What makes Quesada such a success story? We asked Quesada franchisees and area developers to explain how they’ve achieved their success.
The success of a franchise starts in the initial planning stage. "We are taking a long-term view and keeping the investment and operating costs down for franchisees," says Tom O’Neill, President of Quesada. "Our philosophy is that profitable franchisees will buy more franchises."
This approach has paid off with the area developers who find qualified franchisees, choose locations, facilitate openings and provide ongoing consulting services.
Tom has a long career in franchising and lease negotiation, and his knowledge and experience is helpful when dealing with landlords and helping franchisees to get the maximum benefits.
Once a restaurant is open, franchisees credit ongoing business success to the product quality.
"People have become more adventurous about food, but are sticking with healthy choices," says Swapan Randhawa, a franchisee in Brockville, Ontario. "They have responded really well to our food. They are amazed by the choices we offer and our fresh made salsa and guacamole."
"Most people expect fast food to be pre-packaged and frozen," says Stephane Charbonneau, area developer for Eastern and Northern Ontario. "This is comfort food cooked in a small kitchen using natural ingredients. The days of unhealthy, grease laden offerings are numbered."
Ongoing support from Quesada’s management team is also a key to success – and unusual in the franchising business. During Grand Opening week, franchisees discover just how supportive Quesada’s management is. As one franchisee said, "Greg Gill (Quesada’s COO) spent five days, from open to close, providing moral support and building our courage to face this influx of customers."
Other franchisees had similar experiences.
"Steve Gill (Quesada founder and CEO) was personally serving soft drinks to customers standing in line during my store’s grand opening," says Jigar Patel, a franchisee in Oakville, Ont. "The area developer was also there to provide support."
"The company was there for me when I took over my location," says Tony Ruberto, a franchisee in Mississauga, Ont., who intends to open more Quesada restaurants in the future. "The training was comprehensive and didn’t end with the preopening phase. The support materials online are really helpful for when I want to train my staff."
"I can attribute my success to the clarity I gained from the Quesada training seminar", says Ketul Patel, Quesada franchisee in Barrie, Ontario. "I realized it was up to me to get out into the community and build my business through a series of small steps."
Ketul understands the importance of getting involved in his community. He has assisted with local charities including fund-raising for a local high school. Not only is he giving back to the community, but he is building a positive reputation for his business and strong relationships with his customers.
"My main focus in the restaurant is customer service. I train my staff to pay attention to regular customers and get to know not only their name but also their favourite burrito. Using each customer’s name is very important. This personal attention brings them back regularly and frequently – often with their families."
Ketul feels it is important not to scrimp on the promotion of his restaurant. It’s an investment that will ultimately pay dividends. "When we opened our second location in Barrie we purchased outdoor signage and a radio campaign announcing our opening. This helped raise our profile with people in the area around the new restaurant. We are receiving new guests in both restaurants as a direct result of this."
With a young brand such as Quesada, Ketul understands the importance of communicating the qualities that make Quesada unique. He will explain to customers how the salsas and guacamole are prepared fresh each day in the restaurant. His staff roasts tomatoes and peppers during the busy lunch period so that customers can see them doing it.
"We are with the right brand at the right time," says Gary Gandhi, co-franchisee with Nick Pandya in Vaughan, Ont., "and as we open more and more stores, the brand will gain broader recognition."
This article contains excerpts from a recent cover story in Canadian Business Franchise Magazine.