Want to Know What it’s Really Like to Own a Franchise?

By Sarah Stowe | 06 Nov 2015 View comments

Whilst on your franchise buying journey, you will come across countless articles, news stories and brochures advising you on why you should buy a franchise. 
 
They will tell you “The top 10 reasons to buy a franchise”, “How to finance your franchise”, and “How to choose your franchise”, which make for great reading. But what people really want to know is how all of that will affect them.
 
Franchisees are the best assets for this.
 
Ask them about their experiences, their successes, fears, and failures. Ask them for the truth.
 
Here we talk to Scott Lee, owner of the Garden City Mad Max franchise in Brisbane.  He says that his franchise journey was born from a desire to escape the rat race that was consuming him, and also out of his love for authentic Mexican food.
 
Scott went from standing in front of a Mad Mex waiting for his order, to standing behind the till in his very own store.
 
Today, almost three years later, Scott says he has learnt a lot, not just about the business, but about himself and is enjoying the financial freedom and lifestyle that comes with owning a Mad Mex franchise.
 
Of his old life Scott says, “I was also doing 80 to 90 hours a week minimum at my previous job, and the prospect of really finding financial freedom within 10-20 years was really not realistic.
 
I had a friend and mentor who ended up buying a food franchise. He bought a fairly poor performing store and ended up turning it around and making a 30% profit increase in 2 years. He seemed to really get a lot out of it and I thought it looked like a really good challenge.”
 
With a Californian and Hawaiian background, Scott says his experience with Mexican food was always high quality, fresh flavours. Not the tex-mex style most people label as Mexican.
 
“There’s a lot of brands out there that do a really poor representation of Mexican food and I thought, if I’m going to go with Mexican food… I better go with the one that I think is really flying the flag the best.
 
There are many other quick service convenience restaurants out there that either have really good food, or they’ve got a funky environment or a good location or friendly staff, but not many of them have all of these together. 
 
Mad Mex has the total package; fun, vibrancy and passion,” he said.
 
When asked about any challenges or adjustments he has had to make, Scott says, “something I’ve really had to adjust to is managing casual and part time young staff. 
 
It’s not just the brand but also the franchisees’ job to have a relationship with each employee and figure out what makes them tick.
 
Being able to converse with them on a personable level makes them more comfortable and trustworthy, and I think they want to work harder for you when they respect you both professionally and personally.
 
“There’s going to be times when you’re not going to be there and you’re going to have to trust people. By hiring the right people, you’ll have a much better chance than being a control freak and needing to be there 100% of the time because if that’s the case, you’ll burn out. 
 
If people (franchisees) are looking for that regular expected workload, then they probably should look elsewhere.”
 
When asked about the amount of hours he puts in at Mad Mex, Scott says, “I definitely work less hours and don’t spend nearly as much time sitting in front of a computer answering emails which was something I always despised. 
 
Being the boss, you can dictate when you work – so if I want to take a particular day off during the week I can do it.”
 
“But” he says- “be realistic about timelines. Some people look at franchising as a cash cow or a way to make a quick buck over a couple of years, but it’s definitely hard work – you’re dealing with different things every day and it definitely keeps you on your toes and mentally stimulated.”
 
As a franchisee, support from the franchisor is something that most people see as a critical need, both in the interim and ongoing, so you should check what support you will be given before you sign any papers.
 
Scott says that Mad Mex understands the importance of the franchise relationship, and that success is treated as a shared responsibility.
 
“My success is their success. From store launch through to local area marketing promotions, and operations coming and visiting us every month and helping us work on profit loss statements – all you have to do is ask with them. They’re very supportive. 
 
Anytime I want I can pick up the phone and call our CEO, and I know that at other franchises, that’s just not the case,” says Scott.
 
“I made a promise to myself that whatever I got into I had to be passionate about it. So it was quite a convenience that the food that I probably like more than anything else, Mexican, also happened to be the fastest growing segment in Australia. So it was a no brainer for me really. 
 
I haven’t regretted it let’s put it that way.” 
 
If like Scott, you are looking to escape the rat race and lead a better lifestyle, then click here to find out more about becoming a Mad Mex franchisee. We promise there will be free burritos waiting for you at the end.