Interview with Lisa Robinson, Franchisee in Gloucestershire
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.
Interested and want to know more about Snack in the Box ?
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