A better brand proposition

Look behind the brand to see if the franchise has substance.

Granite Transformations, the kitchen and bathroom remodelling brand, recently announced plans to further expand its burgeoning franchise operation into a new region – Latin America. It has established a company base in Sao Paulo, Brazil and targets franchise development in Brazil, Mexico and other key markets, expecting to add another 90 franchised showrooms over the next five years.

You may be wondering what relevance this has to would-be investors seeking sound franchise opportunities in the UK. Well, think again. This announcement indicates that Granite Transformations is a dynamic, growth-oriented company of considerable substance. It has a strong track record of franchise growth, and is approaching 100 showrooms in the US, 30 in the UK, more than 40 across Australia and New Zealand, and pilot sites in Canada and South Africa. With annual worldwide sales around £200 million, it is already knocking on the door of the top 50 most profitable franchise organisations. In short, it looks like a sound business and a solid commercial prospect, if you’re interested in a realistic franchise opportunity.

Success set in stone

Granite Transformations’ core product is an agglomerate surface, which is heat, scratch and stain resistant, stronger and more durable than natural stone, and is engineered to fit right over existing worktops and tiles. It adds a dramatic, gorgeous new look to kitchens, bathrooms and more, is fast and easy to install, and is backed by a lifetime material warranty. It’s a great product that meets the home improvement needs of today’s consumers and will continue to do so into the future.

However, that’s not all. Granite Transformations itself is part of a still larger organisation – the Italian-based Trend Group. In addition to producing agglomerate slab made from granite, quartz and recycled glass for the Granite Transformations franchise, Trend manufactures authentic glass mosaics that grace prestigious galleries, public buildings, hotels, commercial developments and domestic residences throughout the world. It has 700 employees and a market presence in more than 50 countries, served by eight commercial offices and five production plants, with an annual capacity of 1.5million square metres of mosaics and a million linear metres of agglomerate. In short, it is big and – introducing a nice human touch – it actively supports the world of contemporary art and is a fervent advocate of sustainability.

Proven business model

Now all this must look quite attractive to a prospective franchise owner looking for a proven business model: a global brand name, a strong product portfolio, a thriving franchise network and a flourishing parent company. What’s more, the Trend Group Chief Executive Officer, Andrea di Guiseppe, is himself a Granite Transformations franchise owner, so has first-hand experience of running a highly successful retail and manufacturing franchise and a vested interest in maintaining and growing the brand. On top of that, the franchisor’s Chief Operating Officer in this country, Danny Hanlon, actually helped pioneer Granite Transformations in Australia, America and the UK, as well as being the first ever Showroom Manager in his native Perth.

Growing palette

What every prospective franchise owner should also look for is a strong research and development programme, to keep the product offering fresh and stay abreast of market trends. Granite Transformations has certainly demonstrated that by expanding its worktop palette from an initial choice of 10 colours, to a current range of more than 60 granite, quartz and recycled glass finishes, and by launching a replacement kitchen door programme that has the potential for doubling franchise owners’ sales.

Moreover, parent group Trend markets upscale mosaic tiles throughout the world, dealing predominantly with architects and interior designers, who demand cutting-edge innovations and design ideas, so keeps its corporate finger on the pulse in order to thrive in this highly competitive sector. That’s a huge plus for Granite Transformations franchise owners, with new products continually filtering through to the franchise network, notably a market-leading range of ‘green’ products. ‘Mosaics on a mattress’, a unique system for installing splashbacks developed by Trend, has also found its way into the Granite Transformations’ product mix, creating still more makeover options. Group resources also made possible the six-figure development of the exclusive iGranite app for iPad tablet computers.

Look to the future

So, when investing in a franchise, peek behind the badge and examine the corporate structure that sustains the brand. Don’t just look at what the franchisor is offering today either; consider what they might be providing in 10, even 20 years’ time. If the signs look positive, then you need the hard work, motivation and skills to match that endeavour and the determination to provide the best ‘customer experience’ you possibly can.

As Granite Transformations says: “We provide the product, the training, the sales techniques, the marketing support and brand messages… you provide the drive to succeed.”

Written by David Gent