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SA Franchise Brands welcomes Jimmy’s Killer Fish and Chips to share some aspects on being a Franchisee.

What questions should prospective franchisees ask themselves before buying a franchise?

  • What type of business appeals to them and are they prepared to adhere to the rigid policies, procedures and regulations of the franchisor?
  • Is the franchise they intend buying a FASA member?
  • What is the franchisor’s business model and what is the return on investment?
  • Does the franchisor have a Disclosure Document, Franchise Agreement, Operations Manual, Training Manual, Procurement, Marketing, etc.?
  • What are the initial franchise fees and ongoing monthly franchise fees?
  • What are the new stores that are available and in what areas?
  • What are the existing stores that are available and for what reasons do the existing franchisees want to sell?
  • How many stores does the franchisor have and for how long has the franchise been operating?
  • Will the franchisor assist with the setting up of the store?
  • Are there any hidden costs or any extra costs to set up the store and what are these?
  • When, where and for how long is training undertaken and are there any extra costs for training?
  • What training is undertaken?
  • Does the franchisor assist with recruitment of staff?
  • Does the franchisor assist with the opening of the store and for how long?
  • Does the franchisor assist with procurement of all stock items, packaging, cleaning, etc.?
  • Is the initial stock included in the set up costs or is this to be paid separately?
  • What support is given to the franchisees and how often is the support provided?

What made you decide to buy a franchise?

  • To be in business for myself but not by myself.
  • It was too much work to set up my own business which would have been very risky and besides I do not have all the expertise and knowledge in all areas of the business.
  • All the hard work of setting up the store, menu development, marketing, training, procurement, etc. was undertaken and completed by the franchisor.
  • All I had to do was play my part as a franchisee.
  • All the tools, policies and procedures are provided to assist me in my business.

How important is it to investigate a franchise and what criteria did you use?

  • I had to make sure that I would not loose my hard earned money which I had saved up over the years.
  • I had to make sure that I will be able to pay back the loans which I had to take for the business.
  • I had to make sure that this is not a fly by night franchise and hence, I perused the FASA website for more information on the franchise.
  • I checked that the business model is acceptable and that it works and that I will realise a return on my investment.
  • I had to check all the legal requirements and paper work to ensure that everything was in place and that there would not be any problems later on – Franchise Agreement, Disclosure Document, Etc.
  • I had to check if the franchisor would assist me in acquiring or setting up the store at the agreed costs.
  • I had checked if there was training and ongoing support and assistance for the business to be successful.
  • I went to some of the existing stores and made enquiries about the franchise for all the positives and negatives.

What made you buy a Jimmy’s Killer Fish and Chips franchise?

  • All the necessary expertise and knowledge was made available to me and my business.
  • Established brand and a FASA member provided peace of mind.
  • Jimmy’s is a well-recognised and popular brand.
  • Business model that works.
  • Jimmy’s provided an excellent business opportunity with reasonable set up costs and reasonable returns.
  • The upfront joining fees and monthly royalty fees were reasonable.
  • Jimmy’s had a simple yet affordable menu which appeals to all sectors of the population and income groups.
  • Ongoing training and support from franchise support consultants.
  • Regular store inspections, mystery shopper surveys, annual conference, regular meetings, etc.
  • There was an established procurement and supply chain – central distribution.
  • All of the administrative controls were found to very simple, very effective and adequate to manage and control the business both effectively and efficiently.

What early challenges did you face?

  • Raising loans to finance the business.
  • Ensuring that the financial gearing was correct and that I would not have to pay back all monies derived out of the business towards servicing the loans.
  • Adjusting to the business environment as this is a seven day business with long hours and very little or no social life in the beginning.
  • Adjusting to staff members who come from different walks of life and different levels of knowledge and who always come with their own problems.

What training and support does the Franchisor provide you with?

  • Site selection
  • Plans and drawings
  • Project management
  • Staff recruitment, labour requirements, labour relations acts, etc.
  • Financial and operational training
  • Cash and stock controls
  • Hygiene and cleanliness
  • Equipment usage, recipes, cooking techniques, cost saving ideas, etc.
  • Customer service
  • Local store marketing and advertising
  • National Consumer Council and the Customer Protection Act.

How important is the Franchisee’s relationship with the Franchisor?

  • It is very important for me to be in constant contact with the franchisor for the latest developments and to keep abreast of all happenings in the franchise.
  • Seeing that I do not have all the expertise with regards to the business, it is vital that I liaise with the franchisor to seek assistance whenever and where ever it is required for my business to be profitable and successful.
  • A harmonious relationship is always healthy for business as working against the franchisor and not using their experience, knowledge and expertise will be disastrous and it will ruin my business.

What advice would you give to prospective franchisees?

  • To undertake proper due diligence and to scrutinise the franchise of preference thoroughly before joining the franchise and opening a store.
  • Raising finance is difficult and be prepared to be turned away even though you may have sufficient collateral.
  • Show the financial institution that the risk which they will be undertaking will almost equal your risk.
  • Do not expect immediate returns and big profits from day one.
  • Lots of hard work, dedication and passion are required for the business to be successful and profitable.
  • Be prepared to loose your social life in the beginning.
  • Develop good leadership skills and lead by example.
  • Budgeting and planning is vital and do not over spend on unnecessary items.
  • Ensure that all the specified administrative and management controls are exercised and completed as required for the success of the business.
  • Keep proper records – accounting records, staff records, etc.
  • Make good use of the franchisor’s support and assistance.
  • Always be compliant and adhere to the franchisor’s rules, policies and procedures as they know better.
  • Become a vibrant and interactive franchisee as this will assist your business to grow and develop into a very successful and profitable business and it will also help you to promote your very own ideas together with that of the franchisors.

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