Inside Franchise Business



When hospitalit­y profession­al Simon McNeilly opened the doors to his very own lunch bar, he had no idea where it would lead.

Simon spent time working in the Pilbara to raise funds to achieve his dream.

Four years on and the cafe Simon and his wife opened in an industrial area of Melbourne has turned into The Famished Wolf, a full-on burger brand with two outlets and a franchise model ready to grow.

"It just grew and grew. We started to open at night doing delivery through Menulog, had no lights or seats out the front. But people were sitting in the dark outside eating the burgers."

Simon switched his attention to catering for these avid burger fans. He built an outdoor area, added some greenery, astro turf, lighting and got a liquor licence, and the customer base now includes everyone from young families to craft beer aficionado­s.

"Our point of difference as a burger shop is focusing on a wholesome family approach, providing good value for money."

Simon is in no doubt that it's the consistent quality of the food that brings back the customers.

"The first shop really taught me that no matter how good the fit-out and service are, it’s all about the food."

The mission at the burger business is that you will “Never leave famished from The Famished Wolf" says Simon.

A standard Wolf burger with bacon, egg, caramelise­d onion, cheese, lettuce, tomato and Wolf sauce costs $13. Packing a meaty punch, the Dirty Double is $16.

Burgers are freshly pressed in store and all dishes freshly prepared.

"It's great for teenagers, for grandparen­ts. It's a bright store where you can have a beer or a quick snack. We’re not trying to be a hipster store but make it a cool environmen­t for everyone. "

The original converted lunch bar is in Braeside, south east Melbourne; the second store opened in Patterson Lakes two years ago.

The Patterson Lakes outlet exceeded the first store's sales very quickly, and Simon admits the lockdown has been very good for business for both stores.

"Everyone has been looking for takeaway. We've had week on week growth on delivery, high repeat customers. I believe those repeat customers will turn into dine-in customers and remain loyal. It's been an opportunit­y to showcase [the brand] to so many new people."

He has purposeful­ly structured the business to be profitable around the costs of third party delivery. "That’s where the future is, you need to make your business work around it, you have to be the best at it," he says.

Franchisee­s will be owner-operators, setting up shop in their own neighbourh­ood and engaging with local community.

"I want people to make lots of money for themselves, being their own boss, making their own decisions, excited to go to work."

The Famished Wolf franchise model has design plans for stores of 60, 90 and 120sqm but can cater for footprints as small as 45sqm and as large as 150 sqm.

By the end of 2021 the goal is to have at least two to three more outlets across Melbourne.

Are you ready to change the world? An educationa­l franchise that puts practical learning through play at the heart of its program has launched in Australia.

Snapology has been a success in the US and around the world, and now Usman Khan, master franchisor for Australia and New Zealand, hopes to replicate its performanc­e DownUnder.

"We’re looking at the education boom around STEM [science, technology, engineerin­g, maths], a model of education changing around the world," Khan says.

He believes the ever-increasing changes to the job scene make this kind of learning vital as it "prepares kids for the world of tomorrow".

Critical thinking, creativity, teamwork and collaborat­ion are crucial attributes developed by a Snapology program, which can be delivered in schools, at pre-school, or as special events.

The goals are to provide assistance to schools, he says. "Schools are left to themselves to do robotics or engineerin­g and we’ve found with our discussion­s with principals, they have too much on their hands already. The curriculum of play-based learning is a big investment."

And that's where Snapology steps in.

"This is a flexible model. We work with some schools during the day where we substitute the science for a Snapology class. It can also be an after-school activity.

"However it's not limited to schools - we run childcare, vacation programs, some programs for pre-school."

There are also parents nights out, play groups and birthday parties in the mix.

Experience overseas shows that franchisee­s love the flexibilit­y of the program choices.

There's flexibilit­y in the business models available too. A start-up franchise which is a low-cost mobile business can lead to a Mobile Plus option which includes a bricks and mortar space, the Discovery Centre. A new model launched in 2019, in the US and overseas larger territorie­s, is a mobile bus fitted out as a STEM lab.

Right now however Khan is looking for master franchisee­s to take one of five state-based regions and recruit franchisee­s themselves.

"We've mapped out the whole of Australia and are offering sub-master franchises for NSW/ACT, VIC/TAS, SA/ WA, QLD/NT, NZ.

"Our strategy is to go into each region and find partners to develop each region, with targets," explains Khan.

He has opened up a Snapology Discover Centre in Sydney and is mapping curriculum to each region across Australia.

The sub-masters will need to consider three factors when setting franchise costs: the size of the population, the number of schools, and the median income. For example, the for NSW/ACT region with 14-15 territorie­s costs around about $300,000.

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