BeTheBoss.ca: What made you consider a franchise?
Xhandre Beukes: I always wanted to be in business for myself. At a very young age I would make chocolates and sell them and started a photo printing business, taking photos, enlarging them and then selling them. I later studied business because I wanted to learn more. My plan was to continue my involvement in business but with new knowledge to do better. In fact I had five businesses that I started after completing my studies! They were in very different industries including managing a furniture business back home in South Africa, an aesthetician practice and salon, and Tupperware, among others. I found that in every case I achieved my goals but could not expand my business further and felt frustrated. I looked at franchises because I believed in the model and felt that I would have the opportunity to create something big while still having the support and guidance throughout the process.
BTB: What advice would you tell others about sourcing and selecting a franchise?
XB:Nothing worthwhile comes out of the sky. It is important to do your homework and research the companies you are considering. If you find out about incidences they have had do not focus on the negative, but instead dig a little deeper to find out how they corrected the problems. Make sure you select a franchise that does not limit your growth. You want to work with a franchisor who will offer you the opportunity to expand your business and help you along the way.
BTB:Why the Lunch Lady Franchise Opportunity?
XB:When I did my research I found that the Lunch Lady offered a good foundation and provided many options to expand the business. They really encourage you to find new customers and support and help you. I was looking for a team that I could rely on if I needed to speak to someone or bounce off my ideas. It was great that the Lunch Lady offered hours that worked around my personal schedule. I have two boys, 5 and 8 years old. My most important job is being a mom and the Lunch Lady franchise allowed me to do this job!
BTB:What makes you a good Lunch Lady franchisee?
XB:I think it is very important to be the example you want to be in others. I believe I understand what it takes to grow the business but at the same time taking care and ownership while I expand and making sure I am operating responsibly. I always try my best not to get buried in the details and never lose sight of the big picture.
BTB:How do you see yourself growing the the Lunch Lady business?
XB:I started serving hot lunches to schools then added a daycare on the side. I then decided to cater extra-curricular school events and added a few more daycares. I am now very active with schools, daycares and snack programs. I have started modifying my menus to serve workplaces and would like to include corporate lunches and after hour functions, nursing homes, summer camps and even birthday parties. It will take time to organize before I can market all these programs but I am looking forward to the challenge!
BTB:If you could turn back time, is there anything you would have done differently as a Lunch Lady franchisee?
XB:Everything that I have done in the past has made me do things now to my advantage. Hard times to pay the bills only made me work harder. I now focus on what is important and before I juggled too many things at the same time. It has always been important for me to know everything that is going on in my business. I understand what it takes to sweep the floors and why a certain broom may need replacing! I would like to say I now know everything about my business…but I do look forward to learning more!