Red Rooster franchisee flying high

By Sarah Stowe | 02 Jan 2020 View comments

Sri Vinayagasundaram is no stranger to owning and operating his own business. Today he is a high-performing Red Rooster franchisee, but this is far from the whole story.

From a pharmaceuticals sales job in Sri Lanka, Sri moved to Australia, took a job as a kitchen hand and studied business and computer networking. His next career was as an Aussie Home Loans mortgage broker and a business banking manager at Westpac.

“I moved to Perth in 1998 as a university student. It was really difficult leaving my family in Sri Lanka as I knew no one here – I had no friends, no family and nobody to support me during the hard times. However, it made me a strong believer in myself,” he reveals.

That’s evident in his entrepreneurial streak. At the same time as the banking career was in full flight, Sri and his wife owned a Muffin Break franchise. He left his banking role and took over from his wife at Muffin Break after 13 years, at the same time running an independent cafe.

“I enjoyed my previous roles in finance, managing high-net-value clients. The experience and training I received has been beneficial for me managing financial matters in my business. However, I wanted to work in a job that was more hands-on.” In time though he was looking to further develop his business, and five years ago he decided on a fresh direction: a Red Rooster franchise. “I haven’t looked back since,” he says.

Becoming a Red Rooster franchisee

Red Rooster was a bigger investment and a longer-term proposition. He chose the iconic chicken brand because it has 10-year options and a strong management structure which encourages multi-store ownership.

Today Sri owns three stores (he recently sold his fourth). “I was looking for ROI. I wanted to consolidate and pay out some debts – it was a personal finance decision.”

He reports the profitability of the units has risen; since taking over the stores he has added double-digit growth.

He measures store success by sales growth and the team’s development – how many of his 76 staff progress to management.

“My focus is to support the plan CEO Nick Keenan has envisioned for the brand through my business, so we can work towards the same goals. I also want to ensure I keep mentoring my managers and other crew, so they can improve their skillset. I’m very much a forward-thinker as I believe everything else will fall into place eventually if you have a plan. And that’s also why I also like people to always be accountable.”

The franchise structure that allows for multi-site operation means he can grow the business but at the speed he wants, when the team is at the right level.

“Success is about developing the team, upskilling managers, working with them to run the store. The team is very crucial to any business. If you don’t have the right attitude and culture it becomes difficult. I changed the culture.”

Franchise growth

Sri has just employed one of his managers as the new general manager for all stores. So now he can see the retirement plan on the horizon. In four or five years, he aims to semi-retire and take time with his family.

“At that time, I know how I can help and influence my kids future. Whatever they want to do, if I don’t have the time for them, I’m not available to help.

“It’s all about time. My success is not money if I can’t save time or give it to others. The reward is money but if you chase money and become greedy you can lose track of it.”

Money is not an investment – what you invest is time, he points out. “If you can be ahead of time, automatically the reward will be there. We’re putting our family and future on the line.”

So what will take him to that four-year goal? Sri will be back buying businesses – he wants to own and operate five stores as a good base for the next structure.

“I have a plan of where I want to be – everyone has a different reason for getting into business. If you don’t know why, it’s a problem.”