Bakery franchise Bakers Delight is ramping up its recruitment drive, expecting to sign up 100 new franchisees by the end of the financial year, despite the gloomy outlook for retail franchises.
Bakers Delight, established in Melbourne more than 30 years ago, has more than 700 bakeries across Australia, New Zealand and Canada. About 95% of its Australian bakeries are franchised.
The company, which holds a 14% share of Australia’s bread market, welcomed 35 new franchisees in the six months to June 30, 2011. Its target is 100 by the end of the financial year.
That growth is a significant increase on the 70 franchisees the company signed up in the 2010 financial year.
“In FY11, we took on 50% more franchisees than in previous years. In FY12, we’ve already exceeded expectations,” co-founder and chief executive Lesley Gillespie said in a statement.
Bakers Delight expects global revenue of $587 million in the 2012 financial year, after bringing in $571 million in 2011.
Gillespie attributed the company’s success to consumer demand for fresh bread and a unique service offering, saying the staple product “continues to stack up despite retail pressures”.
Gillespie was also quick to point out the support structure for franchisees, including training and ongoing one-on-one operations support in addition to tried-and-tested systems and procedures.
As a result, Gillespie is confident about the long-term sustainability of the Bakers Delight brand, suggesting the company’s franchisees have a secure future.
“Our intent is to be around for another 31 years. I am confident that our proven business model and continued expansion will enable us to achieve that,” she said.
Gabby Kelly, Bakers Delight general manager for company growth, says the company is not targeting any specific regions or markets to increase its franchise footprint, instead pursuing an organic growth strategy.
“We are experiencing good growth across the board. In terms of the country, there isn’t one area that is significantly attracting more growth than anywhere else… We’re seeing a lift across the board,” Kelly says.
According to Kelly, the number of internal and external franchisee recruitments is fairly even.
However, the number of internal recruitments appears to be increasing as company employees become exposed to the success of the network’s franchisees.
And while the company has made no secret of the fact that it views Generation Y as an attractive talent pool, Kelly says each prospective franchisee is assessed on their individual merit.
Kelly says while younger franchisees are encouraged to make enquiries, Bakers Delight realises there are plenty of older people also looking to become a franchisee, albeit for different reasons.
“I certainly think there’s a lot of people out there looking for security and perhaps have become a little bit jaded,” she says.
“They’ve worked hard and they get to a point where they think, ‘Why aren’t I doing this for me? I’m doing all the hours and putting in all the work but I’m not actually reaping the benefits’.”
“We’re looking for people that are going to fit our organisation, and that’s really more behavioural than ‘You must have this degree’ or have worked in this particular field for 20 years.”
“When people are assessing a business model, it’s important they find what’s going to suit them, their lifestyle and their expected return on investment.”