Natasha Turner & Derek Armstrong – Banjo’s Newest Franchisees
Tash & Derek recently became Banjo’s newest Franchisees upon the opening of their Warana QLD store early December last year.
Originally from Tasmania, the couple saw great potential for a Banjo’s store in the fast growing Sunshine Coast suburb of Warana.
Both have worked in numerous Banjo’s stores over the years developing their managerial skills in both sales and production areas.
They are equally passionate about the Banjo’s brand so they quickly “raised they hands” when the opportunity to have their very own store opened up.
Damien Benson – Banjo’s Franchisee
Damien became a Banjo’s Franchisee upon the opening of the Longford TAS store mid December 2015.
A member of the Banjo’s network for over 15 years, Damien commenced his journey as a cleaner at the Margate store.
He grew within his position at the Margate store and was able to quickly progress to a Sales Assistant, Senior Sales assistant and then onto becoming Assistant Manager.
From there, Damien was given the opportunity to transfer to the Moonah store and become Store Manager upon store opening in 2002.
Throughout his career with Banjo’s, Damien has been able to successfully complete a range of recognised training including his Diploma in Frontline Management. This training has enabled him to develop both personally and professionally, and become a real asset to Banjo’s.
Due to his ongoing achievements as Store Manager and endless positive “can do” attitude towards work, he was selected as the first person to participate in Banjo’s Self Raising Program. The Self Raising Program is an internal training program that assists Banjo’s employees to be a Franchisee with full training and support provided by Banjo’s Resource Centre.
Damien believes the Self Raising Program is an important process and the support and training provided by the Resource Centre is key to becoming a successful Franchisee. “I feel extremely fortunate to have been selected for the program and would recommend it to others if the opportunity is presented to them.” he said.
Relocating from Hobart to reside Longford, Damien believes the town will benefit from a Banjo’s Bakery Café, including the employment opportunities it has presented to the community. At store opening, Damien’s business has created over 20 new jobs, and is extremely excited about his journey as a Franchisee in Longford.
Larry Wraight – Franchisee story
Larry joined the Banjo’s network back in 2002 when he opened the Maroochydore store. Prior to becoming a franchisee, Larry worked extensively in the hospitality industry especially with in the hotels, restaurants and catering sectors making him the perfect candidate as a new franchisee.
In his opinion the key to a successful franchise is believing in yourself, your staff, the products, the brand and most importantly the customers. “You need to dream about it, and have the commitment to do whatever it takes to be successful,” said Larry.
Larry dreamt about it so much, that he has now taken the steps to open his second franchise in Beerwah, Queensland. Beerwah is a small rural town in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, not far from Australia Zoo. The Beerwah Bakery Café will be opened in early 2016.
The Circosta’s – Banjo’s Mildura, Victoria
Cassandra & David Circosta have owned Banjo’s Mildura since 2008 and have thrived on growing the business in their local area. They both have a strong work ethic and huge enthusiasm for their business.
David’s background prior to Banjo’s included time working in the family vineyard as well as a supervisor in a juice manufacturing plant. Managing both the family run property and his full time work meant working long hours and often saw him putting in seven days a week. David has carried his strong work ethic through to Banjo’s and by leading by example he provides motivation to the Banjo’s staff, who see him as
someone who works alongside them and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
Cassandra’s prior work history was with local government in a project and staff management roll. She is focused on achieving outcomes at the ground level. Her strong management background has proven invaluable to the business where she clearly excels at budgeting, evaluating promotions, cultivating staff motivation and managing performance and training – all key areas to ensure the business remains viable and profitable.
“Our greatest achievement to date has been the increase in our catering sales. When we took over the business we were selling approximately 20 platters per month, now we are up to around 300,” says Cassandra.
“We also enjoy developing new marketing ideas and we have school holiday shortbread decorating and hot cross bun community fundraisers. We have put in a lot of effort to develop our customer database. All of these ideas have benefited not only our business, but through our success we have been able to provide feedback to other franchisees who have also tried these ideas.”
“The best thing about owning a Banjo’s franchise is pride – in our product and our staff,” says Cassandra.
“The franchisor’s R&D in relation to products is meticulous. Banjo’s uses great produce – chicken breast fillets, Australian dried fruit, and everything is made fresh daily. We are provided with clear recipes that are easy to follow. The quality of our products is extremely high and we are proud to sell it. In turn our staff are proud of the store and it is reflected in their sales techniques and their relationship with our customers.”
“We continue to grow our business. We are still as excited about the business as we were when we bought it. We believe that we still have many avenues to grow the business, continued growth in our account sales and fundraising opportunities with schools and community groups. The potential is endless – we are only limited by the amount of hours in each day.”
“You will get what you put in” says Cassandra, when asked what advice she would offer prospective franchisees.
“The production side can be learned, with the information given to you by the franchisor you can see how a product should look, what it should cost you and the time it should take you, so you can learn this, also you can employ qualified staff to produce this for you, but you need to manage them.”
“We have found that the two most important roles in the business is staff management and business planning. Without these two tools the business cannot be successful and most importantly you would be working from day to day and not working to a plan – which in our case is to grow the business and make lots of money.”
Banjo’s Lindisfarne, Tasmania
Ben Westwood became a partner in the Lindisfarne store in May 2009. He had previously been working in Banjo’s Salamanca for 8 years as a cook/baker, so was very familiar with the systems and products.
“I was approached by my now business partner, and accepted his offer to become partners in the franchise. While at the time it was more of a case of grasping the opportunity when it arose than actively seeking to purchase a franchise, I was immediately interested as I knew Banjo’s is an easy to run business, I believe in the brand, and they provide you with great support.”
‘My greatest achievement within the franchise would have to be that of turning the performance of the Lindisfarne store around in the short time I have been running it.”
“It’s definitely a fun challenge. The store is located in a small village and you get to know everyone. There is a heap of customer interaction and the team I work with makes me very proud. They are a great bunch and we work hard but have a lot of fun, so it’s one of those jobs you have that you can actually enjoy.”
Ben’s long term plans include being able to expand his interests in the Banjos network by purchasing other stores.
When asked for what advice he would offer a prospective Banjo’s Franchisee, Ben responded with, “If you are not ‘customer focused’ or driven by providing excellent customer service, don’t buy a store. You cannot run a successful Banjo’s franchise from the mixing bowl!”