Australian Franchises

Sweet Smell of Success

Written on the 9 November 2017 by Craig Watson

Sweet Smell of Success

After taking on the New Zealand master franchise for an Australian brand, Craig Watson opened his first outlet in Wellington's Westfield Queensgate mall in April 2011. He ordered supplies for the first three months, but ran out after only four weeks. His second store, at the International Airport, was equally successful, though this time he was better prepared for the rush. In his first year, Craig has exceeded budget by a whopping 30 percent. Now, with a third store opening this month, he's looking for franchisees to repeat his success by opening Donut King outlets nationwide.

Donut King started in Australia over 30 years ago and is part of the Retail Food Group, which has 1300 stores throughout Australasia including brands such as Esquires Coffee Houses, Brumby's Bakery and Michel's Patisserie. Donut King is not yet so familiar this side of the Tasman, 'Which means it's a very hot opportunity indeed,' says Craig.

Donut King sells hot, fresh donuts in a mouth-watering variety of flavours and decorations. Their aroma is guaranteed to draw customers from far down the mall, with an accompanying drinks menu including Royal Bean Coffee, iced coffee and mocha, as well as fruit freezes and volcano mega shakes. 'And we don't only sell donuts,' Craig points out. 'We also offer hot dogs, ice creams and cakes it's a very broad menu. Whether you want tea and raisin toast, a savoury hot dog or coffee and a donut, there is something there for every part of the day. All our products are very reliable, strong categories and that broad spread is excellent for sales.'

Well-Proven In New Zealand

Craig has a different perspective on franchising and retail from most, having spent nearly 20 years in senior management roles at Westfield and as head of leasing for AMP. 'I knew the Donut King brand well from Australia and considered it to be robust and sound as a system, yet it was missing from the malls of New Zealand. When the opportunity came up to take on the New Zealand master franchise, I decided to go for it.

'Landlords need to be just as retail-savvy as hard-working operators and 80 percent of my former role was thinking like a retailer. I was very lucky, because in a sense I got a free look at the workings of about 4000 businesses. Whether you are a landlord or an operator, you have to have an instinct for choosing the right outlets in your mall.

'Other people have tried to import donut brands here but not got it right. Every concept needs to be tailored and tweaked for a different culture, however similar those cultures may appear on the surface, so I was determined to take the time to get everything right. It was a year before I opened the first store and I think it's well-proven now.' And with other retailers describing Queensgate as 'a trend-setter', the future for Donut King franchisees looks bright.

Systems Help Maximise Sales

Craig says that the key to success as a Donut King franchisee is attention to detail. 'It is a very well-oiled system that enables you to plan your strategy to overcome the usual fluctuations that retailers experience. Our software means sales can be analysed by 15 minute segments, which has been crucial in the success of our two Wellington stores. The broad menu means that seasonal or climatic fluctuations are usually covered by increases in other categories, and the constant aroma of fresh-baked donuts is a reliable draw at every hour of the day.'

Donut King offers a turnkey operation for between $250,000 and $330,000 depending on location and leasing arrangements   an area where Craig's experience can make all the difference. 'I also believe we have invested more in our training than many other franchises,' says Craig, 'and after the intensive training you'll find it pretty hard to go wrong if you follow the system. And with all RFG's experience behind the brand, you can be absolutely sure of ongoing instant support.'

Reap The Rewards

So what sort of people is Craig looking for as Donut King franchisees? 'I want people who are happy, honest and able to enjoy being with customers,' says Craig. 'Food industry experience is not important, as the training covers everything from baking donuts to marketing. You will need to be able to manage people, though this is a seven day business and each outlet requires a staff of between five to ten, depending on hours and volumes.

'With the existing stores already running near capacity, and the concept proven to work in New Zealand, this franchise is ready to fly. My research shows there's scope for between 40 and 55 outlets, so it really is a case of acting now to reap the rewards of being in at the beginning.

'So wake up and smell the donuts  if you're ready to seize a fresh opportunity while the going is hot, get in touch and find out if Donut King is right for you.

If you are interested in our franchising opportunities please visit our Donut King page on Australian Franchises.

Author:Craig Watson

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