2017


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Sean joined Snack in the Box, as a Franchise Field Manager, back in 2002. His role for the last 7 years within the business is Sales Director and he is responsible for the recruitment and selection of new SITB Franchisees. We asked Sean how he works with individuals looking at purchasing a SITB Franchise, so as to ensure both parties are confident they have made the right ‘long term’ decision when a Franchise is awarded by SITB.

What qualities are you looking for in a prospective Franchisee?

Ideally, someone who wants to run the business in a ‘hands-on’ capacity, our franchise model does not really lend its self to running the business as Management Franchise.

Individuals need to be self-motivated, have a ‘cheerful’ personality, realistic expectations around the earnings that a SITB Franchise will generate and most importantly be able to work to a system - our experience tells us that our most successful Franchisees all follow the SITB system and model.

Takes us through the ‘steps’ during the selection process?

From the initial enquiry, we will advise if there is availability in the area where the candidate lives, if this is the case we will:

1) Franchise Prospectus

Email and/or post out our Prospectus to the candidate, which provides a wealth of information about SITB and our Franchise Model

2) Initial Communication

Have an initial telephone conversation with the candidate, to ascertain their individual needs regarding running the business and earnings expectations#

3) 1st Appointment

Meet with the candidate, in their local area, in order to properly present, our Franchise face-to-face. This meeting typically last 90 minutes and is in the form of a presentation, provide further detail and should answer most of the questions from the candidate. This is an important meeting, as we will also ensure the criteria of our Franchise Model fits with the candidate’s needs.

4) Day with a SITB Franchisee

The candidate spends an entire day with an existing Franchisee – which will involve servicing their existing customer base, in a real hands-on capacity. This gives the candidate an ideal opportunity to see how the business works and ask questions, from someone who is actually running a SITB Franchise

5) Formal 2nd Appointment

With SITB at our HQ. This involves meeting the rest of SITB Team, reviewing the business and Financials, reviewing our Franchise Agreement and providing the candidate with access to other SITB Franchisees

6) Due Diligence

Using all of the information provided by SITB, the candidate must now carry their own Due Diligence on SITB and our Franchise Model. This would involve, reading the Franchise Agreement and taking their own professional advice, review the financials and again taking professional advice, driving the territory, ascertaining how much competition is in the area and speaking with our existing Franchisees

7) Sign Up

SITB will meet with the candidate in their local area in order to sign the Franchise Agreement and review what is required from the candidate prior to the Training Date (i.e. registering for VAT, obtaining a business bank account, set up accounts with suppliers etc….)

The time frame from sign up to the training date is typically 2 to 3 weeks

How important is it for prospective Franchisees to talk and meet with existing SITB Franchisees?

Absolutely essential! These are the individual/couples that are running the business on a day-to-day basis and will have a wealth of knowledge about the business – including what works well for them and more importantly, what are the challenges of the business.
SITB will try to advise of Franchisees to contact, where their individual circumstances and businesses match that of the candidate (i.e. operating the business in a rural area, running the business as a ‘sole trader’ etc.)

Would you ever ‘turn down’ someone who wants to join SITBs Franchise Network?

Definitely, there is no point bringing someone into business where we know they would struggle or not achieve their business ambitions – A good example being if we are contacted by a candidate who is looking for a ‘multi-van’ operation, our Franchise simply is not geared up for this type of business model.

What Due Diligence should be carried out by Prospective Franchisees when making a final decision about joining SITB?

As much as possible, I have already discussed the importance of contacting our Franchisees. However a candidate should ensure they are happy with the terms of the Franchise Agreement – our Agreement is for a 5-Year Term (renewable thereafter) and this is a long-term commitment for both SITB and the candidate. They should also ensure they fully understand the financial projections and more importantly, what is required from them to ensure these projections are met, most projections provided by Franchisors require an amount of business development and marketing, to ensure the sales revenues and profits provided.

How does someone contact SITB, who is interesting in finding more about the Franchise?

Simply email or call, we will then advise if we have availability in the area where the candidate lives and if so start our selection process by providing our Franchise Prospectus


Exclusive Interview: "Snack in the Box ticks all the boxes" - 28-November-2016


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Background

Ross and Kay joined Snack in the Box in July 2016 and now service the Worcestershire area. They have a number of Vending Boxes, Slimline Machines and Large Combination machines now sited in customer premises.

Snack in the Box (SITB) asked them why they looked at us in the first place, what were their personal objectives, what it was like running the business in the ‘early days’, what are their future plans and most importantly – is they hitting the Sales Targets provided by Snack in the Box…….

SITB – “What made you first look at SITB?”

“We were looking for a business venture that we could build and run for the next decade, it was important that whatever we chose to do generated an income early in its development.

While happy to take responsibility for running our own business we were looking for franchise which would give us the support we felt we needed particularly during the critical launch phase”

SITB – “Why did you ultimately choose a SITB Franchise?”

“SITB are a tried and tested franchise who are members of the British Franchise Association. The business model is a straight forward one which has been replicated successfully on many occasions. They presented us with a clear launch plan which gave us confidence that we would be generating an income in first few months of trading.”

SITB – “Prior to purchasing the Franchise, how detailed was the SITB ‘sales/selection’ process?”

“The process was comprehensive and at no point did we feel that we were being pushed into buying the franchise. In point of fact SITB went out of their way to stress that the franchise isn't for everyone.

Equally SITB were keen that we spent time with existing franchisees so we had clear picture of what being a franchisee was like on a day to day basis. Every claim that the company has made during the process has been verified by our experience.”

SITB – “What were your 3 key personal objectives when buying the franchise?”

“1). A steady income
2). A decent work/life balance
3). To grow a business which we could sell in the long term.”

SITB – “How did you find the initial training – did it help you in your early days as a franchisee?”

“The training was comprehensive and prepared us as well for running the franchise. It is testament to the training that at no point have we felt we were out of our depth. However no training can cover every eventuality so as we continue to learn as the business develops.”

SITB – “In terms of the Launch Programme, did SITB deliver what was promised?”

“Absolutely, everything was delivered not only to the letter of the agreement but in the spirit of it. On occasions where we needed some additional help it was offered without being prompted.”

SITB - “What have the support levels for us been like?”

“Franchise Manager Support - First rate, having a dedicated manager who has actually run a franchise to guide you through some of the pitfalls of running the business is invaluable.

Engineering Support - We have lent heavily on the engineering support team and they have always been helpful and above all patient as we have come to terms with the new set of skills required to manage our vending machines.”

SITB - “What are the 3 best things about running the business?”

“1. Providing a service that is genuinely appreciated by our customers
2. Having the flexibility to set our own routine
3. Being able to work together”

SITB – “Are you hitting your sales targets?”

“Broadly we have hit the targets we have set, although as with any business there is variance, we have had set backs and unexpected opportunities but critically we have never felt that the targets we have were unattainable.”

SITB – “What are your mid-term and long-term goals for the business?”

“Our initial objective of establishing the business has largely been achieved. We now want to grow the business and make it more profitable. There is plenty of scope within our franchise area to get more customers and we are constantly refining what we do by learning what our customers want and being a little bit smarter at delivering it.

Ultimately we want to sell the business but that is way off in the future for now we are happy growing the business and delivering a service to our customers.”

To request our FREE and non-obligatory franchise prospectus, please click here.


Exclusive Interview: "The SITB brand allows me to sell my products with confidence" -


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Franchisee: David Myhill
Territory: Reading
Franchise: Snack in the Box (SITB)

Background

David joined Snack in the Box in April 2016 and now services the Reading area. He has a number of Vending Boxes, Slimline Machines and Large Combination machines now sited in customer premises.

Snack in the Box asked David why he looked at us in the first place, what were his personal objectives, what it was like running the business in the ‘early days’, what are his future plans and most importantly – is he hitting the Sales Targets provided by Snack in the Box…….

SITB – “What made you first look at SITB?”

“Snack in the box was a business that I looked at along with some other franchises, it was quickly obvious that the snack route was something that seemed easy to start, was a brand that was very recognised and allowed me to sell in a product with confidence with no preparation as such involved, .i.e kitchen/cooking/etc....”

SITB – “Why did you ultimately choose a SITB Franchise?”

“Ultimately choosing snack in the box came down to the package that was on offer, along with the territory which was local, yet large enough to grow into should I wish, also a telling factor was the service provided by the SITB Sales Director, Sean Cleveland, in terms of the relaxed approach which didn’t put me under any pressure but allowed me to decide for myself. Obviously the business plan and projections were important and the field day with a franchisee and the transparency of information was a big telling factor”

SITB – “Prior to purchasing the Franchise, how detailed was the SITB ‘sales/selection’ process?”

“The sales projections were shown in simple terms with a realistic net profit being shown, the whole business was not oversold, but was described as shown with very realistic looking growth figures”

SITB – “What were your 3 key personal objectives when buying the franchise?”

“My 3 objectives when buying this franchise were to gain a work life balance that I was in control of, a business that I could grow if I chose to and something that I could operate easily required no re-training”

SITB – “How did you find the initial training – did it help you in your early days as a franchisee?”

“The whole training package was very well planned, from head office machine training day one to meeting and servicing my accounts with the existing distributor, the whole handover process was relaxed yet concise, allowing me to meet and see the vital elements of the business I was about to take on”

SITB – “In terms of the Launch Programme, did SITB deliver what was promised?”

Yes, the launch programme was structured in such a way that it allowed me a very accurate overview and timeline of my business and the tools I would need to hit the ground running from day one going live.

SITB - “What have the support levels for us been like?”

“The support to date has been very good, the whole franchise manager gives me a sounding board and a first point of contact in the event of me having any issues, and there have been a few, none of which we haven’t managed to solve with minimal fuss, I think having a franchise manager who has hands on knowledge of running a franchise is the perfect dynamic to give me a quick and accurate resolution to any issues. Engineering support is also very good and again machine issues have generally been dealt with quickly. There are things that I think could help all franchisees and take some of the pressure off this department”

SITB - “What are the 3 best things about running the business?”

The 3 best things so far are not having to answer to anybody!, managing my own day/week and the total flexibility to run a business my way, albeit under the umbrella of a tried and tested business.

SITB – “Are you hitting your sales targets?”

So far the Sales based on my territory have in my mind been very consistent, it has taken some time to establish my week in terms of which accounts to visit and how often, initially I was trying to see everybody every week, this was not unrealistic but unnecessary as my thought process has evolved and as I have got to know my customers and gain their trust I now find it much easier to know my business. The short term plan now is to grow key areas within my territory as I have more time on my hands through working smarter not harder.

SITB – “What are your mid-term and long-term goals for the business?”

There are many options going forward, the easiest one is to utilise the sales expertise within the franchise to add accounts to my business, this will replace and refresh my customer base allowing some poorer performing accounts to be removed without effecting , hopefully benefiting the turnover.

There are other possibilities which I haven’t scratched the surface of as yet in terms of possibly expanding the area allowing perhaps somebody else to come on board perhaps self-employed? To operate a part of my area, but these are things that I’m unsure of logistically but will discuss going forward.

To request our FREE and non-obligatory franchise prospectus, please click here.

 


Leaving the military and looking to the future - 16-July-2013


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Kim and Stewart Bisley are based in Glasgow. Stewart is a Chief Petty Office in the Navy and is a submariner. He currently spends months away at a time, but has just under 2 years left in the Navy so the couple were keen to find a business that they could develop and work in together once he had left the Navy.

Kim has a sales background and has been busy developing the business, together with some additional help, whilst Stewart is away. They have a young daughter Maia and so are looking at a future which would enable them to maximise their family-time and support them financially whilst avoiding either Stewart or Kim having to work in an office or deal with long commutes. Kim also feels that her sales background and people skills will help them grow the business.

Why they chose Snack in the Box: ‘A Snack in the Box franchise is buying into an existing business model’

Kim said that they chose franchising as ‘buying a business felt safer with a franchise. You are buying into an existing business model’. She also added ‘I liked the idea of a head office cushion. We could run it ourselves but have the support and training of a bigger company’.

Kim and Stewart did a lot of background work before they decided upon Snack in the Box. They investigated different franchise companies by looking on the internet, visiting a couple of exhibitions and subscribing to the Franchise Magazine.

Ultimately, they chose Snack in the Box as they felt it was recession-proof. ‘We liked the idea of this business because although we are in a recession, everyone needs a little pick-me-up bar of chocolate or a feel-great treat’.

Kim also added, ‘We liked Snack in the Box from day one of our enquiry. We found them really helpful and I liked the products’.

A Typical Week in Running a Franchise with Snack in the Box

Kim and Stewart cover a large area and ‘no two weeks are the same’. They have a mixture of Slimline machines and a handful of Combination machines. Their customers include shopping centres, distribution centres, nurseries and care homes. While Stewart is still away, they have part time help servicing their customers. Their plan is that once Stewart leaves the Navy, they will be able to spend more time canvassing for new customers and really growing their territory. Kim meanwhile also deals with orders, reports, taking deliveries and any other customer issues and has also been busy putting in a tender to provide a vending service to a large local customer.

‘So far, so good!’

Kim admits she has found it a very exciting time. Although, she first found the thought of canvassing for new customers to grow their territory a little daunting but she went on a sales training day organised by Snack in the Box and found it ‘invaluable’. It also enabled her to meet other franchisees near her. ‘For me, the best part was going out myself and getting a machine sited with a new customer - it was a great boost for me!’


A week in the life of a Snack in the Box franchisee - 02-July-2013


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Why they chose Snack in the Box: ‘Repeat business each week’
Apart from wanting to be out and about and working for himself, Phil looked at a wide variety of franchise businesses. I chose Snack in the Box as he was able to be his own boss, and travel around rather than be office-based.

Ruth added that once Phil had chosen Snack in the Box, she was immediately convinced it was the right one for them. “After all”, said Ruth, “how hard can it be to sell a chocolate bar! Everyone loves chocolate!”

Ruth added that having repeat business each week from regular customers was also very important for them as it was regular income. She also felt that the association of Snack in the Box with the major confectionery brands meant that Snack in the Box must be a franchise company with a good reputation.

Their typical week - ‘Running our franchise works well for our Work/Family life balance’
Ruth and Phil have just under 150 customers. At each customer site, they put a new snack box to replace the used one, ensure that their customers are happy, collect the cash and move on to the next site. They service customers over 4 days and then use Friday to catch up, do paperwork, find more customers and take deliveries.

Phil explains that they were also able to work as a couple - they always knew they didn’t want to employ staff in any franchise they took on, so the Snack in the Box franchise suited them well.

Ruth and Phil don’t service their customers together as this leaves the other one free to catch up with other aspects of the business and look after their family. Phil explains that on Mondays he tends to get up early and service their customers who are furthest afield. “I get up early and beat the traffic. I know which of my customers are open early and I have tweaked my route to be able to service as many customers as possible in a day.”

Every evening, they count the day’s takings, log it for their customer records and pack boxes for the following day. This takes them about an hour and a half in total.

Ruth explained, “Our Snack in the Box business works well for us. We can run our franchise business as a couple and it works well with family life as we have 2 young boys. We are able to see a lot more of our family than if we were both working salaried jobs.”

Their customers
Phil and Ruth’s customers cover a wide variety of business types. This includes offices, workshops, nurseries and care homes. ‘When we want to build up our territory with some new customers, we now know what types of workplaces and what customer types will work for us and which won’t.

We also use the support from Snack in the Box, such as the sales training days, and we use the sales flyers produced by Snack in the Box which have worked really well and look professional.
 


Looking to franchising after redundancy - 02-July-2013


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‘This career change has been made possible by redundancy.’ Mark worked in the electricity industry for 26 years covering a wide range of positions. In his most recent role, he was travelling long distances and staying away regularly. He became weary of this so when the opportunity of redundancy came up, Mark decided to apply and saw it as the chance to change his work and ‘pursue something very different’. Marks runs his Snack in the Box franchise while his wife continues to work.

Why Snack in the Box? ‘A long-standing passion for running my own business but I recognised the need for professional guidance and support.’

Mark spent about 6 months investigating franchising via magazines and company websites and talked to a number of different franchise companies. He found Snack in the Box initially through the Franchise Magazine. Mark ‘wanted to buy into a proven business model which, by applying common sense, I knew would earn me a living.’

Mark adds, ‘Snack in the Box is a proven business model, is a long-standing business with a wealth of experience and support but the concept is simple which I felt would last even through the recession.’

A Typical Week: ‘A lot of planning, preparation and organisation is the key’

Mark describes his week as ‘very busy’ as his franchise territory is one of our larger ones. During the day, Mark spends his time servicing his existing customers (refilling their snack box or vending machine, then removing the cash) as well as canvassing for new business to develop and maximise his territory.

When he returns home, he prepares his van for the next day, packs new snack boxes to enable swift changeovers at customer sites the next day, arranges stock and carries out any administrative work. Administrative work includes updating his sales reports on a central database, banking cash and ordering any spare parts. He usually works about 8-9 hours a day. Mark also humorously adds that his 12yr old son is enjoying work experience and helping out at weekends!

Mark’s Customer Base

Mark covers a large franchise territory in the Midlands which is a mixture of snack boxes and vending machine customers. His customers are a wide range of business types including:

  • Retail Stores
  • Public Sector Sites
  • Local Businesses
  • Industrial Units & Factories

He has a total of 90 Snack Box customers, 60 Slimline vending machine customers and 2 larger Combination vending machine customers.

And the verdict? ‘You must be prepared to work that extra mile and offer great customer service’

Mark admits his first few weeks have been ‘very challenging’. He finds that making an effort with his customers is already paying dividends to develop long-standing relationships. ‘Whilst I’m new to the business, I already have some great customers who I serve weekly... I’m a friendly guy who enjoys meeting people so this side of the business is working great!’ Mark’s final tip is to remember that ‘my franchise is a business and I must always be striving for new and bigger spending customers’.