The event was broadcasted on 21st April and allowed Mobalpa’s experienced franchise expert to share useful advice about the retail franchising industry.
Although Mobalpa might be considered a new franchise in the UK, the brand’s presence in the country was established in 1979. It was only in the early 2000s that the company decided to tailor their franchise model for the UK. Finally, in 2011 Mobalpa decided to follow the franchise route.
“Our first target in the UK was to open a pilot store. I opened that store in May 2012, I was in that store around 18 months and it’s the only store in the UK to be financed by Mobalpa,” says Kyle Whittle. “We did that because we wanted to prove to potential franchisees that this business model works by tailoring the model to the UK.”
“Mobalpa made a strategic decision. The kitchen market is within the top four in Europe and it’s not yet fully organized, so obviously there was an opportunity there for us to do so. Now we’ve got an overall stronger package that we are still developing. It’s important to make clear that our franchise is not looking for 10 outlets per year. We are looking for 3 or 4 and they have to be the right people.”
But how would Kyle Whittle describe the “right people”?
According to Kyle Whittle, they would have to be dedicated, dynamic and open to learn about a new industry.
“Franchising isn’t for everyone. We feel that a franchisee has got to manage the business and be an example to the team around him, as well as being willing to commit himself to everyday processes for a minimum of 12 to 18 months.”
Mobalpa’s National Business Development Manager for the UK actually believes the best potential franchisees are the ones with no industry experience.
“They actually bring new ideas and a new way of looking into the business and that’s something we want. It’s very healthy for Mobalpa and for the industry. We spend a lot of time with the franchisees providing support because of our global presence. We have 400 stores worldwide, 280 of those in France. We have made our mistakes, of course, and that’s what a franchisor should do. We want people willing to learn, willing to be dynamic and willing to take on something different and work with a company that shares the same values. The values of franchisee and franchisor need to be the same.”
No one knows this better than Kyle Whittle. The latest three franchisees that joined Mobalpa all came out of the industry. “No one had experience in this sector, so we proved that success can exist thanks to the support we provide. A franchisee is not alone. (…) We’re here for the long term. I have a very close relationship with all my franchisees and I believe that if you can connect with them, you can go a long way.”
Trust and support are especially important in the retail business, an industry that does not know the word ‘routine’. Kyle Whittle thinks that “it might be a bit of a cliché, but what we see is that every day is different within a retail environment. We have the day-to-day demands and challenges, as well as consumer demand. Consumer demand significantly changed over the last years. Customers are probably more demanding now, which isn’t a bad thing because it keeps our staff on their toes.”
And that is why a retail franchise can be a great choice. But what sets Mobalpa apart from its competitors? “There’s no franchisee fee, as we are not looking for a short term gain,” but rather “a long relationship for the right reasons.”
“The retail concept within our studios is exclusive to Mobalpa. Also, we offer direct financing, which is split over five years, has a zero percent loan and can be seen as very attractive. Each franchisee will have an exclusive trading area and, lastly, thanks to our UK-based operation that opened in 2012 we have a proven business model.”
Still not sure if Mobalpa is the right franchise opportunity for you? Kyle Whittle can help.
“The best way to do due diligence is to speak to the franchisees. Everybody now chooses to go online and I find that that is the easy way to research, but there’s nothing like speaking to the people that do the job every day. I think that, in terms of job requirements, there’s nothing like finding out ‘what is a day in the life of a Mobalpa franchisee’. We offer our potential franchisees three days in a store free of charge. We give them three days in a store so they can discover how the store operates, what systems are in place, speak to the staff and, ultimately, discover the job. We feel it’s far more informative for the franchisee to see if the fit is right for him or her. And, I have to say, we have been very successful in our selection.”