What to expect in the first 90 days of opening a franchise

Luke Baylis, Founder & CEO, SumoSalad

This article appears in the May/June 2014 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand


Opening a franchise is a very exciting time, and can be the start of a very rewarding career as a business owner.

As a franchisee you have many advantages over other new start-up businesses, including a strong brand with a track record of success, assistance with equipment and site development, and access to established and proven standards and training procedures.

While the support of a larger network will definitely help reduce many of the common pressures of starting a new business, it’s still important to make sure you expect challenges and are ready for them. Most, if not all, successful businesses have had  start-up challenges. So, while this teething period may feel difficult at the time, you will look back at it as the most valuable experience you have had as a business owner.

Here are five things to expect in the first 90 days of opening your own franchise.

Expect to be overwhelmed:

There is a lot to consume and learn when opening a franchise, and the initial 90 days will probably feel like information overload. One of the biggest advantages of entering into a franchise is that there is already a set business model that you know has worked. As a result, you are equipped with pages of information, designed to help you make the most of your business. However, while information is important, the most valuable experience you will ever have is on the shop floor. Make sure you spend plenty of time observing staff with customers, and interacting to ensure that the procedure standards you’ve read about are actually realised.

Expect and seek support from the franchisor:

Another advantage of entering into a franchise is the support you are offered (and will most definitely need) in the first few months. Don’t be too proud to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to demand it. It’s part of what you have paid for, so use it!

The people in your business are just as important as you are:

It’s great that you love the business, but your staff need to love it too. Service is what will drive customers back to your store, so expect to dedicate a lot of time in the first few months to making sure staff understand all products, as well as the expectations you have on service. This will be a challenge given all the hats you have to wear as a business owner, but making sure your staff are as motivated as you are will free you up down the track.

A franchise won’t run itself:

It’s funny that many people still look at the franchising model as a license to print money. While owning a franchise with an established reputation helps drive traffic to the business, it can’t guarantee its success. Don’t just rely on customers directed  to you as a result of national marketing, you too should be driving traffic to your business, as well as maintaining food and cleanliness standards that will drive them back. The first few months are a great time to get involved in community events or  develop community based marketing plans that lead people in store. As part of a franchise you should have access to a marketing team employed by head office - ask the experts for advice and tips on how to best engage your local community.

Not all feedback will be positive:

It’s interesting that when a franchise first opens, customers often feel more compelled to share their thoughts on the service and food. For a new franchisee, negative feedback during the start-up phase can be very difficult to hear. While most  comments should be positive over this period, expect some tough feedback in the midst. In fact, embrace it! You are in the learning phase of business, so these comments will only help you improve your offering. Don’t get bitter, get better!

Luke Baylis’ passion for creating a healthy alternative to fast food was sparked during his time as an IT consultant in New York where supersized portions and fried foods are the norm for many people.  Upon his return to Australia, Luke could see  Australians were rapidly heading down the same path and the idea for SumoSalad was born. Realising that ‘fast food’ didn’t have to mean sacrificing healthy eating for convenience, Luke and SumoSalad co-founder, James Miller, conceived of a fast  food outlet that sold made-to-order salads that were nutritious, delicious, fast to prepare and offered value-for-money.

The first store opened in 2003 on Liverpool Street in Sydney’s CBD and was an instant hit. This demand for fresh, healthy fast food saw SumoSalad undergo rapid expansion and stores can now be found in over 80 locations around Australia and in New Zealand, London, Dubai and Singapore.

For further information contact the Business Development Manager:

Phone: 02 9569 7866
Email: franchisee@sumosalad.com