Don Hill, Kauai Franchisee Success Story
Franchisee name: Don Hill
Franchise name: Kauai
Location of franchise: 12 stores in Durban, owned with Robert Blomfield
1. Why did you go down the franchise route?
Because by partnering with the right Franchisor, offering the best support in areas that I am not strong at, it allowed me the freedom to focus in areas where I could make the strongest positive difference in a business. We leave the marketing and product development to the experts, and rather focus our efforts on the delivery (improved customer experience through staff development) and efficiencies.
2. Why did you choose your franchise?
It’s easy to motivate staff when they are proud of the Brand and what it stands for. Kauai’s values (Family, Kool, Fresh – to name a few) are inspirational. And our products are super tasty and healthy!
3. What did you do before taking up a franchise?
Owned a contract packing business
4. How did you raise the finance?
Begged borrowed and … made a plan. My first store was a smaller version (an Gym version as opposed to the full retail size store) which made it more affordable back then (approx. R500k needed) and I was able to finance it out of my other business (mentioned above).
5. What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Considerable on the job training, from the Health & Safety basics, through to product training, to admin, as well as general Brand standards and company values. Training is comprehensive and on-going. Support is professional and on hand.
6. What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
Visiting stores. Going through mails. Working on themes to boost staff development. We can’t change the sales price, nor the product. Hence, our primary efforts go into aligning staff with that which will boost the customer’s experience, in the most efficient manner. Happy, well trained staff makes for happy customers.
7. What challenges have you faced?
Our biggest challenge is also our biggest opportunity. Most of the staff earns minimum wages. Since we have focussed primarily on building our Kauai culture, we have come to realize that many staff look beyond the mere financial remuneration for reasons for attending work. Major motivators (for staff) appear to be the opportunity to be part of a bigger family that they feel part of, and the ability to grow and learn. In some stores, we have very low staff turnover, which is extremely gratifying. A large percentage of our staff has been with us for many years.
8. Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Yes. It has allowed me to pursue and focus in an area of business that I am passionate about – staff development and systems, and left marketing and product development to the experts.
9. What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Speak to existing Franchisees before you invest in any Franchise. Ask for their challenges too. Don’t think that by investing in a Franchise system, that you are effectively going to have someone else run your business for you. No. At the end of the day, you and your smart efforts will determine the success or failure thereof.
10. What are your plans for the future?
Our plans are to develop smarter training methods, to boost staff performance and hopefully witness improved customer experiences. And to enjoy the success that it hopefully brings, both from a financial and non financial point of view. An example of the latter, is witnessing “the light go on” in the eyes of staff when it suddenly dawns on them that they can become a store manager. Nothing is more gratifying than seeing someone start as a cleaner, and then within a few years, almost running their own business, from ordering stock to managing the complexities of people (both staff and customers) as well as behaving like mini bookkeepers keeping an eye on the efficiencies.
11. Would you do it again?
Yes. Over and over again.