The best hospitality operators are the ones who build a team of competent and capable staff members, ready to take the reins whenever necessary, says Rolld co-founder, Bao Hoang.
“We opened our first store and started serving 800 people in a two hour window very quickly, so we felt that there was a really strong opportunity for us to grow the business further.”
Back in 2012, Bao Hoang, Tin Ly and Ray Esquieres launched Rolld, a Vietnamese food franchise, and despite having very little hospitality experience, the trio was able to ride a wave of rapid growth, now overseeing a network of 39 stores as well as Rolld’s catering service.
“In 2013 we opened 17 stores, which is obviously big growth for any business. It put a lot of challenges and stress through the system, but it also made us learn, and learn quickly. Over the past couple of years we’ve opened another 20 or so stores and that’s really made our system a strong and viable one, which is exciting,” Hoang said.
“We’ve spent a lot of the past couple of years stabilising and developing processes and structures within the business and really looking towards another growth phase over the next two or three years.”
People – the path to profits
Vietnamese food is all about fresh ingredients, so a lot of the Rolld menu, which includes pho, rice paper rolls and banh mi, can’t be prepared at a central kitchen or long before it’s ordered. As such, it is essential, Hoang said, that he and his fellow founders recruit operators who can closely monitor their employees in order to ensure Rolld’s standards of quality and freshness are maintained.
“For us, it’s about continually educating the restaurant operators that the quality of the food is so critical to the long term success of their business. Like in any business, when things are strained or stressful you’re going to take short-cuts. So we need to help them and make sure we focus on what will give that business the best opportunity for long term success.”
The best Rolld operators are the ones that focus most strongly on their staff, ensuring multiple team members can perform core business management functions when they’re not on the premise.
“You need to make sure that you have quality people in your team who can actually run the business as well. I think mum and dad operators probably don’t focus enough on developing others within their business; they focus on trying to do everything themselves and obviously that has a massive advantage, because it reduces your labour costs but if you really want to build a successful business you’ve got to be able to rely on others,” Hoang said.
“I see a lot of restaurants that run very successfully five days a week but they have to close on the other two days because they don’t have anyone else to run it, or they’ll close for three weeks over Christmas because they want to go on a holiday. I think you can circumvent that … if you want to be slightly more successful. Managing and developing a team will give you that.”
In order for Rolld operators to manage their teams effectively, the business founders – like in many franchise operations – have taken control of a lot of the processes that other, independent operators usually dedicate a lot of time to.
“For example, people underestimate the time it take for independent operators to go out and buy things on a daily basis. I speak to a lot of restaurateurs who own individual restaurants and they might spend 10 hours a week buying things. Yeah, you might be saving money but that time can be better spent developing the business and the people within it,” Hoang said.
“So the Rolld stores don’t have massive control over what the costs of the business are. It’s pretty set in regards to what the supply chain looks like and what the costs are. The operators’ biggest skill is in managing their team. If they can manage their team better, they’ll make more money. If they manage their team poorly, they’re not going to make any money. It’s a simple as that.”
At a glance
- Business name: Rolld
- When was the business established? May 2012
- Number of sites? 39 stores around Australia, as of April 2016
- Number of staff members? 450
- Most valuable asset in the business? Our people, who share our core values and beliefs. Not only are they an extension of our family, they are the backbone of the business
- Plans for 2016? To expand our presence in Australia with an aim of reaching a total of 58 stores by the end of the year. Our main focus for expansion is NSW and also internationally.