How this Domino's franchisee cracked a $10m turnover
“I eat sleep and breath pizzas, I always have my uniform on,” says Leroy Day, who has been a passionate Domino’s Pizza store owner for more than 13 years.
Growing up in Tamworth, New South Wales, he had big ambitions by the time he was 20: he had already decided that owning a Domino’s outlet was the future. And he had a $10 million turnover target.
“The first time I saw a profit-and-loss statement as a store manager, I thought, ‘How do I buy one of these stores?’.”
He had started with Domino’s in 1997 as a part-time delivery driver, then managed a store before moving into a training role in Sydney. It was when he started chatting with Andrew Rennie (now head of Domino’s Pizza Australia’s European business) that the business dream became a reality.
“That conversation changed my world,” he says. The two invested jointly in a Port Macquarie store, Day working to save to buy out Rennie, which he achieved within two years. There has been no holding him back since.
First there was the second store he owned himself in Forster, then he bought and sold outlets in Newcastle. The high point of his portfolio of acquisitions was owning nine Domino’s stores.
Now he is in a position to help younger wannabe franchisees fulfil their dreams, 12 months ago replicating the original deal he did with Rennie to enable a staff member to set up the Wodonga franchise as a joint investment.
“I’ve been making pizzas for 20 years, it gets a bit ho hum, like any job. Watching staff get married, have kids and buy their own outlets, that’s deeply satisfying.”
Domino’s provided the perfect landscape for Day to grow his business, he says. “I figured it out really fast, and Domino’s always fostered development and promoted from within.
“At 20 years old I wrote a business plan to achieve $10 million and take 10 per cent of the turnover. We cracked $10 million four years ago. We’re almost at $15 million now. I’m super-focused on the numbers. I run daily sales reports, and get each store’s weekly P&L.”
But while the financial goal has driven him, he has reached a point where bringing on the next generation is more important than a disposable income spent on new toys.
“I can’t flog myself for ever. The more that you have, the more there is to break. I’m not scared of hard work.”
Mentoring has provided him with a succession plan, he says. He sees the role of multi-unit franchisee as threefold – manager, motivator and firefighter.
“It’s a complex business, what you have to do in a tight-margin business for it to run smoothly. I never reinvent the wheel. Follow the system and keep the wheels turning,” he says. “There will always be audits and breakdowns, you just have to navigate through.”
To do the role well, Day believes he needs to keep up his own network of support, a group of five people he speaks to regularly throughout the week, sharing tips and problem solving.
Managing a large team of 230 people means dealing with personal issues, and he is keen to point out that an unhappy manager cannot do a good job. Keeping managers happy is just part of the job.
“The guys work for me. They like the way I operate. I have fantastic tenure because we’re fair,” says the 38-year-old father of three. “I like going to work. I go to work to make money, that’s my motivation. Domino’s measures everything, and my goal is to always be in the top 10 of every measure.”
He was pleased to be rated an A-grade operator recently. “We won three international awards three years in a row. I’m always trying to do the best I can.”
His advice for franchise buyers? “Buy the most expensive store you can afford, as youwill have more margin for error. You get only one chance to buy your first store - don’t be fragile. But the first one is really hard.”
He says franchisees have to earn and burn, as there is no such thing as residual income.
“I have been discussing what next with my mentors. Maybe I’ll be another 10 years in Domino’s, maybe buy another two stores if I can partner with managers. I’ll likely end up with 10 stores,” he says.
Then it will be time to put more money into property development, travel and race cars, he says. “If you want to have what no-one else has, then you need to do what no-one else does.”
Leroy Day's stores:
- Coffs Harbour
- Lighthouse Beach
- Port Macquarie
- Toormina (Coffs Harbour)
You can read more of these Empire Builder stories in the Jan/Feb edition of Inside Franchise Business, out in newsagencies now.