FRANCHISING: Keep Your Franchise Relevant
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“The Ocean Basket franchise has a proven and sustainable business format which gave me confidence to operate and allow me to build my business into a profitable asset. Paying an initial fee to set up using the brand, coupled with the proven business format and support from the franchisor has been invaluable.” says Juliana Overbeek, owner Ocean Basket Scottburg, KwaZulu Natal.
Customers are becoming increasingly demanding from a service perspective. They work hard for their money and when they visit a restaurant they demand quality, excellent service and value for money. Overbeek explains that “International indicators show that the ‘take away’ concept is more relevant and popular than sit down restaurants. The success and functioning of the restaurant is largely influenced by your market as well as community.”
Franchise concepts eventually evolve with time due to global influence and trends. “While the industry is expanding we find there is an increasing need to keep abreast with the latest trends but at the same time maintain brand presence in the market. Franchises need to ensure that their brand remains consistent and relevant so that customers can still identify the franchise concept,” says Morne Cronje, Head FNB Franchising.
Managing a franchise requires establishing good relationships with the franchisor owners and top management. This encourages franchises to have a good general understanding of the restaurant business. Overbeek adds, “It has become extremely important when dealing with the suppliers and financial institutions. New or existing franchises need to ensure that there is at least 50-60% unencumbered capital available for the initial setup fees and at least 6 months operational capital before engaging in any negotiations.”
“Customer needs and wants have changed. We need to continually upgrade and offer solutions that not only cater for the new customer but also for the existing customer who are brand loyal and often go back due to familiarity of the franchise,” explains Cronje.
In order to remain relevant franchises need to get the competitive edge with knowledge of the area and existing competitors. “Being a successful business translates to hard work just to retain that success. Adopting a successful strategy from your competitors can be successful but direct competition with a rival is not a good idea for a start- up restaurant. Value for money is very important in the current economy and we as restaurant owners must recognise and respect that. Never forget that your customers are the lifeline of any business and it is crucial to keep the satisfied with our products and service,” concludes Overbeek.
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