Lessons from the winner of Sandwich Baron’s ‘Win a Franchise’ competition.
Last year Scott Mitchley became a franchise owner overnight when he was named the winner in the Sandwich Baron ‘Win a Franchise’ competition. He received a new, fully constructed and equipped outlet, food stock to the value of R25 000 and one month’s training.
Sandwich Baron is South Africa’s largest sandwich franchise. The first franchise was opened in Germiston in 1997 and is known for its fresh ingredients and free delivery service to customers. Currently there are more than 50 outlets across South Africa.
Mitchley is making a roaring success of his new venture in Beyerspark, Boksburg, but he says franchising isn’t a golden ticket to success. Hands-on management is the key factor to establish a successful franchise business.
What type of industry were you in before winning the franchise?
I have worked in fast food restaurants for more than 20 years, starting out as a Manager Trainee in 1995 with McDonald’s and ending as the Chief Operations Officer of Kauai in 2013. Before I won the franchise I was consulting businesses on turnaround strategies and profitability.
What do you enjoy most about running a franchise?
When you work in a corporate environment you are removed from the day-to-day interaction with staff and customers. I really enjoy interacting with my staff and I also deliver orders to my customers. I like the people side of the business. It is fantastic when you see how a plan comes together and when you reap the benefits of your hard work.
What should potential franchise owners know about franchising in the food industry?
1. It is hard work. Be prepared to put in long hours as success isn’t guaranteed overnight. It can take between 12 and 18 months for a venture to take off.
2. Your operation should run like a well-oiled machine. You have to spend time on the floor implementing procedures that help to control your food cost and general management. Food franchises are not about sitting in offices, but about driving operational excellence and making profit.
3. You will have complaints. Meeting or exceeding a customer’s expectations is always a challenge. But look at the positive side – every complaint is an opportunity to fix something that isn’t working in your business and put processes in place which prevent it from occurring again.