Dinesh Patel, Baskin Robbins
"One scoop of Baskin-Robbins ice cream, while on a family holiday to America, was all it took to awaken my entrepreneurial side. It was the best ice cream I had ever had - and with over 31 varieties to choose from there was something for everyone so I could see it being a success. I was impressed with the modern branding and loved the ice cream shop concept so when we got home, my wife Divya and I decided to research the franchise opportunity in more detail.
"We found an existing shop in North West London and took it over in 1999. Since then, we have steadily built up the business and we are aiming to increase our annual turnover by 10 per cent this year.
"Baskin-Robbins is a five star company and I would definitely recommend the franchise to anyone thinking about becoming their own boss because the ongoing training, support and product development are excellent. Before we took over the franchise, Divya and I completed extensive training courses, as neither of us had any experience of working in the food and drink industry. We gained our certificates in health and hygiene before learning how to manage and operate the business effectively and if we ever need any help, support is only a phone call away.
"At the moment we just sell hard scoop ice cream in our shop, however Baskin-Robbins have developed a soft serve version, which retails at a lower price point and has already proven popular with customers in other branches so we are looking to purchase a soft ice cream machine later this year."