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Beefing up my business with Fatburger

The biggest challenge in my first year was staffing, but since then I have built a great team of employees.

The people behind me
I could not have done this without my parents’ financial, moral and emotional support. These days, my dad still comes in quite frequently to help by cleaning the windows, tidying the parking lot and doing general building maintenance, but in general, my parents are not directly involved in the restaurants’ operations.

The franchisor’s support has also been invaluable. I remember when, after I had opened my first location, the price of beef was quite high. I talked to Bill Stegall, the chief operational officer (COO) at our head office, about my concerns. This was in late 2015 and early 2016.

Bill and his team were responsive and worked hard to bring our costs down, including those for restaurant buildouts. As a result, the costs for opening my second location were a lot lower than those for my first!

They’ve made ongoing improvements to inventory sourcing based on feedback from their stores. They’ve lowered the costs of our chicken wings by 16 cents per unit, for example, and they’ve sourced far superior pickles at a reduced price. They won’t sacrifice food quality for a lower cost and that helps align the brand with my personal beliefs.

The corporate support centre is a very good resource for me on a continual basis. They always answer my phone calls and e-mails promptly. They provide technical support for our point-of-sale (POS) system. As time goes on, I have fewer questions to ask them, but it’s nice knowing I have that kind of support behind me.

City limits
I have not planned to open a third Fatburger franchise yet, but the head office has mentioned the idea to me in passing. I do feel three locations would probably be the maximum for Saskatoon. This is not a huge city. You can drive across it in 15 to 20 minutes.

Also, Fatburger is a higher-end product. It’s not trying to be everyone’s everyday meal. We offer a better ambience, environment and selection than our competition does. We’re where you go when you want a treat.

Blake Le Bras is a multi-unit Fatburger Canada franchisee in Saskatoon. For more information, contact him via e-mail at blakejlebras@gmail.com.

Established: 2005

Date of first franchise: 2010
Franchised/corporate units: 52
Investment range: $425,000 – $525,000
Initial franchise fee: $50,000
Website: www.fatburgercanada.com
E-mail: franchise@fatburgercanada.com

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