One entrepreneur changed continents to pursue her franchise system’s success here in Canada. Another found his “aha” moment in Venice, Italy. And a third franchisor, although domestic through and through, realized a long time ago that pets are part of the family. So, as different as their systems are, each of these concepts demonstrates that the franchise sector here is as strong and vibrant as any other.
Qozen Yoga and Well-being Studio
Michelle Burton, the founder of Qozen Yoga and Well-being, first launched her well-being studio in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as ORA Well-being Centre, a successful venture which led her to expand her brand globally. The first destination was Canada.
Burton left Dubai, where she’d been for 23 years, and opened Well-being Brands International in June 2018, which manages her holistic brands. She then established Qozen Yoga & Well-being Studio in March 2019, which she describes as a “one-stop-shop for well-being,” in downtown Mississauga, Ontario.
From her head office in Mississauga, Burton says she’s looking at expansion in the Greater Toronto Area, and expects to open new studios in Toronto in 2020 onwards. She’s also pursuing franchising in other provinces.
“We’re very hands-on,” Burton explains. “Just as we came to Canada, we will come to your market and train you on our system.” Qozen, she continues, is not simply a yoga studio, but a well-being centre providing solutions to meet its clients’ needs. “We partner with clients on their spiritual journey from awakening to ascension.”
As well as yoga, Qozen offers one-on-one holistic therapies such as Chakra Diagnosis and Healing, Reiki and about 78 energy healing modalities, guided meditation such as Shamanic Sound Bath Cleansing and Healing, and Manifestation Meditation. IPHM (International Practitioners of Holistic Medicine) accredited holistic training is also offered in many of the holistic modalities, including but not limited to Tarot Reading and Psychic Development.
There are three levels of business training for Qozen franchisees. There’s instruction for those with no business background, a second level for those with some exposure to business, and a third tier for those who have a business background. In addition to the business training, the franchisee training takes 14 days and covers operations, strategy, administration, and much more. The training then shifts to the franchised studio to support franchisees and staff, where they spend up to one week with on-the-job training and practice operations scenarios. Depending on location, the cost of a franchise runs between $200,000 and $400,000, including the franchise fee of $35,000.
As for the values she looks for, Burton says franchisees will need passion, integrity, authenticity, accountability, and reliability. “They’re passionate about life. They’re happy people.” And, she adds, they care about others and demonstrate their personal integrity.
The benefits of investing with Qozen are numerous, says Burton. The system offers three business models, each of them with a different level of return on investment; Qozen is very careful about its brand image; and Burton says Qozen has a clear advantage as a pioneer in the metaphysical and spirituality industry in Canada.
Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go
Venice is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and it was there in La Serenissima, as it’s sometimes called, that Santhosh Reddy and his wife Sanjana discovered another of Italy’s greatest treasures: food.
On an anniversary trip to Europe, the Reddys ate at Dal Moro’s in Venice, in the central and most populated part of the city. “It was amazing,” Reddy says of the food. “We felt that it was the best meal we’d had.”
Returning to Toronto, Reddy looked for pasta as delicious, affordable, and scratch made as that of Dal Moro’s, but couldn’t find it. So in 2017, he sought and signed a master franchise agreement with Dal Moro’s in Italy to bring its fresh pasta-to-go concept here, opening his first store last year that serves authentic Italian fare in a quick service model. Now Dal Moro’s has four locations in the Greater Toronto Area, one a franchise and three corporate locations. That’s now twice as many as Dal Moro’s in Italy, which has one store in Venice and another in Barcelona, Spain.
Reddy’s expansion plans include the Vancouver and Montreal markets, and perhaps that of Calgary, as well as other areas popular with tourists in Canada. A new franchise is also slated to open in Ottawa this fall. The cost of a franchise varies depending on its size: small locations cost about $150,000 and large ones $250,000, and can or will be found in food halls, malls, and storefronts.
Franchisee training takes two weeks, with one week before opening and one week after. Reddy says a background in the food industry isn’t required, but passion is – to provide good food at an affordable price. “We are value for money,” he says. Lunch runs for about $8-$12, and the major customer demographic is the young professional.
About 80 per cent of investors interested in Dal Moro’s are men, says Reddy, and are looking for a new brand and product. Other benefits of investing with Dal Moro’s are the competitive start-up costs, including fees and royalties, and the first-to-market advantage. “The time is right,” he says. “This is an early stage opportunity.”
Global Pet Foods
More than a third of all Canadian households have a pet. According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, 8.3 million cats are kept as pets, and dogs aren’t far behind at 8.2 million. Of course, household pet ownership isn’t limited to cats and dogs, with Canadians also keeping hamsters, rabbits, fish, birds, snakes, lizards and other reptiles, and more. It’s no small wonder, then, that Global Pet Foods has franchises across the country.
Derek Wong, Director of Franchising and Development for Global Pet Foods, says the business began in 1976 with the realization that pets are undeniably part of the family. The company sold its first franchise in Barrie, Ontario in the late 1980s. Now, says Wong, Global Pet Foods has 190 locations from coast to coast, the majority of which are in Ontario. However, he continues, the company is looking at expanding in British Columbia, where four stores are due to open in the first quarter of 2020, and he’s also enthusiastic about infill locations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Global Pet Foods’ initial market were baby boomers, and they remain important as empty nesters, but millennials are becoming the major demographic for the company, says Wong, as they – and the boomers – have come to realize a pet can extend a person’s life, as well as provide companionship.
As for Global Pet Foods investors, Wong explains they tend to skew more towards women, and says that all of them – men and women – should be optimistic and have a “thirst for learning and a passion for pets.” Retail experience and business exposure are assets, he continues, but aren’t required. Training takes place over four weeks at a dedicated store in Brampton, Ontario, where Global Pet Foods has its headquarters, and covers everything from product training to marketing. “We even have a Pet Nutrition Educator on staff, who is directly accessible to our customers,” says Wong.
The cost of a turnkey franchise is about $350,000, with a typical store ranging in size from 2,200 to 2,500 square feet. Strip malls with high visibility and strong anchor tenants that generate heavy traffic are the preferred location for a franchise.
One major benefit of investing with Global Pet Foods is the system’s backing for its franchisees. “We’ve really beefed up our head office in terms of support,” says Wong. Other benefits are many, he continues. The system has a stable franchisor; there’s a sound financial model in place; 190 stores provide significant brand recognition; and Global Pet Foods sells its own private label products, as well as proprietary brands.
By David Chilton-Saggers