“We came to this country because the pace of life is actually much slower here,” he says. “We're better off in every way since we started our Snack-in-the-Box business. We're less stressed and we see more of each other. Back in Portugal we would often work until seven or eight at night, whereas now my day is from nine until three, and my wife works just two hours a day packing the boxes.”
Starting their honesty box franchise five months ago, Vitor has been so impressed with its returns he is keen to invest in some Snack-in-the-Box vending machines to expand his Northamptonshire based business. Says Vitor: “The box franchise is perfect for us. It’s given us a greater quality of life than we had in Portugal, and we’re working less than half the hours we used to. We could happily carry on with this and take it easy, but I'm quite ambitious. Seeing how profitable this business is – we'll net between £25,000 and £30,000 this year – I now want to take on even more.”
Snack-in-the-Box offers two franchise opportunities at investment levels starting from less than £20,000. Bringing Mars-branded products directly to the workplace, the honesty box franchise is designed for small to medium sized businesses of between 2 and 20 employees, and the compact vending franchise for the larger 25-100 staff market place. The bigger the business, the greater the challenge, although this is not something that concerns Vitor.
“I used to be the Assistant Manager in a bank in Portugal, so I'm used to dealing with both customers and staff,” he says. “Although working for someone else back then, I had the same responsibilities without any of the profits. The skills required to run this franchise are similar to when I worked at the bank, except now I'm the CEO!”
He adds: “What I love about this business is we took an income from day one. The head office canvassing team sourced the first 150 sites for us, then we began to canvass for our own customers and the business has become more and more profitable. Snack-in-the-Box has got it absolutely right in terms of product, service and franchisee support. They've been franchising for 15 years and have fine-tuned a business that clearly works. Buying a franchise is much easier than creating your own brand. And let's face it, no matter how hard we work, we're not going to build a brand bigger than Mars!”