Ca­reer cor­po­rate snaps up ice cream busi­ness and lifts sales by 25 per cent. How did he do it?

Inside Franchise Business - - Contents -

How a cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tive turned fran­chisee has made his mark at Bask­inRob­bins.

Justin Bud­hdeo is a new­bie to the fran­chise sec­tor but a highly ex­pe­ri­enced sales and mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive whose cor­po­rate ca­reer was forged in his home base of In­dia and over 15 years in New Zealand. So what made him take the leap into busi­ness own­er­ship?

“I was pro­moted as brand man­ager across Aus­tralia and New Zealand and moved to Syd­ney, but I didn’t en­joy it. I’m 50+ so it was a chance to look at op­tions. I’ve worked for a lot of big com­pa­nies, and it was some­thing I al­ways wanted to do, see if I could make money for my­self.”

Justin spent 15 months thor­oughly re­search­ing his next step. He in­ves­ti­gated dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries, met busi­ness own­ers and fran­chisors, and af­ter his de­lib­er­a­tions de­cided on the well-known Baskin-Rob­bins fran­chise as the best op­tion.

“I ex­pe­ri­enced the prod­uct, so I knew that I would be happy with what I was sell­ing, that it is a su­pe­rior prod­uct. I went and ex­pe­ri­enced a cou­ple of stores in other places, spoke to old and ex­ist­ing fran­chisees and got their feed­back. Then I had to make my own de­ci­sions – you have to un­der­stand what is rel­e­vant and what is not rel­e­vant.”

It was fun­da­men­tal to Justin that the fran­chisor dis­played hon­esty in the due dili­gence process, and he says he was well in­formed about the fi­nan­cial fig­ures of the cor­po­rate store he de­cided to buy.

“It was a well man­aged store and had good sys­tems in place. I’m not from a busi­ness back­ground so trans­parency of fig­ures I was look­ing at was most im­por­tant. I took them to an ac­coun­tant to have them vet­ted.

“I got legal ad­vice too. Buy­ing a fran­chise is a big step and when you are putting a lot of money into some­thing, you need to do all the home­work that you can.

“I think it’s im­por­tant that the fran­chisor is trans­par­ent – they do what they say they will do, and what’s right for the fran­chisee.”

All the months ded­i­cated to re­search­ing the busi­ness op­por­tu­nity and the seven-day work­ing week op­er­at­ing the store have paid off; not yet 12 months into his busi­ness, Justin can re­port that he has raised turnover by 25 per cent com­pared to the same time last year.

“The cor­po­rate store had all the sys­tems in place but from my point of view, I’ve looked at it from what do I need to do. I need to have stock all the time, main­tain my fast mov­ing flavours, and new flavours – these are the ba­sics.”

Justin has been fas­tid­i­ous about the ros­ter, en­sur­ing the store is man­aged by the right num­ber of team mem­bers at the right time.

“Once you’ve got the ba­sics in, it was then where do I see the in­cre­men­tal gains? I saw them in cakes.”

His strat­egy to bring in two full time cake dec­o­ra­tors and pro­mote the line on In­sta­gram, show­cas­ing ev­ery one of the

120 de­signs, has taken the ice-cream cakes turnover from 3.5 per cent to close to 10 per cent.

He has boosted in­come in other ways too, such as up­selling.

“It’s pretty straight­for­ward, cus­tomers come in to buy an ice cream for $5 or $6 so I think, what can I add? A top­ping for $1 doesn’t cost me $1.”

He has just launched a home de­liv­ery ser­vice us­ing Uber Eats and is pleased with the ini­tial re­sults: a 10 per cent in­crease in turnover and no loss of in­store cus­tom.

Look­ing ahead to his sec­ond year in busi­ness the goal is to open up a sec­ond site, and a third out­let in year three.

And there’s plenty of sup­port when he needs it. “Fran­chisees have a di­rect line to the GM, can call at any time. He’s very ap­proach­able, and the busi­ness is trans­par­ent, the sys­tems are re­ally good.”

Justin has praised the level of de­tail in the op­er­a­tions man­ual and fol­lows it ac­cu­rately.

“Some­times it can be tough but I see why it has to be fol­lowed,” he says.

Con­sis­tency is a by­word for a fran­chise, but it’s not al­ways sus­tained. Justin has made it a cor­ner­stone of his busi­ness.

“I ex­pect ev­ery­one to be thor­oughly pro­fes­sional, and cus­tomers wel­comed in the same way,” he says. “When peo­ple walk into an ice cream store they are al­ready happy and our job is to make them walk out hap­pier.”

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