Snack-in-the-Box: 'The franchise support has been absolutely great.'

Two Snack-in-the-Box franchisees reveal how they have built their successful snack-vending businesses with the help of the Cadbury brand name.

'Working for myself is incredibly rewarding'

On returning to England after working abroad as a ski instructor, it was Snack-in-the-Box (SITB) that enabled Robert Pritchard to get back on his feet and fulfil his potential. When Robert came back to the UK he found himself working in a range of jobs he disliked:

'It was then I decided to work for myself and in looking for opportunities with the lowest risks I was naturally drawn to franchising.'

Attending a number of exhibitions and regularly reading The Franchise Magazine Robert became familiar with SITB, an opportunity that increasingly appealed to him. 'I've never been the greatest salesman so I wanted a franchise whose product would almost sell itself,' admits Robert. ' I thought to myself: 'everybody likes chocolate', and with the advantage of the instantly familiar Cadbury brand there wouldn't be a hard sell. The franchise suited me down to the ground.'

Robert was encouraged to speak to existing franchisees, which he says helped him gain a better understanding of the work he would be doing. 'There was a good response and everyone was very positive about the franchise,' he recalls. 'As I had never done anything like this before I was also pleased to receive comprehensive training. It was spread over a week and showed me everything I needed to get started.'

Operating in the Warrington area, Robert launched his business in November 2005. With SITB canvassing for his first 150 customers, Robert reports that work came in straight away. 'One of the things I love about the franchise is that I am in complete control over my business,' he reflects. 'After the initial help of finding a customer base, SITB gives you the opportunity to build the business to any level you like. I've found that this is all backed with some genuinely good support. I'm glad to say I haven't had any major problems, but SITB are always there at the end of the phone if you need their help. I certainly feel I've made the right choice with SITB.'

Robert reveals that although running the franchise can be hard work, he finds that it is also enjoyable work. 'I've discovered that working for myself is incredibly rewarding,' he enthuses. 'The more I work, the more I seem to enjoy it.'

'The support has been absolutely great.'

'The initial appeal of SITB was the constant turnover we could expect from the machines,' says Shropshire franchisee Ricky Fairall. 'Of course, a very strong factor was the Cadbury branding - it's such a strong and prominent brand in the marketplace we knew it would only benefit our business.'

As an independent financial advisr with a background in the insurance business, Ricky says he became more and more disillusioned with the industry. 'I wanted to continue working for myself but thought that it would be great if I could work with my wife Anita. She was considering changing her job and so the opportunity arose for us to start a business of our own.'

Carefully considering their options, the couple began looking for business opportunities over a two-year period. For them, most important was financial security. 'We wanted something that would be near to failsafe and this led us to the idea of a vending business,' recalls Ricky. 'We discovered a SITB franchise for sale and knew it was the one for us. We were very impressed and invested in the business in early 2005.'

After a period of training at head office, the couple were taken onsite to work with an existing franchisee. 'This franchise was run by another couple,' Ricky explains. 'SITB gave us the chance to see exactly what the work would be like for us. We thought that this personable approach was wonderful.' By purchasing an established business, Ricky and Anita inherited a number of pre-sited machines. However, Ricky says he was eager to invest in more machines.

'SITB were great in helping us find more sites and are still helping us by advising us on possible sites in our area as and when they appear,' he reveals. 'The support we have received has been absolutely great and SITB have been there every time we needed them. They don't interfere with your business, but they are there if you need them.'

After increasing the business's turnover by 50 per cent in their first year, Ricky and Anita are looking forward to continuing this steady growth. 'My wife and I are very much enjoying our work as well as the opportunity to spend more time with each other,' enthuses Ricky. 'It's worked out very well for us indeed.'