In another terrific piece written by John Carrol for Multi-Unit Franchisee, I was introduced to Sunita Sagar and her husband Dev, who started their franchise journey in 2007 when they bought an underperforming Denny’s restaurant in Campbell, Calif. They managed to turn the operation around by staffing the restaurant with the right people. In 2008, they went for the opportunity to purchase 3 additional Denny’s restaurants in Fresno. The couple personally managed thoses stores for a few weeks, made some staffing changes, and brought the restaurants back to health within a few months.
In 2009, they began to diversify, buying their first Baja Fresh location. Sunita quickly learned that cross-training managers so they could help each other is an effective way to boost sales. The couple bought 4 additional Baja Fresh stores that year, and built a new Denny’s from scratch. The Sagars eventually entered into an agreement to be the sole developer for Denny’s in Fresno.
In just four short years, the husband and wife team has built a multi-unit franchisee organization with 18 locations and three different concepts, including 5 Jack in the Box units, and between $15 million to $20 million in combined annual revenues. In the next 5 years, the Sagars would like to add 5 to 10 more restaurants to their portfolio.
- “We work 24/7. My phone never gets turned off. Whatever the time or requirements, I always answer my phone. Always.”
- “We clearly lay out our expectations when we’re hiring so there’s no shock. We make sure we are up front with everything and honest with our employees. Everybody has a goal to achieve, bonuses, and annual reviews.”
- “We have very low turnover in management. Top performers can get a bonus. Depending on what level a manager is, they can get an additional store or move into a different position. Because we have three concepts, there are more opportunities to do better with more money.”
- “There’s an ongoing effort to take care of customer service; above all else, listening to the guests and getting feedback. This has always been my business philosophy: to listen to the guest and respond in 24 hours about any concerns.”
- “We funded our restaurants from savings, friends and family, and local community banks (It is easier to work with them). The bank is looking at your portfolio with the project, backtracking on performance. We have not had difficulty getting capital.”