Going from one store to two

So here is my story, I have had one store for just over 2 years now. My current location, a DelCo does pretty well, about $9000 a week. I know I would like to open another store, I just don’t know when the right time to make the move is, Or if I’m ready. I spend about 50 hours a week at my store right now and cant really see myself not being there. How do I make the move to feel confident in a decision to expand. What was the biggest things that helped you go from one store to two stores? Thank you.


I think the first priority for you is to train someone to replace you. There’s no way you can leave to go to another store if you don’t have someone to run the first. Develop a training program complete with monthly evaluations if you haven’t done so already. Don’t lock in on one person to replace you because I can tell you with certainty that there’s a very good chance the person you selected in the beginning is not the one that’s going to do it.

As you can see, training is a huge priority in the success of any business, let alone an expanding one. One surefire way to know you’re ready is to go on vacation for a week or two. You don’t have to actually go anywhere, but get out the store and let your protegee` run the place without you. When you get back you can evaluate the performance of the store and help him/her make adjustments with things that could’ve been done better.

As you start your focus on store #2, slowly but surely cut your hours in the first store until you’re not on the schedule anymore. Make sure you hold a crew meeting announcing the new manager along with your plans for expansion.

Hope this helps. -J_r0kk

We made our move in December. Boy did we THINK we were ready.
We trained a manager for 8 months to handle all store operations. Does pretty good, but it is not like you would think. You are still the one that will get the calls about this or that, while dealing with this or that at your new location.

My advice to you is-

  1. Bank enough money to carry you for at least 4-6 months. (Never can have too much.)

  2. While saving this money focus on procedures. The point seems simple enough but realizing the 2nd store is a duplication of the first is not as easy as it seems. You should have every single solitary procedure, decision, question or answer figured out, written out and placed somewhere both stores can refer to.

  3. Realize bills and payroll, store maintance, advertising, ordering will double. We really didn’t realize how much time was needed to take care of the paperwork end.

  4. Train two people to become managers. Refer to the manual you have already created in step two to train them. Any question or issue which arises during this process add to the manual. While training always refer them and yourself to the manual.

  5. Clearly identify who and what positions handle what. Stuff as stupid as air filters and light bulbs. Who will handle it when you aren’t there. We have found assigning every detail to someone saves us much headache.

  6. Once you think you are close, get a calendar and for the next 6 months lay out exactly what marketing you plan on doing. Have the coupons and menus etc. laid out and printed.

We spent about 10 months preparing and truly thought we were ready. We have been open 5 months now and still feel like we are running a rat race. Everything doubles (except the money) The bills, the problems, the headache. It has been worth it but we truly had no idea how consumed our lives would be.

Our biggest mistake was not realizing the duplication process. When one small detail of an easy task needs to be changed the whole procedure needs to change so everyone is on the same page.

I think when you find yourself not really needed at location 1 you are ready to make the move. 50 hours will turn into 100 and take me seriously things won’t just magically happen.

Good luck to ya.

When you can call up your store, tell the G.M. you’re leaving town for two weeks and have the operations run just as well (if not better) than if you were there… then you’re ready to open a 2nd location.

Now that statement might seem a bit over-the-top. But seriously, if you’re still an integral part of the day-to-day operations of your store you’re not ready for a 2nd location.

If you’ve got a G.M. in place and you’re just doing shift management (and are training someone to replace you), then you might be in the ‘ready’ position. Your new baby is going to need all your TLC… be prepared to send the older child off to boarding school!

The single most important thing that you can do is learn to delegate responsibilities. Your managers should now be able to take over your previous responsibilities with out a problem. At first when I opened my second shop I was getting called all of the time from my employees when ever there was a question or problem. It seemed at the time like I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything with out my phone constantly ringing. I ended that really quick. You need to set up a chain of command. If the employees have a problem they need to go to their manager for help. If the manager can’t handle it and has a problem then he or she then comes to you. 90% of the time my managers can handle most situations. You need to make sure that your managers are very well trained. Make sure you have a written handbook for your managers that covers their responsibilities and procedures for every aspect of your business. If they are confused about something, they can turn to their handbook for the answer. You need a system that’s easy to follow for every thing that’s done in your business (ie. inventory, how to order, scheduling, cleaning, prep, dough making, portion control, end of shift report, money management etc.) Also, when I opened my second shop I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. With my first shop I used to go to Sam’s, Wal-mart, etc. to get some a few of my supplies cheaper. With one shop that wasn’t that bad, but with 2 it really started to become very time consuming. Eventually I just started having everything delivered from one main supplier. As a result of giving this company the added business, they gave me better pricing. By having one prime supplier for all of my supplies I saw a huge overall savings. Sure I might be able to save a few dollars on a couple of supplies from Sam’s Club but now my supplier is saving me so much money on the other supplies that it more than makes up for it. Your time is important. Your time is much more important doing advertising than running all over trying to buy things on sale. Like I said before, my main advice would be to delegate responsibilities, get systems in place for EVERYTHING, form a partnership with ONE prime supplier, create a manager’s handbook, train your managers to do all of your current responsibilities in your shop, and form a chain of command. You should be able to step out of your shop and have it run on autopilot. I no longer work in either of my stores. My managers handle all of my old responsibilities. My job now is to work on my marketing, do my books, improve/refine my systems that I have in place, and making improvements to my building, etc. You also need to be in contact and communicate with your managers. You should also hold weekly meetings to go over sales figures, food cost, labor %, concerns, suggestions, weekly goals, etc. Just because your not constantly in your shops, you should still know what’s going on. Install security cameras with remote internet viewing so you can see what’s going on at any time. I have one last piece of advice for when you are ready to open your second location. Take 3 of your best employees and have them work at this new shop for the first month. They can help train the new staff. By having some trained employees there, it will help keep the operation running smoothly. Be ready to get bombed with business when you open your new place. Everyone loves to try out the new place in town. Make sure you’re over prepped and prepared. The first month or so should be very busy so don’t forget to continue your advertising for both shops or your sales will eventually drop off. This is an exciting time for you so make sure to have fun with it. Good luck and make lots of money!!! -Roger

and… make sure you have the capital! if it doesn’t do as well as the first, and starts draining money… make sure you have enough to get you through the rough patches so it doesn’t bring down both stores.