Recipe For Success
"Becoming a Pizza Hut franchisee, coupled with drive and commitment, is a recipe for success,"says franchisee JJ O'Hara.
Originally from Malahide in County Dublin, O'Hara arrived in his adopted home town of Glasgow in 1995 with little more than £600 and a burning ambition to run his own business. In 2002, he set up his first Pizza Hut franchise and four years later, he runs one of the most profitable Pizza Huts businesses in the UK, has established himself as a successful businessman and is seeking to increase the number of his Pizza Hut stores.
This has been made possible, he says, by the close working relationship that he has as a franchisee with Pizza Hut (UK). He was initially attracted to the company because it offered a recognised brand coupled with established operations and procedures that he knew worked well, and because Pizza Hut could provide him with a level of support that he says would be hard to find as an independent.
'I became a franchisee in June 2002, not long after Pizza Hut had begun franchising its Home Delivery in the UK,' says O'Hara. 'I knew that the company was the largest and most recognised pizza brand in the world, so it made perfect sense to work with them. Once my application to be a franchisee had been accepted, Pizza Hut provided me with a firm foundation on which to build my business and it continues to work with me in a way that brings success and growth. It's a great relationship.'
This partnership with Pizza Hut was timely for both parties. Having begun their franchising programme in 2001, Pizza Hut was looking for franchisees in Scotland just when O'Hara applied. After a rigorous two-month application process involving five interviews, he became Pizza Hut's first approved franchisee in Scotland. Pizza Hut provided considerable support in terms of finding an appropriate site and developing O'Hara's business plan. Working with Pizza Hut meant that he was able to secure a loan from the bank and lease his first outlet, and the company gave him legal advice and help with fitting out the building.
These kinds of benefits are ongoing, according to O'Hara. As an established franchisee, Pizza Hut continues to help him with finding new sites, team training and marketing and business development. 'Working with Pizza Hut allows me to build my business under a successful brand name and use the company's established operations and procedures to maximise my business performance,' he says. Nevertheless, there is still room for him to make his own mark on the Pizza Hut template. He continues:
'Although you're buying an established brand you are not buying an established team. There's a challenge in training and developing this team to produce the best product and service available and to reap the rewards of growth and repeat business. If you've got the commitment, being a Pizza Hut franchisee is a great opportunity to earn a great return.'