Name: Dean Haynes
Location: Bull Ring, Grand Central, Birmingham
Franchise: Little Dessert Shop Bull Ring, Grand Station
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a franchise business?
I had been an area manager for McDonalds for many years before owning my Little Dessert Shop franchise in the Bull Ring, Grand Station, a major commercial area of Central Birmingham. I have always been an achiever and motivated to accomplish my goals in life. Due to my hospitality management skills and provision of prodigious customer service experience, I fit the criteria of owning a Little Dessert Shop unquestionably.
I visited The British and International Franchise Exhibition in Olympia, London, after meeting with the directors face-to-face, I approved of their proven franchise model.
Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose your industry? And why did you choose your franchise?
I have worked approximately for 22 years of my life working for McDonalds, it was time to set myself a new challenge and I know how franchising works due to my background at McDonalds.
I wanted a new model that was profitable and something that highlighted the market with a menu like no other. Having completed extensive research looking into financials, costs, return on investment, I felt Little Dessert Shop was the ideal choice for me.
I discovered that it was time for me to embark on a journey of pure indulgence. During my experience, I learned that at the Little Dessert Shop, you are in business for yourself but not by yourself.
How did you raise the finance?
I had approximately 30% of capital available to me at the time, the rest was raised by finance with assistance from Little Dessert Shop private financers and banks.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
The team at Little Dessert Shop helped with site selection, lease negotiations and terms, staff recruitment and selection, store design, induction training and support. The store operations, health & safety and food hygiene manual are the core of my success. Every guideline is documented, the area support team is always on hand for day to day support.
What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
Every day is totally different, I meet people from all walks of life, and the store is always a buzz from opening to closing. Desserts are everyone’s favorite from young children to the older generation. But that does not mean it is all fun and games. It is hard work but now that I have the right staff in place, I am looking to open another store. The way the model works is for the franchisee to concentrate on expanding their own business.
What challenges have you faced?
Locating picture-perfect premises was significantly one of the biggest challenges I faced. Although, LDS provided their expertise in the provision retail units through their experienced agents.
The operations side of the kitchen is simple, it is like an assembly of ingredients into a masterpiece of dessert. But the first 3 months was tough learning the right way to make the product in line with the branding as well as leading the staff.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
My daily life is the same, just more challenging; I have a business that my family enjoy being a part of, especially as they love ice cream.
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
Do your research and due diligence, not all franchised business are the right one for you. It is important to get to know whom you are working with and that the business model is as robust as they say. Franchising is like a marriage, once you sign the agreement you are committed to that business.
What are your plans for the future?
Having enjoyed considerable success, I am planning on growing my business with several other outlets opening in the coming months. I believe that this venture is the right one to invest my time and capital as the market is growing and many areas of the UK are unexplored.