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Description: Becoming a Snack-in-the-Box representative means that you will be joining a team of 80+ franchisees across the UK and Ireland; delivering snack products and drinks to small and medium businesses, servicing your own exclusive territory. Opportunities: Opportunities available throughout UK and Ireland. Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Investment: £20,000. Financing Assistance: Yes, from the company. Home-based: Yes. Part-time: Yes.

Snack-In-The-Box A Sweet Dream For London Franchisee

Honesty box paves path to profit for Martin Burke

Six months into becoming a Snack-in-the-box franchisee, 49-year-old Martin Burke is discovering that honesty pays as well for him as it did his predecessor. Buying the business from a former franchisee, Martin had the advantage of seeing the business in operation before making his investment. Today he is a successful Self Service (honesty) Box franchisee operating 150 locations in West London. Here, he talks about his working life, and the benefits of joining up with an established and ethical network operating under a global brand.

Snack in the BoxSays Martin:

I hit a transition point when I was made redundant from my job a year ago. I’d looked into franchising before, and seen a lot of opportunities out there, but none that really offered what I wanted – particularly on the support side. When I looked at the Snack-in-the-box business, the previous franchisee told me that head office support was excellent, and that has certainly turned out to be the case – you’re not forgotten about.

If ever I’ve got a problem, I simply make a phone call. What really impressed me is that Snack-in-the-box head office helps you to find new customers and new sites. This leaves you free to focus on delivering the honesty box service.

I’m not a great salesperson, so it’s useful that I can get somebody to help me. Head office does like you to find customers for yourself, and you get training on how to approach and sell your products to new prospects, but the extra help is a real bonus.

During my induction, I had a day’s training with a canvasser to see how they did the job. The canvassers are professional salespeople who have an answer for just about any objection, so it’s a great learning process going in with them.

As well as this, Snack-in-the-box gives me a review every so often, which helps me to improve my business. Paula, who is the national accounts manager, will come and see me, sit down with me and go through the figures, and we’ll assess where the best performing sites are, then change things if necessary to make the business more profitable. And if you need extra support in the field, Snack-in-the-box arrange for somebody to go out with you.

A helping hand

Overall, I had a full week of training from head office plus a two-week intensive handover in the field so that I knew exactly what I was doing when I started operating.

The week at head office was spent in the workshop area, seeing what was involved in packing up the self-service boxes. Then we went through the process manual, and looked at everything from which chocolate items were the best sellers to the accounting and VAT side of the business. I also spent half-a-day with a franchisee near head office to see how they packed boxes and generally organised and managed their business. That was useful as I had plenty of opportunities to ask questions in preparation for starting out in my London franchise. After the week, I had the handover. The first week of handover was purely observational. And during the second week I did all of the actual work myself – so it was a staged learning process. The great thing is that I started earning money from the second week onwards.

Vending machines versus honesty boxes

I deal with a handful of vending machines, but I like the honesty boxes, because they’re so easy to deal with. The process is simple: you take your pre-packed boxes into your customers’ premises and remove the boxes put in the week before, whether they are half full or completely empty. You then collect and check the money to make sure it matches up with what’s been sold from the box. Sometimes it’s a little bit over, sometimes it’s a little bit under, but you always get your money. If it’s under, you simply leave a note saying that the box was short, and ask if anyone has forgotten to pay.

What’s the best thing about being a Snack-in-the-box franchisee?

I’m my own boss, so I only answer to me. That has to be the main attraction. And if I want to make more money, I work harder and my income increases. If I want to go on holiday, I let the customer know I won’t be in, and I go away. Of course, I’ll leave them another box if they need it, and when I go back, I’ll pick up and replace two boxes instead of one. It’s that simple – and it’s profitable.

After a while, you get a feel for the business, it’s peaks and troughs, and there are quieter times, so it makes sense to coincide any holidays with these. Right after New Years Day, it’s quieter because people have gorged for weeks and are probably sticking to New Year’s resolutions. But that soon starts to wear off, and then they start attacking the boxes again.

Franchisor honesty – best policy for franchisees

Another thing that I like about Snack-in-the-box is that they take you through the business plan and give you a realistic picture of the potential of your business. They tell you about your potential for annual income, break down all of the figures and take all of your overheads and expenses into account.

The good thing is that there’s always room for growth in the business. In theory, I could take on another 150 extra customers and bring an employee on board, and head office would help me work out the projections for the expanded business. There’s great potential, and I’ve never seen any real competition for honesty boxes either. It’s an excellent business opportunity.


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