SA Franchise Brands welcomes Marcel Strauss, Managing Executive of The Fish & Chip Co.
What influence has there been on The Fish & Chip Co. since becoming part of TasteHoldings?
The Taste group offers The Fish & Chip Co. support that is both sustainable and lucrative. Taste Holdings purchased the business from its original owners in November of 2011 when our CEO, Carlo Gonzaga, saw that the addition of The Fish & Chip Co. as a great opportunity to expand the group’s success in the management of franchising subsidiaries in the food market.
The acquisition was a sound business move. Not only did it afford us a considerable foothold in the greater South African market with fish considered the 4th largest fast-food category in the country, but also permitted Taste Holdings greater access to the lower LSM consumer segment. The franchising model has also proven beneficial to entrepreneurs as it also affords more South African entrepreneurs the opportunity of realising their franchising dreams.
What has been paramount to The Fish & Chip Co.’s success since being part of Taste Holdings?
Definitely the value added to customers. As our ethos indicates, we offer meals that are ‘Hot and Alot’ – meaning we offer customers more food for less. By seeing to their needs so effectively, the group has grown exponentially.
Since its inception, over 300 outlets have been established countrywide. In 2012 alone, an impressive 120 stores were opened. The establishment of these stores have also provided for some great advances in alleviating unemployment as it is estimated that about 3,300 employment opportunities have been created to date, with approximately 250 individual franchisees operating The Fish & Chip Co.’s stores. The brand is also leading the way in securing black empowerment amongst food franchising companies in South Africa, with 76,57% of its 303 nationwide stores, being black owned. Further, 16,50% of these franchise owners are black women, demonstrating the black economic empowerment success behind The Fish & Chip Co. business model.
How is the Sisonke initiative progressing?
Phenomenally well. We have been flooded by applications from all over. It is so great to see such a great amount of interest that has really proved promising.
What challenges do you face at present?
The economy in general has been under pressure and disposable income as we all know has
declined this does have an effect on sales and ratios so we all have to work harder and smarter to get customers in to our stores
With more than 300 franchises nationwide, how has your franchise model worked in favour of the group?
I believe the franchise model is a successful means of business that many can master. The workings of the model affords franchisees the opportunity of expanding further and managing multiple stores at once. The model that we offer is quite affordable with low start-up costs, so more people can afford more the one store.
What are some of the attributes required from franchisees?
This person needs to, first and foremost, be business minded and understand what is involved in managing a business successfully.
The following skills are also important:
- Excellent leadership skills
- Experience in managing staff
- Skills in operating under stress
- Experienced in managing finances and stock effectively
- Driven in their goals
- Positive in their outlook
- Realistic in their expectations
- Encouraging to staff
- Passionate about service excellence
- Unafraid of hard work
How would you describe the overall relationship between the group and its franchisees?
Very positive with mutual support and cooperation
What kind of training and support can franchisees expect?
Ongoing training, sharing the principles of best practice. Open and ongoing communication is also crucial in avoiding misunderstandings and allowing franchisees to feel listened to and valued.
Which factors are paramount for sustained future growth within the group with specific reference to its present and future franchisees?
Continued cooperation between both the franchisor and franchisee as well as the franchisee and their own team.The Fish & Chip Co. is first and foremost a business. One that needs to be profitable, support its staff and serve its customers. With low set up costs for stores and valuable operational support, the brand offers potential franchisees with an excellent platform to build a sustainable business, affordably. However affordable it may be though, the business will require unwavering commitment and an owner that understands business. When you sign an agreement with a franchisee, you are essentially entering into a ‘marriage’ and if you are not committed and look to only be the ‘average guy’ you will not make it up the ladder of success.
Where to from here and into the future?
We plan to demonstrate market related growth within the next five years at a rapid rate. With our successful track record of 330 stores that have been opened since 2009, The Fish & Chip Co. is set to grow responsibly and aggressively and will continue to contribute to the economy.