Going The Multiple Store Route

Dean Pike bought seven Fish & Chip Cos and is doing a roaring trade.

Going The Multiple Store Route

For many franchisees, owning and running a single store can be more than enough to handle. Dean Pike not only thrived, he also decided to open another six.

To be a multi-unit franchisee, you need to be passionate about your business. You also need to expect to shed cash, endure sleepless nights and work 16-hour days. But if you get it right, you’ll reap the rewards.

Here’s Pike’s expert advice doing just that.

Consider your talents and personality

If you’ve set up one successful franchise, the idea of owning five, ten or even 20 may seem appealing. But owning several franchises takes an entirely different set of skills.

Be sure that you are comfortable with delegating important duties to managers. Your role will change to one of oversight, and you will need the talents and skills that MDs of large companies have learnt over time.

“You have to be prepared to work at a pace that is extremely demanding,” says Pike.

“I’ve achieved some level of work-life balance, but it was not easy. I play golf once a week and I make sure I get to spend time with my family every day.”

Be patient

Stepping up to multiple-unit franchising means that things are likely to get worse before they get better. This is a long-term move, so don’t go in expecting to see a quick return on investment.

“There are going to be many ups and downs before you start to witness real growth and profits,” says Pike.

Know thy franchisor

Before you take the leap, make sure that your franchisor has experience with multiple unit franchisees. Find out if they have discounts and tailored offerings such as staff training that
support multiple-store owners.

Economies of scale should play in your favour too. Because most franchisors are in favour of owner-operators, they may not be in favour of someone who wants to build a conglomerate.

“When our franchisor began believing in what I was trying to achieve, the company supported me in every aspect of the business,” says Pike.

“They were helpful with finances and allowed me greater access to resources like their marketing team to help me establish new shops in new areas.”

Build a support structure

“Network with your fellow franchisees so that you can turn to them for advice and support when you need to,” says Pike. Find out what they are doing right and what you may need to work on. Over and above that, use your network to find a mentor — someone you can turn to for guidance and direction.

Develop a strong team

Delegating is not only the most important element of multiple-unit franchising, it’s also the most difficult.

Building a strong team for each store will enable you to create an effective layer of management, without which you cannot focus on your bird’s eye view of operations. Find people who share your passion and who truly love the business. This is a game in which you need to build A-teams.

“Delegation was crucial to me when the expansion was taking place,” says Pike.

“I quickly realised I could not be all things to all people and I focused solely on applying my skill set where it would most benefit the company. No longer was this a one-shop one-man business. I had to adjust my mind-set and put structures in place for accounting, marketing, operations and other aspects of the business. This was a massive growth phase for me. I had to stop relying on myself and start relying on others.“


Monique Verduyn
About the Author
Monique Verdyun is a regular contributor to Franchise Zone. Franchise Zone is published by Entrepreneur Media SA. It offers advice and franchising opportunities in South Africa.

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