Tag Archives: alcohol

Five Lessons I Learned Going From Franchisee to Restaurateur

By Wally Mostafa

As part-owner of middle eastern-fusion restaurant BEKYA, my prior experience of owning four Subway franchises has been enormously helpful towards the early years of setting up a restaurant of my own.

So, here are my top tips for others looking to make the big move…

  1. Franchising teaches you how to divide up your budget

With Subway, it’s all there in the manuals and the training provided—what percentage of operating costs should go on staffing, rent, produce and other costs, and even how to turn over a reasonable profit. Having worked in the hospitality field through Subway for so long, it’s taught me what proportion of my costs should go into each area of the budget to maximise profit.

That said, with a popular franchise like Subway, location is key, as people come to you because you’re located in a convenient spot. With a restaurant, you become the destination, so the rent represents a lower percentage of total costs, wages, and training; the things that make for a great customer experience from the food to the treatment they receive, are of a higher percentage.

  1. Staffing your restaurant at the optimal level is a big part of your success

Staffing is a huge element of getting a restaurant right.  You need enough employees back-of-house creating wonderful food, and you need the right number front-of-house ensuring a great customer experience. Getting it wrong means blowing out costs, and damaging your reputation. My years with Subway have taught me how to get that balance right.

  1. Customer experience is key to fine dining—they aren’t just looking for a well-priced sandwich close to work.

In a Subway store, people come in for a quick and easy sandwich. One bad experience won’t necessarily cause a great deal of damage to your profit, but it always pays to strive for excellence. You also have some leeway when you get started, as people are ‘kinder’ to mistakes at that end of the hospitality industry. But with a restaurant, it can be one strike and you’re out. With social media, all it takes is one bad review and your restaurant sees a dip in sales. This means you need to hit it right out of the park to start with and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in damage control, trying to earn back a good reputation.

Wally_Mostafa_Bekya_Sydney_Restaurants_Cafes

 

  1. As a franchisee, a lot of the operation is made easy for you, and when you go out on your own, you need to learn new skills

With a franchise, you’ve got pre-existing supply chains and buying power when it comes to ingredients and other materials—from uniforms to cutlery and packaging. You’ve also got support on tap if anything goes wrong. If, for example, a machine breaks down, you simply call head office and it’s dealt with quickly from there. Since opening BEKYA, I’ve had to build my own network of suppliers, negotiate the best price for the best produce, and stay up to speed with pricing. Likewise, if machinery breaks down, I have contracts with the equipment suppliers, but it’s not quite as seamlessly sorted out, and definitely not as quick

5: Being a franchisee gave me the flexibility to open on my own

Owning a franchise like Subway usually provides a stable income, and that’s the appeal for a lot of owners. A Franchise system gave me the flexibility in my personal life to get set up and ready to go out on my own. It’s also taught me many of the skills I use now and it’s provided something of a blueprint to what I need to be doing to turn a profit.

Obviously, there are differences between a restaurant like BEKYA and a chain sandwich bar like Subway, but there are also many basics that stay the same, and without my experiences there, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Related Article:

From Subway to Bekya

 

Licensed To Serve

Licensed pubs clubs small bars

Starting up a new business is a monumental undertaking. Working out which licences you need to open the doors and what you’ve got to do to stay on top is tedious but critical. Use this food and beverage licence checklist to make sure you’re all geared up to get serving.

What type of licence is needed?

The first thing you need to do is to work out what type of licence you want to apply for. If you are serving alcohol, licences vary across restaurants, hotels, general bars, small bars, packaged liquor (like a bottle shop or online sales) and nightclubs—to name a few. But there’s also limited licences for single functions or special events. Doing your research well in advance will help you pinpoint exactly which one will cover you across the board.

There are also times when a liquor licence is not required, such as the exemption for a non-profit organisation. In some cases, bed and breakfast businesses may also be exempt.

Where to start?

Each licence comes with its own limitations, requirements and applied laws that vary from state to state.

Checking the Australian Business Licence and Information Service is a good first step. This website is part of the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science, and can give advice on what government licences or registrations apply to your proposed business. It’s also a great indication of the state, territory, local and Australian government-imposed laws relevant to your business. To put it all into place, this guide also gives you access to the various forms and resources required.

Don’t make it hard on yourself.  Talk to similar businesses in your area as well, and even discuss licences with your suppliers.

What you need to know to run a licensed venue

 

Undertake licensee training

Some states expect all licensee applicants to undertake training before a licence will be considered. Training covers the legislative environment for liquor licensees, understanding your licence and best practice. For example, if you are in Victoria, all individuals, partners and at least one director, must undertake Licensees’ First Step Course. To find out more about this step, details about Queensland’s mandatory Responsible Management of Licensed Venues training can be found here.

Check with your local government

While the relevant authorities regulate location, local governments often have an input. It’s worth checking with the relevant body or council to see if there is a particular party in control of the licences you need.

Consult with your local community

As a potential licence holder, it is your responsibility to talk to local community members about any concerns people have with your application and proposed plans. This particularly applies to liquor licensing, but it’s a good rule of thumb for any application. Community support will make obtaining a licence an easier process if you can acknowledge and mitigate any potential issues or impact on the local community.

Prepare a Community Impact Statement (CIS)

Many state authorities require the submission of a CIS with a licensing application. Authorities will consider the general well-being of the greater community and the social impact of approval of a license in that location. Aspects considered include the type of licensed premises applied for, its scale, size, layout and capacity, the trading hours proposed, and its location.  

If there are any specific measures you are planning on undertaking to reduce potential social issues, such as a Security Management Plan, this is the place to point that out.

Train all staff

When it comes to liquor licensing, ensure staff are familiar with the Act and laws relevant to the service of alcohol in that state, including when they can serve alcohol, to whom and if food must also be consumed. Since it is a crime in most states now to serve alcohol to intoxicated people, it is imperative staff are trained in strategies to overcome this issue.

Keep your licence handy

Once any licence has been granted, make sure it is always on hand for immediate inspection by the relevant agency. There is nothing worse than scrambling for paperwork in the middle of service, when you could just point to the certificate on your storeroom wall.  

Stay on top of changing laws

Finally, once you are licensed to serve, make sure you stay that way.  Follow regulations and remember that laws are often reviewed— keep up to date with training and regularly check your local state licensing authority’s website.

About the Author

Lana de Kort is a published author and business writer with over 20 years experience working with industry, commerce and community.  In 2014 she co-founded a network of over 21 writers across Australia.