Henrik Jespersen, Leicester West
After spending 30 years in the hotel industry, managing hotels throughout the UK, Henrik Jespersen became dissatisfied with some of the aspects of his career. Being in charge of purchasing for a small group of hotels while managing properties for them in the absence of a manager for the last six years, it wasn’t where Henrik’s passions lay.
That’s when he looked into the fun and dynamic world of franchising. So why did he go down the franchise route?
Henrik says: “For the past 10 years I have found myself progressively chained to a desk, writing reports, compiling budgets & forecasts and not doing the things I enjoy most… looking after people.
For a number of years I have thought about working for myself, by myself, and have looked at a number of franchise opportunities. My main reason for looking at a franchise has always been about branding and a proven business model. Having spent many years with Holiday Inns and McDonald’s during my early career, I understand the value and power of a good brand.”
One of the toughest decisions to make is to decide what business you want to commit to. It can be hard to find a business that shares your values and even harder to connect with them while researching online. This is why Henrik decided to visit a franchise exhibition and put some faces to brands; that’s when he came across Really Awesome Coffee, and thus began his franchise journey.
He says: “Over the past four years I have looked at a number of franchises but never really felt comfortable with the ones I saw. I came across Really Awesome Coffee at the NEC in February and was initially drawn by the Awesome Van. After spending some time talking with Lynne and Kevin, I knew that I could work with this team. Everyone I have encountered within the group seem really genuine and passionate about the brand. The whole process of starting up was open and honest. A real pleasure to work with.”
With his gut feeling telling him that this was a business that he could really be passionate about, Henrik became a franchisee for Really Awesome Coffee in the Leicester West area. Not only do you get to be a part of a well-known brand, but you receive support before, during and continuing the launch. Henrik has found this valuable, even with his many years in the hotel industry.
He says: “Although I have had coffee training within hotels, my barista training with my franchise support manager Laura was still informative and a lot of fun. The assistance given to me during my launch was excellent and really gave my customers a great impression. My follow ups have also been very productive and helped me develop my round.”
His life has well and truly changed since his visit to the franchise exhibition: “I have far less stress, every day passes by so quickly and each stop is like a new beginning. I see my family daily and am happy every day. I’ve also lost a few pounds.”
So what advice would he give to someone looking into franchising?
“The first step is the hardest but if you are in an unhappy place and want to make a change then you should take the leap, but it is very hard work and you need to be ready for that.”