LEROY DAY: DOMINO’S PIZZA

Inside Franchise Business - - Leadership -

Stores: • Coffs Har­bour

• Kempsey

• Light­house Beach

• Port Mac­quarie

• Toormina (Coffs Har­bour) • Wau­chope

• Wodonga “I eat sleep and breath piz­zas, I al­ways have my uni­form on,” says Leroy Day, who has been a pas­sion­ate Domino’s Pizza store owner for more than 13 years.

Grow­ing up in Tam­worth, New South Wales, he had big am­bi­tions by the time he was 20: he had al­ready de­cided that own­ing a Domino’s out­let was the fu­ture. And he had a $10 mil­lion turnover tar­get.

“The first time I saw a profit-and-loss state­ment as a store man­ager, I thought, ‘How do I buy one of these stores?’.”

He had started with Domino’s in 1997 as a part-time de­liv­ery driver, then man­aged a store be­fore mov­ing into a train­ing role in Sydney. It was when he started chat­ting with An­drew Ren­nie (now head of Domino’s Pizza Aus­tralia’s Euro­pean busi­ness) that the busi­ness dream be­came a re­al­ity.

“That con­ver­sa­tion changed my world,” he says. The two in­vested jointly in a Port Mac­quarie store, Day work­ing to save to buy out Ren­nie, which he achieved within two years. There has been no hold­ing him back since.

First there was the sec­ond store he owned him­self in Forster, then he bought and sold out­lets in New­cas­tle. The high point of his port­fo­lio of ac­qui­si­tions was own­ing nine Domino’s stores.

Now he is in a po­si­tion to help younger wannabe fran­chisees ful­fil their dreams, 12 months ago repli­cat­ing the orig­i­nal deal he did with Ren­nie to en­able a staff mem­ber to set up the Wodonga fran­chise as a joint in­vest­ment.

“I’ve been mak­ing piz­zas for 20 years, it gets a bit ho hum, like any job. Watch­ing staff get mar­ried, have kids and buy their own out­lets, that’s deeply sat­is­fy­ing.”

Domino’s pro­vided the per­fect land­scape for Day to grow his busi­ness, he says. “I fig­ured it out re­ally fast, and Domino’s al­ways fos­tered de­vel­op­ment and pro­moted from within.

“At 20 years old I wrote a busi­ness plan to achieve $10 mil­lion and take 10 per cent of the turnover. We cracked $10 mil­lion four years ago. We’re al­most at $15 mil­lion now. I’m su­per-fo­cused on the num­bers. I run daily sales re­ports, and get each store’s weekly P&L.”

But while the fi­nan­cial goal has driven him, he has reached a point where bring­ing on the next gen­er­a­tion is more im­por­tant than a dis­pos­able in­come spent on new toys.

“I can’t flog my­self for ever. The more that you have, the more there is to break.

I’m not scared of hard work.”

Men­tor­ing has pro­vided him with a suc­ces­sion plan, he says. He sees the role of multi-unit fran­chisee as three­fold – man­ager, mo­ti­va­tor and fire­fighter.

“It’s a com­plex busi­ness, what you have to do in a tight-mar­gin busi­ness for it to run smoothly. I never rein­vent the wheel. Fol­low the sys­tem and keep the wheels turn­ing,” he says. “There will al­ways be au­dits and break­downs, you just have to nav­i­gate through.”

To do the role well, Day be­lieves he needs to keep up his own network of sup­port, a group of five peo­ple he speaks to reg­u­larly through­out the week, shar­ing tips and prob­lem solv­ing.

Man­ag­ing a large team of 230 peo­ple means deal­ing with per­sonal is­sues, and he is keen to point out that an un­happy man­ager can­not do a good job. Keep­ing man­agers happy is just part of the job.

“The guys work for me. They like the way I op­er­ate. I have fan­tas­tic ten­ure be­cause we’re fair,” says the 38-year-old fa­ther of three. “I like go­ing to work. I go to work to make money, that’s my mo­ti­va­tion. Domino’s mea­sures ev­ery­thing, and my goal is to al­ways be in the top 10 of ev­ery mea­sure.”

He was pleased to be rated an A-grade op­er­a­tor re­cently. “We won three in­ter­na­tional awards three years in a row.

I’m al­ways try­ing to do the best I can.”

His ad­vice for fran­chise buy­ers? “Buy the most ex­pen­sive store you can af­ford, as you will have more mar­gin for er­ror. You get only one chance to buy your first store - don’t be frag­ile. But the first one is re­ally hard.”

He says fran­chisees have to earn and burn, as there is no such thing as resid­ual in­come.

“I have been dis­cussing what next with my men­tors. Maybe I’ll be another 10 years in Domino’s, maybe buy another two stores if I can part­ner with man­agers. I’ll likely end up with 10 stores,” he says.

Then it will be time to put more money into prop­erty de­vel­op­ment, travel and race cars, he says. “If you want to have what no-one else has, then you need to do what no-one else does.”

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