A history lesson…
Robin and Billy Stenhouse, owners of fast-growing sandwich shop chain Baguette Express, realised after opening their seventh outlet that they had reached a critical mass and further growth would need a whole new business model.
Instead of running the shops themselves the brothers decided to go down the franchising route and soon found that the new approach suits their company perfectly.
The Stenhouses bought a five-outlet chain, attracted by its simple one-price-for-all-sandwiches approach and its concentration on small towns.
The way forward…
“We knew the concept was good,” says Robin, “and eventually came to the conclusion that franchising was the way forward. We talked to marketing experts who looked at our business and could immediately see the potential for franchising and advised us on how to proceed.”
The perfect growth strategy…
It was immediately clear that Baguette Express was a very strong candidate for franchising. The business was profitable, it had a simple, uncluttered concept with a clearly defined market of small towns with up to 20,000 people. Most importantly, the company already had seven shops, proving that it was a viable and successful operation.
“One of the things Baguette Express has done is invest heavily in a till system which gives them the information to manage the stores remotely. They can look at takings across the stores and see what the trends are, having this kind of information system in place is vital for successful franchising.
Robin says he and Billy are constantly working to refine and improve the business, and in that regard he welcomes the chance to work with the franchisees. “Legend has it that McDonald’s Big Mac was dreamed up by one of the franchisees – we’d be very happy if we could have that kind of success as well.”