From power tools to baking tins: making a mid-career switch to franchising

Gabby Kelly, General Manager, Bakers Delight

The new financial year is often a time for new beginnings – many are thinking about their finances and considering embarking on a new career that will ensure greater financial stability, particularly in the current unstable job market. For those that are already in franchising, it’s likely that you’re aware of the strengths of franchising that come from accessing a tried and tested business model. For those outside the industry, you might even be thinking about throwing in the towel in your current job, and pursuing something completely different – owning your own business.

If you feel this way, you’re not alone. In the past 12 months, Bakers Delight has noticed an increase in franchisee applicants who are midway through their existing careers and are looking for a stable business opportunity that will see them through until retirement. In response, we commissioned research to allow the organisation to better understand the career motivations of Australian men, especially in the changing and uncertain job market. The survey found that more than half of men aged 30 to 45 were considering a career change.

Concerns about income and having more control over their livelihood were the top two drivers for desiring a career change and 23 per cent of those surveyed indicated they desired to own their own business.

Starting your own business is a decision not to be made lightly, as it requires considerable investment and also requires specific skills. As Australia’s most successful bakery franchise, Bakers Delight is well positioned to answer some of the key questions asked by potential owners considering making a career switch to franchising.

Among our franchisees at Bakers Delight, we can count everything from former tradies to CEO’s. The common thread is their desire for a viable career change that allows them to control their livelihood until retirement.

Assess the shelf life of your current career

The first point to consider is whether you can keep up in your current role, or if you will eventually need to transition into another industry. For some, it might be a question of physical longevity - if you’re working in a trade such as construction, there’s a chance you won’t be likely to keep up the physical work until you’re ready to retire. You might feel burnt out in your current role and desire more flexibility and a lifestyle change. Parents may find that a role they enjoyed in their earlier years is no longer sustainable, due to family commitments. Many workers employed in manufacturing may be feeling concerned about redundancy – in fact, our research revealed that 24 per cent of men employed in blue collar professions were considering a career switch for this reason.

Investing in a franchise – what are the benefits?

This prolonged period of job insecurity has led to a rise in the franchising sector’s growth as more people consider starting their own business under the guidance of an established and reputable franchisor. Established franchisors with a network fostered over many years, can offer proven training systems, property experts and group supply arrangements that look to benefit business owners. A brand with financial clout, established market presence and proven systems is able to offer greater security and better training options than a small network with processes that haven’t yet been ironed out.

Networking and training

A good franchisor will provide forums to enable franchisees to network with likeminded business operators. They will also be transparent, sharing key learnings and knowledge and providing the ability for franchisees to benchmark results. This is an invaluable way to share knowledge and advice with like-minded business owners who are familiar with the same successes and challenges of operating a business.

One of the most important benefits of franchising is the training. Generally all new franchisees undergo a comprehensive franchise training program to ensure they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to run their business, whether it’s a bakery, a juice bar or a personal training business. Training varies from franchise to franchise and can often be a good indicator of the strength of the network. Bakers Delight offers unique training and development programs, all with the aim of providing a future franchisee with not only the practical baking skills, but also the skills to manage their business and staff.

Benefiting from an established brand

New franchisees also stand to benefit from established brand equity – a name and products that customers recognise, trust and love. A franchise is an investment that removes the work of building a brand from scratch, and is a good option for those looking to minimise risk and increase the likelihood of long-term financial success.

What qualities/skills are required?

How do you know if you’ve got exactly what it takes to run a successful franchise? Whether you are a retail store manager, an accountant or a truck driver, franchising offers you the opportunity to make what is often a very daunting career-change with guaranteed training and ongoing support. The lifestyle of a franchisee offers people from all different career paths, the opportunity to utilise their personal skills and expertise to build a business in an area they may not have thought was possible due to the skills required. If you can bring people skills, a good work ethic, and passion for the product or service to the table, then you will be well suited to the life of a franchisee.

Following a period of renewed confidence across the bakery network, Bakers Delight is seeking new franchisees to join the network. Franchisees can become equipped with the tools and training to operate and negotiate the purchase of a bakery within 6-12 months.

Career change case study: Yusuf Omar, Bakers Delight Karingal Hub

A chef by trade, Yusuf worked in restaurants prior to working in the building and landscaping industry. Tired of the inconsistency of his work, and aware that manual labour wasn’t a long-term option, Yusuf and his wife decided to look into buying a franchise.

After researching several franchises, Yusuf decided Bakers Delight offered the best franchising opportunity. As Australia’s leading bakery franchise, Bakers Delight could teach Yusuf the skills to produce a staple product, offering a reliable income, and a healthy work/life balance.

Yusuf started his training at a Melbourne bakery, receiving support from other franchisees in the Bakers Delight network. Following his training, Yusuf purchased the Bakers Delight Karingal Hub franchise located in Frankston, Victoria.

Becoming a Bakers Delight franchisee has provided Yusuf with the flexibility to provide for his family while also being there to pick up his kids from school.

“I enjoy the freedom to do what I want during the day, which means being there for my kids and also going for a surf. As a franchisee and business owner, our family are also able to enjoy holidays when it suits us,” says Yusuf.

Gabby Kelly is a General Manager at Bakers Delight, Australia’s most successful bakery franchise, established in 1980 as a single bakery on Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn, Melbourne. An Australian owned company, Bakers Delight boasts over 700 bakeries employing more than 15,000 people, serving two million regular customers per week throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.