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Northern chicken franchisee gears her business plan towards developing a training center

CompanyDixie Lee Chicken
Industry:Accommodation and Food Services
City:Orphir, Ontario
Amounts: various  Find what funding programs you qualify for

Template for business plans helps company to use business plan for more than one operation

It's not usual practice for a sub-franchisor to prepare a business plan on behalf of an individual store. But at times it can be a winning strategy. The business plan Maria Struik received from the Centre for Business Plan Development can be used as a template for business plans of other franchise locations she oversees.

Overseeing the work of franchisees

As the Northern Ontario area sub-franchisor for Dixie Lee Chicken, Maria Struik is responsible for a string of franchises of the popular fried chicken restaurant – in an area stretching from the top of the Greater Toronto Area to the Manitoba border. From her office in Orphir, near Sault Ste. Marie, she oversees the work of her franchisees and – when the need arises – she actually has to take over operations.

The business of leasing franchises

"Our main criteria for a store is that we have a good location, reasonable rent, and that we're actually willing to head lease," she says. That means that Struik's company holds the lease on the Dixie Lee premises and sub-leases it to the franchisee. "There's basically a risk, but if we as a company are unwilling to do so, then we shouldn't ask franchisees to do so." This means that if a franchisee decides to give up the business, Struik still has the lease. "Based on that, off and on we will have a corporate store for some time," she says. "Quite often we take the opportunity to renovate the store, bring it back up to standards and resell it. It's not necessarily a great profit, but it's more to have the store back into the newest and the latest."

Providing a template for business plans for other locations

So when the owners of the franchise in Meaford, Ontario decided, due to family circumstances and other obligations, to get out of the business, Struik took over the store. "And since I started paying rent when I took over, I started doing the sales," she says. "At first, I wasn't really thinking of staying in that location, but as things developed, the whole mall got sold, and the owner has big plans for the mall, so hopefully we'll be in a desirable location. So I think I'm going to invest in renovations now." That's when she decided to commission a professionally prepared business plan for the Meaford location. It would be the tool she'd use to seek funding for the renovation, and it could also provide the basic template for business plans for other locations.

Business plans are key for venturing into the financial field

"I got to know about the Centre for Business Plan Development, and I think they're doing a fabulous job for folks like myself, because I think a business plan is key to anyone, shall we say, venturing into the financial field. And having a professional do something like that is important," says Struik.

Building a training centre for customer service employees

Meanwhile, she's also building up her head office with the express aim of improving customer service at all Dixie Lee restaurants in her franchise area. She has a property in Orphir where she's developing a restaurant training centre. "I find in our business, probably in most businesses, we just don't how to really provide service," she says. "I'll have a place that I can send people from the whole area – they can come on down for two weeks, and we'll have them trained in excellent customer service."

Advice for future entrepreneurs

She advises business owners to focus on an effective business plan. "That gets you lenders. And quite often we can't express it. We all have great ideas, but we can't formulate it and put it on paper – it's hard for most of us," says Struik. "And to have someone do that part for us, I think it just makes us say, 'Yes, yes, that's what I want… this is great!' The folks at the Centre for Business Plan Development work so nicely with you. Nina was just great. She did quite a lengthy interview, and I was describing everything, and I couldn't believe it was there when I read the business plan. It was great."

Imagine how a professionally prepared business plan could help grow your business. For a free consultation, call 1-800-481-8434.

Please note our Centre is not affiliated to programs profiled in the above article and no claim is made that funding is due to our Centre unless stated.

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