Five minutes with CIBO’s Sally Nathan

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Retail Zoo is a food retail holding company that grew out of the Boost Juice bars. Inside Franchise Business: Cibo's Sally Nathan takes out Q&A.

It has since added three other food franchise brands – Boost International, Cibo Espresso and Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill.

Here, IFB talks with Sally Nathan of Cibo Espresso, a cafe and coffee shop franchise founded in Adelaide in 2000 that now has more than 20 locations in Australia.

1. What is your personal strength in business?

My role, and that of my team, is to identify the right people to join our franchise networks (Cibo Espresso, Boost Juice and Salsas) both domestically and internationally. Having worked in recruitment and franchising over the past eight years, I pride myself on my ability to identify the people who are right for our business.

2. What have you learned about franchising?

That being a part of a franchise network is like being a part of a big professional family. You may not always agree at times, but you have unconditional support at every turn.

3. What makes an efficient franchise model?

There must be a clear direction for the brand, a focus and a drive that is shared between the franchisor and the franchisees in the network. It is pivotal that the franchisor and each franchisee have a shared vision as to what needs to be achieved.

4. What do franchisees want from their franchisor support team?

People are searching for support and an established brand. As a franchisee, you are paying for this in franchise fees and royalties, so you should make the most of the expertise and systems made available to you.

5. How does a franchisor foster trust in the relationship with a franchisee?

Communication and transparency are key. We invite our franchisees to share feedback, and look to foster open relationships so we can have productive discussions to determine the best way forward for the good of the entire network.

6. What can franchisees do to ensure a good relationship with the franchisor team?

Invest time in getting to know the team at the support centre. The more you understand who is in the team and what they are responsible for, the more you are able to lean on them and gain the most from the relationship.

7. In your experience, what is the most common mistake franchisees make?

Don’t forget to make hay while the sun shines. Then, managing your cashflow effectively. The first few years in business can be tough, and once you see the rewards (profit) come in, think carefully about how you spend or invest this money. Building a solid foundation and reinvesting in your business will often pay off in the long run.

8. What do you look for when interviewing a prospective franchisee?

A passion for the brand and a willingness to learn. When it comes to running the business, we are supported by a fantastic learning and development team that can teach you the rest. However, as the team members say, you cannot teach attitude.

At Cibo Espresso we also look for owner-operators as opposed to an investor, as we have seen that stores run by owner-operators are more consistent.

9. What do you think is the most important quality a franchisee needs?

To be a “frantrepreneur” - finding a balance between being entrepreneurial but working within the guidelines of a franchise network.

Be prepared to listen and learn, but also understand that the business is your responsibility and throw everything into it. You can be provided with the best tools, systems and support, but ultimately it is you who has the biggest impact on the success or failure of your business.

10. What does it take for a franchisee to be a star performer?

Whichever brand you choose to invest in, be sure you have a strong personal alignment with the goals and values of the brand.

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