Choosing Your Spot

Amy Kirtland followed these three steps to land her perfect location.

Choosing Your Spot

It can’t be stressed enough just how important your location is to making your franchise a success. Your location is going to determine not only whose feet come through your door, but also how many.

But it’s also important to balance your working goals and lifestyle wants with what a location can offer.

Do you want to be going full throttle all day, all week? Or do you want day trade with the ability to take a weekend from time to time?

For Amy Kirtland, Dulcé Café franchisee at Wilgeheuwel Life Hospital, she used three tools to help her identify her needs and find the ideal location to match. Now, she couldn’t be happier.

Know what you want

There is a smorgasbord of franchise opportunities available across a range of sectors, and each brand within a given sector has its own specifications.

Some brands are open seven days a week including public holidays, others service the night trade, some are service oriented, others product.

In food specifically, some serve alcohol, some are sit-down, fast casual or quick service.

Kirtland knew that she wanted a day operator with a big lunch time trade; she didn’t want to be busy on the weekends, and she didn’t want to serve alcohol.

“After some thought I knew that a café concept in a hospital would tick all these boxes, so that’s where I started focusing my search.

“I then did a lot of homework on a number of brands and Dulcé Café was very amicable, helpful and supportive in the initial stages – so I knew they would be able to support me as a franchisee in future.”

Get experienced support


“I am fortunate that my family has been in franchising for many years, so when I was looking for a brand as well as a location, they were able to offer me advice.

“But the Dulcé Café franchisors were really great at understanding my needs and wants and helping me find an existing concern that would meet those requirements as well.

“They were also actively involved in negotiating the lease with the Wilgeheuwel Life Hospital manager, as well as attending my interview with the hospital manager. It’s very important to have your franchisor support your needs in order to find the best match for you,” Kirtland explains.

Analyse the area

Kirtland knew she didn’t want to work long hours and weeks, nor serve alcohol. While Dulcé Café gives franchisees the option to hold a liquor licence, she knew that hospitals have a no-alcohol policy that would be easy to enforce and explain to customers.

She also knew that hospitals are busiest during lunch time on weekdays with doctors and support staff, and that visitors provide a captive market.

“This means that I can arrive at the shop at opening time, 7am, work normal hours, and because I’ve got good staff I’m on location only some weekends, meeting my needs perfectly,” she says.

“This store was also an existing concern, so set-up was already complete and there was an existing customer base – it just needed a little freshening up and it was good to go, just what I wanted.”

In short

By using these three tools and Kirtland as an example before you start your search, you’re going to save yourself a lot of time and effort in narrowing down your brand of choice as well as the location you’re going to set yourself up in.

  • Be sure to identify your needs as a franchisee
  • Narrow down your brand choices to those that can and will support your needs
  • Investigate how your needs are going to impact the kind of location you look for.



Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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