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Master, Area Development & Multi-Unit Franchising success stories archive

Businessmen seeking growth opt for 9Round - 13-January-2020


A fitness session helped Shakeel Jivraj decide to invest in the 9Round Fitness Franchise Opportunity.

Shakeel, his father Shafiq and brother Zahed are experienced, successful franchisees, having grown their family-owned pizza delivery franchise to 23 outlets in 13 years. Shakeel says: "We wanted to diversify our family business into the fitness sector because we are passionate about it – Zahed is a qualified personal trainer and I like working out."

Figures from 2018 showed that the number of UK gyms was growing - and the trend is for smaller studios specialising in high intensity interval training (HIIT) and boxing-based fitness. Shakeel says: "As 9Round offers kick-box-based 30-minute full-body HIIT workouts, we considered it a good potential investment."

The family did a trial workout at a 9Round club before investing. "We were impressed by the on-site trainer and manager. Head office supplies new workout routines to trainers daily, so we could see the attraction for gym users," says Shakeel.

The family also liked the fact that it's possible to open three sites for the price of opening one traditional gym (around £250,000). Breakeven is typically within three to four months and you can see a full ROI within two years. Finding sites is easier because at 1,000 to 1,500 sq ft, 9Round gyms are smaller than traditional gyms. 9Round is part of a US-based gym group Lift Brands, which operates multiple gym brands over 2,000 sites worldwide.

"We also found the 9Round UK leadership team very knowledgeable about the fitness industry and keen to help us get started," Shakeel says.

The family have invested in three 9Round gyms in the London area. "The first opens in February 2020 and we are expecting a two-year payback on each site," says Shakeel.

"We already have the skills to run a multi-site operation, an established back office and managers with people skills who can move between brands if required."

Matt Fowler, from the 9Round UK master franchise team, says: "9Round offers premium franchise opportunities for those who are actively involved in business investments, or simply have big business ideas. With the right investment ideas, and the right team working with you, we will do everything possible to ensure success."

whichfranchise talks to multi-unit franchisee for Phenix Salon Suites - 06-January-2020


Franchisee name: David Huffman
Location: Multiple locations across Southern California
Franchise company: Phenix Salon Suites

Please tell us about your franchise(s):
Phenix Salons builds out and manages large commercial spaces at unbeatable prices for beauty, health and wellness professionals. Each carefully chosen retail or commercial Phenix location offers fully-equipped, individual salon suites of varying sizes, which are rented out on weekly agreements to industry professionals such as Hair Stylists, Nail Technicians, Aestheticians, Massage Therapists, and Doctors or Chiropractor.

David currently has 9 locations and is working on numbers 10 and 11 all over Southern California.

What is your business background?
I was born and raised in the construction industry and have been a general contractor since 1992. Phenix Salon Suites came along in 2011 and I have been building locations ever since.

Why did you choose Phenix Salon Suites franchise?
After building so many successful locations for other franchisees, myself and my business partner finally threw our hat in the ring and became franchisees ourselves. We had worked hand in hand with Phenix corporate and fell in love with what it was all about.

What are the benefits of being a multi-unit franchisee?
Freedom. In construction there is no residual income. We learned early that built well, maintaining a location would be pretty easy, it was managing a location that we needed to prepare for with our goal of 20-25 locations. Now we receive monthly checks from our locations and I see retirement in a few years.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
I’ve personally been to 7-8 trainings and still go again every opportunity I can. I always seem to hear something I didn’t “hear before” though I am sure it was covered. The corporate staff always welcome us to attend and have always been supportive and available when I have a question or need some assistance.

How would you describe your role as a multi-unit franchisee?  What is your management style/method?
I personally am responsible for the marketing and the tours and new enrolments at our locations. My business partner is in charge of all the operations of our stores. We just try and follow the recommended path that corporate has suggested through the trainings. Treat people the way you would want to be treated and follow Gina’s (the Founder) extreme passion for this industry.

What are some of the challenges you have faced being a multi-unit franchisee, and how did you overcome them?
At first it was pretty easy with 2-3 locations. But then we realized we would need a support staff to manage so many locations. So, we started early building what we knew we would need months/ years in advance.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a multi-unit franchisee?
If you lead with your heart, the money will follow! Yes, you do need to treat it like a business, but this is a bit different than most. I’ve heard some describe it as a real estate deal and I don’t totally agree. My family owns commercial and residential properties and here there is a bit more of a personal touch when you’re dealing with salon professionals. Again, coming from construction I had no clue about this industry and in fact I didn’t even know it existed. Everything I’ve learned I’ve learned from Gina and Jason Rivera with multiple phone calls to Jerry Griffith. We wouldn’t be where we are today without their vision and passion for this industry and their willingness to share it with others.

What are the company’s plans for developing the business and your own personal plans for your business?
We go to corporate events and get a glimpse of what’s coming soon. They are constantly looking at themselves and “how do we make a good thing get better”. Our plans are to continue to provide an incredible environment for salon professionals to be successful within.

What advice can you give someone who dreams of becoming a successful multi-unit franchisee?
Jump on in, the water is warm!!! I personally live by “if it’s to be, it’s up to me” so once we made the decision, failure wasn’t an option. I can’t speak for anyone else, nor do I know what your “why” in life is. Mine is the joy of creating greatness wherever I can. Though I fall short upon occasion, most know my ultimate intensions.

Subway multi-unit franchisee talks to whichfranchise - 24-June-2019


Born and brought up in New Zealand, Damian moved to the UK in 1980.  He has a background in the catering and hospitality sector, after working for Compass Group for five years as a Hospitality Manager at Stormont - Northern Irelands Parliament, and 10 years with P&O as its Hotel Services Manager, Irish Sea.

Today he owns and operates six Subway stores in Northern Ireland, including Northern Ireland’s first Subway Drive-Thru, which he opened in November 2018.

Damian employs 48 staff across the six stores, but remains very hands-on and involved as much as possible at all his stores, ensuring that excellent customer service is the top priority of all his staff.

When Damian was looking for a new challenge in his career, he turned to Subway, and began working as a Business Consultant for the Business Development Office based in Belfast.  Soon after, he purchased his first store in Antrim Town and hasn’t looked back since.

Damian said: “I was very aware of how popular Subway was, even before I began working for the Business Development Team. It’s a great concept which is well known across the world and has popular global support. 

“When the opportunity came about for me to buy my own store, I felt it was a dream come true! I’ve always been a big fan of Subway and I love its products, so to be able to become a part of that brand was very exciting.”

“I liked the structure and support of working in a franchise, the tried-and-tested business opportunity, but with the chance to make your own mark, have your own stores and make your own connections.  There’s nothing that can’t be achieved with Subway’s business model, it’s so versatile – proven by the fact I’ve just opened Northern Irelands first Drive-thru store.”

In 2017, Subway introduced a new Fresh Forward store design, offering guests an enhanced modern Subway experience, with clean lines and customer focused touches. Damian’s Drive-Thru store is his first Fresh Forward store, and both guests and staff have been impressed with the new design.

“The comfort and space in the Fresh Forward store is great, some people will even use the Drive-Thru, and then come into the store. The feedback verbally and on social media has been overwhelmingly positive and the support from subway to get the Drive-Thru up and running was first class.

Before opening his Fresh forward Drive-thru store, Damian closed a Subway store on the same development. There was about 12 months between one store closing, and the other opening, but thankfully the desire for a Sub never faded.

Damian explained: “What has been really reassuring is that guests from the old store near the Drive-Thru site have come straight back to us. We have been missing from the area for over a year after the store closed, but our guests are so loyal, and there has also been a lot of people keen to use the Drive-Thru.”

Damian is very involved in community activities around his local stores, and with the wider Subway brand.  He sits on the regional Franchise Advertising Fund (FAF) board in Northern Ireland, which makes decisions about regional marketing activity, as well as region-specific promotions, offers and other activity. 

He says: “There’s lots of opportunities for franchise owners to get involved in the brand, on a local, regional and national level, and I think it’s important that we do – after all, each Subway franchise is individually owned and operated, so it’s our businesses, and our communities that are directly benefiting.”

Damian has fostered a close relationship with local ice hockey team, Belfast Giants, on behalf of the regional FAF board. For him the marketing opportunities are strengthened further, once one well-known brand is associated with another.  As a sponsor of the Giants, Subway often takes part in promotional activities at home games, including the legendary Sub Cannon – which fires footlong Subs into the crowd at half-time, something that Damian says really gets the crowd going!

“Sponsorship of the Giants has opened up a new customer base for Subway across Northern Ireland,” says Damian.  “You get lots of families going to the Giants’ games, many of them perhaps weren’t familiar with the brand beforehand, but now they know and have had the opportunity to try Subs for themselves, they might even be fans of the brand for life!”

Damian firmly believes that the franchise model is perfect for those who are considering starting their own business, because there is as much guidance and support as you need, which provides extra security when starting out on your own. The Business Development Office is always there to help out, whether it’s on the ground support at the opening of a new store, or on the phone for advice and guidance.

“My advice to anyone who is thinking of opening their own franchise is to make sure you have the passion for the product, whatever that may be, if you believe in it and enjoy it, it will make it much easier for your staff and guests to enjoy too. 

“The same approach goes for recruiting and training the right staff, when your staff engage and are well trained, you’ll have a better team and well trained staff are good for business.  Staff engaging with customers is key, this is the vital link – and what makes guests keep coming back.  My staff get to know the regular guests, they talk to them, they find out about their day – and of course will know their favourite Sub!  It’s this kind of approach and attention to detail which can often make the difference between the guest having a good experience in store, and an excellent one.”

However, underpinning everything for Damian is Subway and its products, they remain his passion and drive. “I believe that there is a real need for healthier choices for people, whether they’re in a shopping centre, visiting hospitals, looking for a lunchtime bite to eat close to the office or out with the family.  The great thing about the range of Subway products is that there’s something for everyone, if you want a healthier option, there’s the Low Fat range, if you’d like something a little more indulgent that’s fine, if you’re looking for a value for money lunch, there’s the £3 Real Deal – and of course, there’s the ‘Kids Pak™’ – it really is a brand for all the family, and one that will always have a special place in my heart.”

Find out more about a Subway Franchise Opportunity

Exclusive Interview: "I can spread the risk and get higher rewards!" - 21-May-2019


Name: Chris Barber

Location: Leamington Spa, Birmingham, Leicester

Franchise: Venture Studios

Please tell us about your franchise(s):

Three Venture Studios photography studios.

What is your business background?

Freelance Extreme Sport and Motorsport Photographer from the age of 17. Then Product Photography Company and Business Coaching Company. Now have three Venture Studios.

Why did you choose the industry and franchise you did?

I love photography and making people feel good.  The Venture franchise has the best products and great marketing.

What’s are the benefits of being a multi-unit franchisee?

I can spread the risk and get a higher reward.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

Initially weekly Business Development Manager support back in the olden days!

How would you describe your role as a multi-unit franchisee?  What is your management style/method?

Both non-operational overview and direction, with operational training, coaching and doing. Management style is more for the managers. I prefer leading, being direct, consistent and fair.

What are some of the challenges you have faced being a multi-unit franchisee, and how did you overcome them?

Time management. Recruiting the best team and creating a solid hierarchy of leaders.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a multi-unit franchisee? 

Value your team and get vision buy in. Invest in a solid management structure so all team members are supported and buy into the company’s mission.

What are the company’s plans for developing the business and your own personal plans for your business?

Further growth and refinement. Personal plans are to expand my business into new sectors.

What advice can you give someone who dreams of becoming a successful multi-unit franchisee?

Work really hard at the start, then work smart once you’ve refined your model. Invest in your team and they’ll invest their time and passion in you.

To learn more about franchise opportunties with Venture Studios, click here!

Papa John’s franchise owner talks about being a successful multi-unit franchisee - 25-January-2019


Franchisee name: Sukhbir Gill and his business partner Lakhwinder Singh
Location: Sunderland
Franchise: Papa John’s

Please tell us about your Papa John’s franchise
Sukhbir Gill explains: “I am the franchisee for Papa John’s Sunderland store and I also run four other franchised Papa John’s including Skegness.  I run the stores with my business partner Lakhwinder Singh (Lucky).  We plan to open a further Papa John’s in April 2019.  I look after the financial operations of the business while Lucky manages the day-to-day operation of the stores.

What is your business background?
Sukhbir Gill explains: “I joined Papa John’s from a rival pizza firm where I worked for eight years.  I felt at the time, I had achieved all that I could and that I could not progress any higher.  I had always wanted to run my own business and with Papa John’s actively looking for franchisees it was the perfect fit.

My experience over the years, has been particularly helpful as the fast food industry lends itself to opening multi-units.  Having a background in the sector allowed us to see what was possible but also what could be done even better and we have brought these lessons with us to link-up with Papa John’s hugely successful business model and have never looked back.”

Why did you choose the fast food franchise industry and a Papa John’s franchise?
Sukhbir explains: The Papa John’s franchise is attractive because it is growing so rapidly and so there are many opportunities for expansion.  In addition, there is no-question that the product is the best on the market.  The pizzas are made with only freshest ingredients for a better flavour which tops the competition.  The Company’s concept of: “BETTER INGREDIENTS.  BETTER PIZZA.” always keeps customers coming back for more!  Feedback is always excellent!”

What are the benefits of being a multi-unit franchisee?
Operations director Lakhwinder Singh (Lucky) explains: “There are a number of benefits – as a multi-unit franchise we have been able to take advantage of Papa John’s special new store opening incentive scheme.   Deals on equipment, franchisee royalties and assistance with marketing have all been helpful as we open more outlets.

Papa John’s also offers a new store opening construction loan which is key as the cash generated from one opening provides the funding for the next.  Papa John’s strategy is to have franchisees with multi unit operations and it was a win-win for us.

“Each time you open a new store the process becomes easier because it is more familiar. 
When it comes to staff, recruitment becomes more straightforward plus, training can be hands-on in an existing store, ensuring staff are up to speed quickly as they learn better in a real-world environment.”

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Lucky continues: “Papa John’s training is very thorough.  Initially, even though we were experienced in the industry, it included three weeks at head office as well as three weeks in-store: six weeks in total.  Now we have multiple Papa John’s open, the ongoing training includes the head office training and support team joining us for new openings to help staff during the first week.  There are also regional training workshops and train the trainer programmes we have attended, and our staff have been able to take advantage of too.  There have been some new senior staff joining Papa John’s at head office recently and this has already started to strengthen the training and support programmes even further for the benefit of franchisees.”

How would you describe your role as a multi-unit franchisee?  What is your management style/method?
Lucky explains: “As operations director I am responsible for most of the day-to-day running of the stores.  I have a hands-on approach and am fully across the different outlets we run.  I like to have a motivated team and listen to feedback.  I have an open-door policy with regular monthly meetings with senior managers and we always try to promote internally too.  This helps to keep staff motivated and engaged.”

What are some of the challenges you have faced being a multi-unit franchisee, and how did you overcome them?
Sukhbir Gill explains:  “The distance between our stores has been one challenge we have faced.  To overcome this, we are now focused on opening ‘clusters’ of stores.  Travelling between outlets then becomes easy.  Staff can move between stores if necessary or if they want to and joint regional marketing is more straightforward.”

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a multi-unit franchisee?
Sukhbir continues: “My advice is to look at how running clusters of stores can be beneficial.  Grouping outlets can really improve marketing reach and staff recruitment and training is certainly more efficient too.”

What are the company’s plans for developing the business and your own personal plans for your business?
Sukhbir explains:  “We are expanding in line with the development agreement with Papa John’s so everyone knows where they stand and we have secured territories resulting in a planned store opening strategy over the next couple of years.   We have a new Papa John’s store opening up in April 2019.    

What advice can you give someone who dreams of becoming a successful multi-unit franchisee?
Lucky explains:  “The fast food industry is a fast-paced environment!  You need to be prepared to work hard and be hands-on.  Learn everything about the business, what works and what doesn’t – live it, breath it, even eat it and this all-consuming approach will bring you success!”

Find out more about becoming a Papa John's franchisee

Interview with multi-unit Right at Home franchisee and Young Franchisee of the Year - 17-December-2018


Name: Almas Adam
Locations: Loughton, Redbridge & Waltham Forest
Franchise: Right at Home

Please tell us about your Right at Home franchise:
Right at Home is a home care domiciliary care franchise, delivering care into people’s homes. We work together with our clients as a team, in order to ensure compatibility and provide the additional support that the family needs.

What is your business background?
My first business venture was in franchising.  My brother Safwan and I bought a CEX franchise in 2012, it was the first of six CEX franchises we would go on to own.   I however decided that I wanted a new challenge in a new industry and started to look at the options available to me.  The care industry stood out.

Why did you choose the care industry and Right at Home franchise?
Coming from a background where the elderly have always been taken care of by their loved ones, it was unworldly to me that some people haven’t got that privilege. The more I thought on it, the more it came to light that I myself would not want to be in such a position and decided I wanted to do something that made a difference to the lives of others and so started to look at the care industry.  It is also recession proof and becoming very lucrative which is ideal from a business point of view.  Being involved with other franchise brands, I feel it is also beneficial to have a varied sector profile to reduce risk. 

What’s are the benefits of being a multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee?
Looking at each sector and what makes it thrive, and then adapting and implementing across sectors. Challenges can be a great learning curve in helping you thrive and adapt.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
A vigorous learning of regulations and mandatory requirements for the sector. As well as tools and best practice on how to acquire clients. The National Office team continually improve and provide more innovative ways to combat barriers we face in our day to day runnings.

What is your management style/method?
I would say to allow the right people to do the right things and ensure that responsibilities are clear and understood and regularly measured.

What are some of the challenges you have faced being a multi-brand franchisee, and how did you overcome them?
Realising that each sector has its own learning curve which can sometimes be steep if you haven’t ever been involved in that world. Also, the current challenge everyone has which is the recruitment of the right people.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a multi-brand franchisee? 
I guess it would depend on each individual’s ambitions, goals, future plans and experiences. I would say if you need to diversify risk for you to be confident then do it. However, if you are in a franchise which is thriving and profitable then I would say to concentrate on growing that business.

The most invaluable advice would be consider how established or new the franchise is ie where is it within its journey. If it is new, there will be many learning cruves and challenges, though input from the franchisees may be encouraged which is beneficial.  Results may not be as good as you would get with a more established franchise. If you are too late into a franchise, they may not have many great locations or sites left.

Exclusive interview with Domino’s Pizza and Tim Horton’s franchisees - 17-December-2018


Name: Graeme & Lisa Tobias
Location: Glasgow, Ayrshire & Northern Ireland
Franchise: Domino’s Pizza & Tim Hortons

Please tell us about your franchise(s):
Domino’s only use fresh, never frozen dough and have very high standards of product and service, which is what really attracted us to franchising with the brand.  We knew that if we followed the model, worked hard to achieve great service, customer service and produced a great product, we could succeed. 

With many years’ experience in Domino’s, the opportunity arose to broaden our business interests with Tim Hortons, which had arrived in the UK&I in the summer of 2017.  Another fantastic brand, hugely popular in Canada and growing worldwide, we were excited with the great products on offer (including our own favourite the French Vanilla!), excellent value for money and the attraction that the brand had from the outset.

What is your business background?
Lisa had previous experience as a Store Manager with Domino’s in one of their Glasgow stores, winning the prestigious award of ‘UK&I Manager of the Year’ back in 2002, whilst Graeme completed an Honours Degree in Maths, Statistics and Accounting at Strathclyde University and worked as a Licensee for pub chain Mitchells & Butlers.

Why did you choose the industry and franchises you did – Domino’s and Tim Hortons?   
With Lisa having worked in Domino’s, we already had a lot of insight into the brand.  We stepped back to consider our options, convinced that franchising was right for us.  Although there were many great franchises on the market, Domino’s was innovative, had a fantastic product, great marketing ideas (who doesn’t remember our sponsorship of the Simpsons?!) therefore we quickly knew we wanted to franchise with the brand.

Tim Hortons is relatively new to the UK but has been established in Canada for over 54 years.  In Canada they dominate the market with their famous French Vanilla, Double-Double and Timbits.  We, along with our 2 children Naomi and Jared, were both hugely excited when the first UK&I store opened up in Argyle Street, Glasgow, visiting the store in its opening week.  As a family we have enjoyed the products ever since and were extremely keen to look into franchising with Tim Hortons UK&I when approached earlier this year.

What are the benefits of being a multi-unit franchisee?
The main benefits are being able to share knowledge and experience across multiple sites, as many scenarios that arise, you’ll have seen before in another site, or if not, you can then share across the group, good or bad.  We have many fantastic Managers and Team Members that come up with great ideas, perform to a high standard, or get great feedback from customers that we can then share across the group for others to see and take on board.

Another benefit has been that we’ve been able to grow our teams and promote from within which is something we always encourage our team members to consider.  All of our Trainee Managers, Managers and Area Managers have started as either a Delivery Driver or In-store Team Member with us, progressing through the ranks in the same way we did.  Not only does this provide great opportunities, but it also encourages others to do the same and shows a great potential career path available to all who work with us.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Support and training initially from Domino’s was excellent, they really did cover all aspects of owning and running your own stores.  They provided management training, local marketing support, IT support, really anything you can think of there was someone in Domino’s Head Office that could help you.  Nowadays with a bigger team ourselves, we have developed our own Training Team and have a Head Office team including our own Accounts Department, Office Admin and Marketing Consultant but there is still always that support from the Franchisor when needed.

In Tim Hortons, we’re seeing exactly the same support we had with Domino’s all those years ago.  There is a person or team assigned to all aspects of running a store which means for a new franchisee without the setup we might have, you can contact someone from a quick phone call or e-mail that can help with any aspect of building or running a store.

How would you describe your role as a multi-unit franchisee?  What is your management style/method?
Our role now is more about organising, training and developing the Management Team including Head Office team, Operations Manager and Area Managers to make sure they are on top of their teams.  We always want to maintain very high standards across our group of stores, which means when passing tasks down the line, we must make sure they are aiming for the same very high standards at all times, as they are representing us and our company every day, with every customer’s order. 

The most important job for us now is to identify key people, ensure that they are on board with our way of thinking, demonstrating every day that they are aligned with the brand and making sure they develop their teams below them to do the same.  It’s also great to get their ideas, be able to include them in the decision making, so that we develop as a group with the fantastic people we have and not just dictate to them how we want it done.

What are some of the challenges you have faced being a multi-unit franchisee, and how did you overcome them?
The first steps were the most difficult, not to say that it is ‘easy’ now but opening our 15th Domino’s store was our best ever opening to date.  We had a great training team developing great people in the run up to opening, albeit a lot of new staff, our trainers did a great job preparing the team for opening, marketing was perfectly organised and operations ran smoothly from opening.  That’s not to say we didn’t make mistakes, unfortunately those do sometimes happen, but the vast majority of customers were ‘Wowed’ by their first experience of Domino’s in the new territory and we did our very best to make it up to any customer who didn’t.

Staffing initially was more difficult too.  When you have 1 or 2 sites you can’t carry a lot of people, in fact we had just 6 team members when we first started (now close to 600) but now that we are bigger in size, we’ve developed great teams, are always looking to promote team members to Trainee Managers and beyond, providing opportunities for hard working team members to grow with us and our 2 brands.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a multi-unit franchisee? 
Start from the bottom, learn everything.  If you haven’t cleaned every piece of equipment in your store/business, worked every station or job, seen first-hand what can go well and go wrong on a shift, then you can’t give advice of help your team when they need you.

If you do, you’ll be able to help when someone asks you in-store how something works or know what to do when someone calls for advice, but also appreciate it more when you do get it right and the store succeeds.  Whether that’s a record sales night or you’ve hit the best service stats, it makes it all that bit sweeter when you’ve helped out, know you can do each of those jobs and get stuck in yourself.

What are the company’s plans for developing the business and your own personal plans for your business?
Imminently we are about to launch our first Tim Hortons Drive Thru in Stenhousemuir, which is hugely exciting.  Training is going well and we’re loving every aspect of this new brand.

In 2019 we have 2 more Tim Hortons Drive Thru’s to open in the West of Scotland and 2 more Domino’s stores due too.  That will be a very big year for us as a group, but we won’t rest there, we are looking at development plans beyond 2019, continuing to bolster our great teams with even more talented people who want to learn, work with our 2 great brands and develop their own journeys.

What advice can you give someone who dreams of becoming a successful multi-unit franchisee?
Definitely do dream but know that you must work hard to make it a success.  Don’t expect to turn a key in a business from day 1 and make money, as it doesn’t often happen that easily.  The very best operators we’ve seen and are lucky enough to work alongside within Domino’s and now Tim Hortons, work hard every day, they’ve learned every aspect of the job, continue to develop with the brand and genuinely want to work hard within their own franchise as well as with the brand, to make a success of their business.  That is what is key to franchising for us, when you get the right brand, a real gem, the people within it not only want to do well for themselves, but also for the brand as a whole, which makes all the difference.

Multi-unit McDonald’s franchisee talks to whichfranchise - 10-December-2018


Name: John Kiely
Location: Coventry
Franchise: Jake Restaurants Ltd – T/As McDonald’s

Please tell us about your franchise:
I started as a Franchisee with McDonald’s by relocating to the Midlands and taking on my first restaurant which was a High Street Restaurant in Coventry City Centre in March 2013. I now have 6 restaurants in Coventry - the High Street Shopping Centre Restaurant and 4 Drive Thru Restaurants.

What is your business background?
Commercial background, mainly in the Construction sector, my last job was opening up satellite sales office worldwide for a UK Manufacturing company.

Why did you choose the fast food industry and McDonald’s?   
I wanted my own UK business so I could be in charge of my own destiny and limit my travelling.  I looked at a lot of franchise opportunities from construction to retail. I chose McDonald’s as it was a big brand, well respected, always evolving and changing to suit customer expectations, they were not interested in me just for my money but more for the skills I had, including business development, strong P&L skills, building through people, customer centric, community ambassador and strong brand representative.

What’s are the benefits of being a multi-unit franchisee?
Spreading the cost of a structural organisation across stores, sharing skills at all levels, opportunity to develop staff across stores, benchmarking best practice, opportunity for greater involvement with local and city community, building a strong Coventry brand name and working with local companies to support your requirements.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

  • 9 months training, working in restaurants and developing from a crew member to a Business Manager – this enabled me to know every job role and requirements of a busy restaurant.
  • In restaurant and Head Office training courses
  • Support of a Franchisee Consultant every step of the way to answer any questions and develop my skills.
  • All office functions at my disposal – marketing, HR, Finance, legal etc.

How would you describe your role as a multi-unit franchisee?  What is your management style/method?
My role is to set the vision for the organisation, to have strict guidelines in place for roles and responsibilities, to make sure we have an organisation in place that allows for coaching at all levels, encourage democratic discussion and decision making that reflects the needs of the business, customers and employees. My management styles can change based on the circumstances but are based around democratic and coaching teams. This aligned with the strong Franchise framework of McDonald’s works really well.

What are some of the challenges you have faced being a multi-unit franchisee, and how did you overcome them?
As your organisation grows the impact you can have individually can diminish as you spend less time than you would have done working with individuals and more time working through your managers. The key is to make sure you are visible around your stores, the hierarchy is recognised, there is always an open door to yourself if required and you prioritise your time on the needs of the business and the different restaurants. I find that I spend more time in the newer restaurants to help them to adapt to the changes that they will encounter so that they are understood and less challenging.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a multi-unit franchisee?
My success has come from identifying and nurturing talent so that as your business grows, the team that you have developed, are ready and equipped to support your new units. If financially possible, get your team ready to take on the new units before they come along. Also, do not forget your existing employees as they will be excited about their opportunities in a larger organisation. Organisational growth requires talent planning and development at all levels. Also, strong financial planning to make sure you are ready for growth.

What are the company’s plans for developing the business and your own personal plans for your business?
My plans are to keep growing the business organically through investment in existing restaurants and excellent customer service but also, where financially viable, and aligned to McDonald’s plans, to purchase other restaurants.  This will allow me to continue to develop and promote the great talent we are nurturing in the business and become a bigger contributor to the local community.

What advice can you give someone who dreams of becoming a successful multi-unit franchisee?
Make sure you are prioritising the unit[s] that you have already as them being successful financially, and continually developing talent, will allow your business to grow when it is ready. Business is all about developing talent with existing or new employees and giving them recognition for the great contribution that they make. Alongside strong financial discipline, and alignment to your partner Franchisor, your business will grow.

To find out more about franchise opportunities with McDonald's click here

Raja Adil's impressive portfolio includes KFC, Burger King, Costa, Taco Bell and Anytime Fitness - 29-October-2018


Name: Raja Adil
Franchise: The Adil Group

Tell us about yourself and the Adil Group
My background is very varied.  I qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and then in 2004 I joined The Adil Group.  At that point the group only had Burger King franchises and so we embarked upon an ambitious diversification strategy which included me becoming a KFC franchise and adding the brand to our growing portfolio.

We then added Costa Coffee (2007), and I negotiated a deal with KFC in 2008 to buy 14 franchises which at that time was the biggest deal to date. In 2014 we acquired our first franchises in Scotland when we opened two KFC’s in the centre of Glasgow. We continued our Scottish expansion with the opening of Costa sites in 2015 and then in 2017, we obtained the rights to roll out the Taco Bell brand in both London and Scotland.

I could not be prouder of what The Adil Group has achieved, from our beginning in 1969 when our founder Mohammed Adil bought his first Wimpy franchise, to the franchise powerhouse we are today.  And the hunger for further growth still burns strong.

Mohammed’s achievements were recognised in 2018 when he received an OBE for services to business, job creation and charity.

I am very lucky to have a supportive family that includes my wife and three children.

Please tell us about the franchises you have:
We have an extensive franchise portfolio of world class brands throughout the UK that includes:

  • KFC – 70
  • Burger King – 18
  • Costa Coffee – 43
  • Taco Bell – 1
  • Maitrise Hotels – 4
  • Anytime Fitness - 1

Why did you choose the franchises you did?   
I am second generation Franchisee who inherited a Burger King business and further diversified the business into other brands and property holdings.

What’s the best thing about being a multi-unit / multi-brand franchisee?
You get to work with fantastic brands who have a different DNA and are managed by great leaders with different priorities and customer focused according to the Brand.

How would you describe your role as a multi-unit / multi-brand franchisee?  What is your management style/method?
A family business that is based upon growth, focus and accountability where our number 1 priority is hiring, retaining and training tomorrow’s leaders.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing from your franchisor?
All of the brands we partner with are long established and have fantastic training programmes. I am just about to attend a Leadership Peak course with Yum! in Italy. To be successful, you have to continue learning.

What are some of the challenges you have faced being a multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee, and how did you overcome them?
Our number 1 focus and challenge remains attracting and retaining good talent for future growth. Very rarely do we hire externally and only where our growth outstrips our existing pool of in-house talent.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a multi-unit / multi-brand franchisee? 
You need to love being around people and have the ability to look at problems as challenges for which there are always solutions.

What are your long-term plans for your business and what are your goals for the future?
We would like to double our size in the next 5 years and are looking at further diversification. In addition, I hope the 3rd generation of The Adil Family will choose to join the business.

What advice can you give someone who dreams of becoming a successful multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee?
It is a tough journey and working hard is essential. I believe that you should never ask someone to do something you either cannot do yourself or do not know how to do so. The Adil way of running businesses is from the shop floor up and not the top down.

Multi-brand franchisee is owner of Domino's, Costa Coffee and Anytime Fitness franchises - 08-October-2018


Name: Mike Racz
Location: North East England
Franchise: Domino’s / Costa / Anytime Fitness

What is your business background?
I don’t have one. Everything I know, I learned from experience; I started from the bottom, selling stickers in school when I was 6, started my first business at 13 under my dad’s name, and later moved into Domino’s and worked my way up from being an in-store assistant to manager to area manager and finally opening my first store and becoming a franchisee, learning as much as I could on the way.

Why did you choose Domino’s, Costa Coffee and Anytime Fitness franchises to invest in?   
I loved Domino’s since I started working there in 2004. I didn’t pick it because it was a safe option, I just love the brand. I spent quite a while looking for Costa and Anytime Fitness, I needed to find the right businesses to achieve my vision and accelerate growth. I didn’t always get it right, I had another two franchises that failed but I think it only counts as failure if you don’t learn anything from it. I took those lessons and I made my other companies stronger.

What’s the best thing about being a multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee?
People. Finding talent is a very rewarding aspect of being a franchisee. I get to challenge people, give them opportunities and watch them grow. Most of my Head Office team started at the bottom. If someone has passion and ambition, I want to push that and get the best from them. No two days are the same within the Racz Group, everyone has the chance to develop, learn new skills and be who they want to be. A Barista at Costa could become a PT at Anytime Fitness if they wanted, there is always opportunity to try something new. Attitude is everything, you can’t build a successful company without enthusiastic team members and there is nothing better than finding someone who is a perfect fit.

How would you describe your role as a multi-unit/multi-brand, franchisee?  What is your management style/method?
Strategic. Almost exclusively. I don’t involve myself in hiring and training etc., I have an excellent team whom I trust completely to take care of those things. I hold Marketing and Finance close to my heart, I focus on growing my profit level and my revenue, I like to know what the top and bottom lines are. Everything in-between is in safe hands with my Head Office team, Area Managers and Managers.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing from your franchisors?
I was an Area Manager when I opened my first franchise of Domino’s and I’d learned a lot on the job. I knew I wanted more, I wanted to progress, so I made sure to do my homework and educate myself on how to make a business thrive. Obviously, I’d been trained at an operational level but becoming a multi-unit, multi-brand Franchisee has largely been a self-taught venture. It’s been a hard journey but it’s definitely worth it.

What are some of the challenges you have faced being a multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee, and how did you overcome them?
When you expand quickly, you have to learn to let go of things. It’s very easy to think I know better than everyone else and that I’m the best at everything, but it’s just because I care so much and it’s not true half the time anyway…  Learning to delegate and completely hand over control of some things was a tough one. Now I have a solid team, each of whom are experts in their respective fields. I can trust them to take even the vaguest idea and make it happen, and I know they’ll do a great job.

When you own a business, you need to take a holistic view. Make sure you have purpose and vision, define it and work on it. I had to not let myself get bogged down, finding a way to make my vision a reality would have been impossible without the team I’ve built.

What are your long-term plans for your business and what are your goals for the future?
I want to provide opportunities, I want to change the lives of my team members and our customers. I want to give people the chance to be who they want to be and achieve their goals. Ultimately, I want Racz Group to be the largest company based in the North East of England by turnover and number of team members. If you want me to put a number on it, I’d say £300 million in sales is step 1.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee?
Do not have an exit strategy. Every business guru will tell you to have one but it isn’t for me. You can’t build a visionary company by having the mindset that you’re only there to make money. You need purpose, passion, vision and values. You should focus on the company culture, build something meaningful. Enjoy what you do! You need to know where you want to go and what you want to achieve. It’s cliché, but they’re right when they say you should never stop chasing your dreams.

Papa John’s Franchisee Sees Multi-unit Success - 31-August-2018


Papa John’s was founded in the USA in 1984 and there are now well over 400 stores across the UK and over 5,000 stores in more than 40 international markets and territories.

Franchisee, Siddhartha Chirumamilla (Sid), manages five Papa John’s in the South East of England plus the Scottish Rutherglen, Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy stores.  He has plans to open additional Papa John’s in Scotland over the next few years.

Sid explains: “Prior to joining Papa John’s I was a mechanical engineer.  It was a factory-based role and the job was really the same, day-in, day-out.  However, I used to work for Papa John’s when I was student, studying for a degree in automobile engineering in London.  I worked both in-store and as a driver in Welwyn Garden City branch.  After my university days, I returned to India then came back to the UK in 2013, knowing I wanted to run my own business and wondered if Papa John’s could be the way forward? 

“When the Welwyn Garden City Papa John’s became available, with help from a business loan from the franchising department of HSBC I purchased my first franchised store.  I haven’t looked back!

“Over the years, the changes to my role illustrate quite a journey:  starting out as a student driver and now overseeing my own portfolio of franchised Papa John’s stores including the one where I first delivered Papa John’s pizza as a student.  These days, most of my daily work is concerned with managing the new store openings, while my valued senior staff run each individual Papa John’s.  I also work with an experienced business partner: Vamsi Atluri, who looks after the Scottish outlets for me.  

“At first, I’d planned to open just one or two Papa John’s, but the business expanded and opportunities came quickly.  I now run 11 stores.”

Phil Gaffer, QFP, franchise sales & business development manager comments: “The multi store opportunity Papa John’s offers for franchisees results in an ever-growing income.  For this reason, many of our franchisees have more than one outlet.  Franchisees can draw income from several stores to produce a healthy profit while also building a portfolio of assets.

Phil Gaffer continues:  “For several years, Papa John’s has encouraged successful franchisees to invest in multiple stores with incentives - they only need to put in 30% cash in upfront.  Then the cash generated by the new store is used to fund the next outlet and the next, while maintaining their capital.   The prospects I speak with get excited about running multiple stores.  The financial return for having multi stores can, with the added ingredient of a lot of hard work, provide a six-figure income.”

Sid continues: “Operating as a multi-unit franchisee creates certain economies of scale.  Bulk ordering on all sorts of supplies is more economical for example.  This is just one advantage but there are many more.  Staff training can be streamlined when more people can be trained at the same time; one recruitment advertisement can cover several local stores; marketing can cover more than one regional outlet.  These are just a few examples of processes where having multi-units can create savings on cost, resources and labour.

“I believe one reason for the popularity and continued growth of the brand is Papa John’s concept of: “BETTER INGREDIENTS.  BETTER PIZZA.”  which means we only use the best quality, freshest ingredients for a better flavour.  Customers just keep coming back for more!  With Papa John’s focused strategy of expansion, I am very much looking forward to contributing to helping the Company take a bigger slice of the market in the future.

“The team at Papa John’s is highly supportive both financially and personally, everyone is always helpful and enthusiastic.  Our goals are aligned to grow the operation and open more stores. 

“The Papa John’s incentive scheme which helps franchisees when starting-up has been a driver to help me develop more stores. It offers assistance with marketing, some free equipment and reduced royalty payments.  It means we can capitalise on Papa John’s rapid growth and become a real part of the Company’s success story.”

Phil Gaffer, QFP, franchise sales & business development manager comments: “Sid’s story is an outstanding example of how Papa John’s has identifed and supported an entrepreneur to help them grow their business.  How many other industries can name someone who was a delivery driver not long ago and who now oversees a multi-unit, million pound plus turnover business?   Sid is also investing now to secure his future income.

Phil Gaffer continues: “Demonstrating our commitment to working in partnership with our franchisees, Papa John’s proactively supports franchisees financially, plus offers incentives to help expansion.  Sid has clearly been able to maximise this partnership and we are delighted to support him in his business growth.”

Papa John's is one of the largest pizza companies in the world and has opportunities for franchisees throughout the UK.  Help is provided with location selection and full turn-key opening of stores.  As a franchise, the Company supplies all the assistance needed to get your successful Papa John’s up and running. 

Exclusive Interview with Tracy Vardy, multi-brand franchisee for Costa Coffee and Pita Pit - 12-March-2018


Name: Tracy Vardy, co-founder of Sim Trava

Location: Altrincham

Franchise: Costa Coffee & Pita Pit


Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your franchise businesses

My background before starting Sim Trava is in the housing sector, mostly working with local authorities and a major housing association. I worked in that sector for more than eight years. It was a great foundation for developing staff management and team-building skills, which have been invaluable as a business owner.

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose your industry? And why did you choose Costa Coffee and Pita Pit franchises?

There are a lot of benefits to opening a franchise rather than starting from the ground up, mostly that you are in charge of your own business but have an established brand behind you.

It wasn’t something we decided on straight away though and we probably spent months trying to decide on the kind of business we would both want to build and be involved in. Because we’d never started a business before it was a really difficult decision, but when Whitbread announced in 2004 that it was opening the Costa Coffee brand to franchising we knew that was the business we wanted to build. It helped that we were both loyal Costa customers already.

How did you raise the finance?

The majority of our funding came from the bank. Because we’d spent so long thinking about what business to start we were well armed with a profitable, working business plan so we could demonstrate achievable goals and that made it much easier to secure the right funding that worked for our business.

Over the years, we’ve had a great relationship with the bank and they’ve been very supportive in helping us meet our ambitious and aggressive growth targets. We’ve recently completed a £3m re-finance deal to kick start our next phase of expansion.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

The initial support was around how to set up and operate the franchise, what things were expected and how to go about running a business. Whenever we needed support on anything it was always available.

How would you describe your role as a franchisee?

I imagine it’s the same as any other person who owns and runs a business, which is to create a sustainable and profitable company that invests back into itself, looks after the people involved and adds something to the community they operate in.

We have always approached this as our business, it might have Costa’s and Pita Pit brand, but it’s our business and it’s our responsibility to grow it and make it sustainable.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?

I don’t think there is a typical day as a franchisee, certainly no two days are the same. On the whole, my days are based around juggling and looking after my family and the business. Every day, has a new set of demands and needs so things tend to change throughout the day but I’m fortunate enough to have some flexibility and very often my family and the business blend and mix into making up my day.

What challenges have you faced?

Starting the business is probably the biggest challenge we’ve faced as neither me nor Simon had experience of running our own business before this. Even with a franchise, and having that established brand in place, there is still a lot of hard work needed to build your customer base and cement yourself in the community. We have invested a lot of time in this business to make it successful and sustainable.

Another big challenge has been making sure we meet our ambitious targets. Even when we were working out of our house, with one franchise, we had bigger plans and making sure we hit those targets has been very challenging, but rewarding.

After taking on two Pita Pit franchises more recently we’ve also got the challenge of balancing two different kinds of business and making sure every part of the Sim Trava umbrella is operating efficiently.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?

It has certainly changed our focus, but that could be said of anyone who takes the risk of starting a business. The pace is so much faster when you own a company and there are so many different aspects of the business - from sustaining what is already there, to keeping an eye on potential new opportunities, to avoiding pitfalls – so your life can become consumed by it. So, from a professional point, it absolutely has.

From a personal point though, we put so much of our own beliefs about family and how we want people to act – and that runs throughout the business – that it hasn’t really changed that aspect. If anything, it’s enhanced it because we want people to buy into the Sim Trava message and that starts with us.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? 

When we started our business, we had three steps to increase our chances of success:

  1. Secure the most appropriate funding – be confident when you approach investors and have a workable business plan in place, and don’t just accept the first deal that falls at your feet, shop around and make sure you are making the right decision for your business.
  2. Invest directly in your people – being a family business is a core principle we operate under at Sim Trava and we take pride in investing back in the team’s development. This will also help you save money on staff turnover and improve your business’ stability.
  3. Create a sustainable business model – as with any business, be ambitious with your goals but be realistic, just because you have an established brand over the door doesn’t guarantee success, you have to be prepared to put the work in and make sure you can reach the goals you set for yourself

What are your plans for the future?

We are currently going through an exciting period of growth for the business. Most recently we have opened three new stores in Fulwood and Buckshaw Village in Lancashire and Monton in Greater Manchester, creating 25 new jobs.

Added to this we have ambitious plans to open a number of other stories to take our total number to 34 by the end of the year and increase the business’ turnover to £20m by 2018.

Would you do it again?


We always had in the back of our minds that we wanted to start our own business, and while it’s been a long and sometimes hard journey we’ve enjoyed every step of it. Looking back now from that first franchise, nearly 13 years on we’re on track to have 34 stores and a £20m turnover at the end of next year.

That’s not bad for a husband and wife team who started a business from the family kitchen.

Exclusive interview with Pita Pit master franchisee for Trinidad and Tobago - 01-December-2017


Name: Daniel Fakoory
Location: Trinidad & Tobago
Franchise: Pita Pit

Please tell us about Pita Pit franchise:
Pita Pit is a Canadian based franchise which specializes in providing healthy food options in a fast-casual setting, primarily pita bread wraps and salads.

What is your business background?
I come from business family where my father, grandfather and all uncles owned and operated their own businesses, mainly in retailing of textiles and apparel.

Why did you go down the franchise route and what made you opt for a master franchise?
I chose to go the route of the franchise because I strongly believe in not reinventing the wheel and sticking to a system and model that is proven and works. I opted for the master franchise as my country is very small with a population of only 1.3 million people and I knew I had the capability and resources available to adequately expand the franchise throughout this territory.

Why did you choose the fast-casual food industry and Pita Pit franchise?
I was first a fan of the product and the Pita Pit franchise and I believed in their core competencies of being fresh and different from what already existed in the quick service industry.

I was attracted to the food industry as it is very resilient in challenging economic times and I liked its prospects for growth as more and more people were eating out and not cooking meals at home.

What research did you undertake?
My primary focus on research was on the cost structure for the Pita Pit model and ensuring we could match or have similar cost structures in our territory, with regards to food costs, rents and labour.

How did you raise the finance?
I invested from savings that I had along with including a business partner.

What are some of the challenges you have faced when buying a master franchise, and how did you overcome them?
One of the challenges was developing a local supply chain for all the products we needed to stay within a reasonable food cost. In addition, Pita Pit is still a growing international brand, so we did not benefit much from any international marketing activities etc, therefore, we needed to create and implement our own marketing strategy for our market.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
We received initial training by the Franchisor at the training center in Kingston, Ontario. We have excellent ongoing support for any needs that may arise.

How would you describe your role as a master franchisee?
Our role as Master Franchisee is very important as it allows us to develop the Pita Pit brand throughout our territory whilst being in control of the quality of the food as well as all the stores.

How have you gone about developing your franchise and establishing it in Trinidad and Tobago?
In addition, Pita Pit is still a growing international brand, so we did not benefit much from any international marketing activities etc, therefore, we needed to create and implement our own marketing strategy for our market.

How do you select the right franchisees for your business?
We opted to corporately manage all of our locations.

What USPs has your franchise got over others in your industry?
Our product quality and customer service are better than the rest.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy a master franchise?
Make sure to understand and believe in the franchise model, be a fan of the brand and product!

What are the company’s plans for the future and your own personal plans for your business?
Continued growth throughout the territory until we feel we have reached saturation.

To find out more about Pita Pit franchise opportunities in the UK click here

Exclusive interview with Aslam Bakkali, Belgium master franchisee for Business Doctors - 30-May-2017


Name: Aslam Bakkali
Location: Brussels - Belgium
Franchise: Business Doctors

Please tell us about your Business Doctors franchise:
Business Doctors is primarily a British support network dedicated to helping small and medium sized businesses achieve their full potential.

What is your business background?
I hold a Master Degree in Accountancy & Finance and have over 30 years of experience in Finance and Sales Management gained from subsidiaries of world-class multinationals such as Colgate-Palmolive, Orangina Schweppes, ACNielsen, Sun Microsystems and Occidental Petroleum.

Why did you go down the franchise route and what made you opt for a master franchise?
I initially thought of starting from scratch and launching my own business until I discovered Business Doctors franchise that provides similar products and services offerings dedicated to SME. BD brings together a strong network of high calibre business consultants and years proven experience, methodologies, tools and success making my venture faster to develop and less risky. I was very interested in a master franchise because it’s a unique opportunity to make a major difference in the market place and build something valuable both for my clients and myself. Something I could be proud of.

Why did you choose the business consultancy industry and ultimately Business Doctors?
I am passionate about SME’s and eager to tap into my 30 year-experience in business performance management, finance, sales and marketing strategy to serve them and contribute wholeheartedly to their well-being and legitimate growth aspirations. The consultancy industry was no brainer and when I met Business Doctors it became crystal clear they were the best fit possible.

What research did you undertake?
I did my homework and tried to understand the market (size, competition, customers, challenges, etc…), read a load of books around consultancy and franchising without mentioning weeks of web research. Afterwards, I talked with a number of professional consultants I knew and attended a number of events including the Franchise Exhibition held in Brussels. I had also long discussions with a French Franchisor along with his Belgium Franchisee and Business Doctors along with a couple of UK Franchisees. I worked out my business plan to ensure the chosen option was doable financially. Last but not least, I discussed thoroughly and openly the franchise option with my wife to get her support before making my final call.

How did you raise the finance?
My business plan and own credentials were solid. They were discussed with a Belgian bank that accepted to finance 100% of the franchise entry-fee at a very competitive interest rate and with no collateral.

What are some of the challenges you have faced when buying your Business Doctors master franchise, and how did you overcome them?
The language barrier and the lack of brand equity in Belgium are probably the biggest challenges. Belgium consists mainly of 2 strong communities: Flemings who speak Dutch and Walloons who speak French. All existing BD communication, all documents including website and digital tools are in English. Furthermore, even though support from BD UK is contractually foreseen, it is not that easy to organise as a result of the language issue. Priority is given to French and translations are on track. Regarding support, Head-Office is doing a great job while one of Business Doctors very experienced consultant has volunteered to help me out in the initial phase. Next to him, there is of course, the whole network I can always tap into for advices. Finally, in order to make Business Doctors brand known in Belgium, a marketing campaign is being designed with the support of Head-Office for implementation in the coming weeks.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
I did receive 8 days intensive training (and a load of binders with precious information) in order to understand and practice Business Doctors operating model, tools, systems as well as the consultative selling approach. Next to this, 6-days hands-on support in Belgium are foreseen to consolidate my knowledge and lead me to mastery. I also know I can count on Business Doctors head-office continuous training, support, coaching and mentoring whenever I need it.

How would you describe your role as a master franchisee?
Build Business Doctors brand equity in Belgium & Luxemburg and expand its business footprint across this geography.

How have you gone about developing your franchise and establishing it in your country?
First step is to make “my” franchise successful before hiring franchisees starting in 2018. PR, networking, referrals, partnerships and seminars are critical paths to build a trusted name in the market place and down the road generate contracts.

How do you select the right franchisees for your business?
The right franchisee is a very experienced business person with a solid business acumen. Somebody who as the right hard skills and competencies but that’s not enough. A critical success factor is also to possess the right behaviour and attitude.

What USPs has your franchise got over others in your industry?
Business Doctors is very structured and experienced with over 10,000 SME’s helped under its belt. Its collaborative network is robust and its approach, tools and systems are second to none. It’s unique in the way it engages its clients. Business Doctors listen actively to their clients to understand their concerns and challenges and hence help them the best way possible. Business Doctors is jargon-free hands-on pragmatic, humble consultants, far away from traditional “know-it-all” consultants who focus on concepts and theories and not on execution.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy a master franchise?
Full alignment with your Master Franchisor’s vision and goals is critical to avoid disconnects that would adversely impact your success.

What are the company’s plans for the future and your own personal plans for your business?
In my capacity as Master Franchisee for Belux, I will be developing, supporting and motivating BeLux network as well as continuing to strengthen Business Doctors presence and brand image. About 8 franchisees will be hired within 5 years, each with dedicated territories. In parallel, there are exciting plans to start a Master Franchise in France and in the Netherlands. But that’s another story. Let’s focus on BeLux first.

Click here to find out more about Business Doctors and to enquire about UK and international franchise opportunities

Exclusive interview with Freedome master franchisee for Norway & Iceland - 18-April-2017


Name: Christoffer Thorsheim
Location: Norway & Iceland
Franchise: Freedome by Sky Zone

Please tell us about Freedome:
Freedome is the kick ass areal-park taking Europe by storm. It is the most bad-ass trampoline, adrenaline and fun filled indoor recreational facility on the planet.

What is your business background?
Education: Bachelor of business majored in finance. University of Newcastle
Master of Science: International shipping, trade and finance. University of Plymouth

I had 8 years’ career in the world’s largest maritime Group: Wilhelmsen.

I also started, ran, and sold a trucking company that ran the transport of armoured military cargo for US and ISAF forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Co-founded with my wife, which is an online tutoring software platform, where anyone can teach and everyone can learn.

Why did you go down the franchise route and what made you opt for a master franchise?
I really wanted to bring the trampoline park concept home, and first though of doing it myself. But after doing some research and understanding the importance of having a good system, training and a developed concept – it was better to go for a franchise.

Why did you choose the trampoline industry and a Freedome franchise?
We chose the industry because it’s fun, it’s good for the local community, it gives kids and young adults an all-year activity in a safe environment at a decent price. And its good money as a business.

We did a survey of all the franchises available, and found that Sky Zone and Freedome had better equipment, better branding and a stronger corporate support than the alternatives. From there it was easy.

What research did you undertake?
We did research in many aspects. We analysed the population density, age distribution and purchasing power of the various areas in our country to determine optimal sites. We did market surveys to see how the brand/image/products would fit with the local culture, and how we had to adapt locally. We did due diligence on all the potential franchises we looked at. We did cost/benefits and profitability analysis of the different franchise fees, etc etc etc!

How did you raise the finance?
Family and friends. We are fortunate enough to be two families in this franchise that have solid private funds.

What are some of the challenges you have faced when buying a master franchise, and how did you overcome them?
Money. You always need more. In the eternal words of the poet Notorious B.I.G “more money more problems”. As we have a large geographical area, and fast growing competition, the challenges is to keep growth at the speed we would like.

The challenge in finding suitable real-estate is also difficult, as it is often tempting to choose sub-optimal locations in order to get faster market penetration. To over-come these challenges, we have to keep sourcing funds, be patient and trust that our decisions will pay off in the long-run.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
I don’t believe it’s the franchise responsibility to teach you to do business. You should know that before you get in the franchisee position. Their support and training has been brand-specific, and related to the operational, practical and legal challenges facing trampoline park operations, launch and marketing. The support has been phenomenal on those levels.

How would you describe your role as a master franchisee?
My role is to develop the business. To take as large a market share as possible, as fast as possible, while maintaining the quality, brand and safety-levels Freedome and Sky Zone are famous for.

How have you gone about developing your franchise and establishing it in your country?
People. It’s all about people. The key to success in any business, be it software development, military transport or trampoline parks, is to attract, retain and develop talent. The most important thing I have done, is to find people that are better than me, hire them, and give them the freedom to build the business. All senior managers are also incentives by being given share-options in our holding-company, so that they feel ownership and pride in working with us.

How do you select the right franchisees for your business?
Passion. If someone is passionate, they will do well. People looking only at the IRR, or that are purely interested from an investment opportunity position are never right. People that are passionate about the business, and care about the concept, get the brand philosophy and want to create something will always do better, and ironically also get better bottom-line than the cynic investor.

What USPs has your franchise got over others in your industry?
Better technology. The Vuly trampoline is a patented tech that puts us miles ahead of competitors. In addition, we have a stronger brand, a better concept and a best-in-class safety record. We are also the inventors of the concept, the biggest and the most experienced in the industry

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy a master franchise?
Don’t do it unless you really, really love the brand you are buying. (which I do). You have to buy the concept hook line and sinker if you are going for a franchise.

What are the company’s plans for the future and your own personal plans for your business?
I’ll make a great franchise across Scandinavia. We are going to be the best, big-league. We will win so much, we´ll be tired of winning. The other trampoline parks are all fake. All the others trampoline parks are total losers. You’ll love it. * said whit accompanying hand-gestures*