Franchise Players is Entrepreneur's Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lalit Kainth's journey to becoming a Topper's Pizza franchisee began 17 years ago, when he was working at a restaurant in India. In 2002, Kainth moved to Canada and began working at a pizza company. In 2011, he got a job as a store manager at Topper's Pizza. Now, he's a Topper's franchisee himself. Here's what he's learned.
Name: Lalit Kainth
Franchise owned: Topper’s Pizza in Georgetown, Ontario
How long have you owned a franchise?
I am a relatively new franchisee and have been with the system for a month and a half, but I have been in the Topper’s system for four years as a store manager.
Franchising with Topper’s Pizza offers a successful system with a proven track record. They help with finding a location, lease negotiations, construction, etc. These tasks can be very difficult when trying to start a business on your own.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was working for Topper’s in Oakville as a Store Manager from 2010 to 2015 before I was able to purchase the location. Being in the system previously has helped me know what to expect from business ownership.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I love the Topper’s brand and the pizza in particular. Topper’s is based on family and values, something I keep in high regard.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
It was $170,000 to purchase an existing location, with a $10,000 franchise fee and another $10,000 for inventory and miscellaneous expenses. The total cost for me was $190,000.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Being in the system for the past four years as store manager has been great, as I’ve been able to learn while doing. The corporate office, internet and exploring the neighborhood around the store have been great sources for research.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Financing was bit of an unexpected challenge. It was much more difficult to get funding than I had anticipated, but I am glad everything has worked out.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
A Topper’s franchise is a great business. You really have to believe in the brand you are buying into. The product itself sets us apart from the competition, once you try it you become a Topper’s fan for life. Great service, great product, happy staff, community involvement are the four keys to success in a franchise business.
What’s next for you and your business?
My business should see a 15 to 20 percent increase in 2015. I also have plans to take over another location if the right opportunity arises.