Name: Neo & Mpho Mothopeng
Location: Westgate Mall Roodepoort
Franchise: Sandwich Baron
Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose your franchise?
Neo: We wanted to get into business, but realised that start-up capital and other resources can be problematic when trying to get financing. We decided that we were going to finance ourselves by saving up while working for previous employers, because we wanted to be prepared if an opportunity came our way, and to avoid financial loans from institutions. We continued looking for investment opportunities while reading a lot of business books and magazines, including biographies of successful entrepreneurs. We read up about our current business, Sandwich Baron in one of the entrepreneur magazines and it interested us straight away, and here we are today. One thing I can tell you, this is only the beginning of our investments. We chose Sandwich Baron because we wanted a reputable brand with a business formula that has been proven to work.
Mpho: Initially, we were looking at buy a sit-down restaurant but an opportunity presented itself….Sandwich Baron Westgate was available and looking for a franchisee. We saw it as a long term investment – something that will never lose value as long as we maintain the quality and standards that were set.
What did you do before taking up a franchise?
Neo: I worked at an advertising agency and a beverage company.
Mpho: We have a marketing / advertising background. I am a senior graphic designer and Neo is a brand manager who worked at an advertising agency.
How did you raise the finance?
Neo: We saved capital while working at previous employers. We also had to sacrifice a lot, like cutting down on luxuries but it was definitely worth it.
Mpho: We both had savings of our own, but then started talking business. We opened an account and deposited a certain amount of our salaries in for two years.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Neo: We have a mentor who has been guiding us and supports our vision and teaches from experience so that helps a lot! Furthermore we have the franchisor that provided the relevant training before taking occupation of the business.
Mpho: We were stationed at Sandwich Baron where they taught us everything from the kitchen staff to the counter.
What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
- Opening the store early
- Making sure that the store is clean
- Checking stock levels and all pre orders for the day
- Prepare ingredients and what is needed for the day
- Sending marketing communication electronically to customers
- Making sure that the drivers know where to go and that their vehicles are in good condition.
- When the business opens to the public, I have to over look that the things operate properly from kitchen, and motivate staff to be quick and efficient
- Control the delivery/dispatch area that drivers deliver to and make sure that they use a route that is favourable
- I also handle the front of the shop where I interact with customers, take orders, answer telephone orders
- Once the day is done I do admin, cash up and make sure that all balances
- We then clean and leave the shop in good condition
Mpho: Smiling from 08h00 – 18h00
What challenges have you faced?
Neo: Building relationships with customers that knew the previous owners, growing the business in the area and keeping costs as low as possible without compromising on quality.
Mpho: Some customers have been difficult but we’ve been able to build great relationships with the community within a short timeframe.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Neo: Yes it has. I have to be more responsible in my actions. I’m now an early riser to make sure that everything gets done, and I make sure that I’m a healthier person – a healthy body equals a healthy mind.
Mpho: It definitely has. I am someone’s 27year old boss. I have to make decisions that can improve our business.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Neo: Go for it! Be committed and passionate and success will follow.
Mpho: Choose carefully and dealing with people should be a strong quality.
What are your plans for the future?
Neo: We are planning on investing in another site currently.
Mpho: Buying more franchises until I create my own brand to franchise
Would you do it again?
Neo: In a heart beat