How to expand?

Hey everyone, I see a lot of multi-unit operators on here and and can’t figure out how you guys got there. I opened about two years ago and have had a lot of success, enough to where I want to open a smaller takeout only place down the road. But staffing and oversight seems impossible! What were some of the biggest hurdles to your first expansions and how did you overcome them? Thanks!

Ahhhh, yep, those ARE the biggest hurdles…Not found a solution to it as of yet, and we’re in a college town with plenty of potential employees, but college town or not I think good, dependable staffing is a common denominator among most store owners.
Do you have a very good, trusted and skilled employee that you might be able to turn your existing store over to (to manage) or move into the new store? From what I’ve seen, that seems to be one of the few viable options.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I’d suggest you install some cameras that you can view remotely and keep easing yourself out of the store until it can run by itself without many hiccups. At that point look into expanding, don’t force it, I think we forced it at first and things weren’t as smooth as they should’ve been. We’ve got 5 family members who all have roles in the business now it may be a little easier for us to start another, but even at that, starting another is never a walk in the park

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My approach when working with a new store owner is to encourage him/her to NOT micro-manage your employees, but instead make yourself a trainer and allow them to do things on their own but still under some level of supervision. If after 12 to 18-months you cannot leave the store for your crew to run for a week you’re not doing your part. You have to look at yourself as being expendable with your staff being sufficiently trained to pick up the slack when necessary. After 18-months you should be able to step away from the store for a full week knowing that your staff will handle things as they come up. Remember, they may not do things just as you would, but that’s part of the learning process and it will instill the needed confidence that is needed to become a great store manager for you, I was once told that if my staff doesn’t sell the store or burn it down while I’m gone it’s nothing that I can’t handle when I get back. Once you have reached this point you are ready to add another store. In doing so your staff will be able to manage your existing store allowing you to spend the necessary time needed to open the new store and get the staff trained.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Now if i could just find the staff that could actually be trained …

I’m with you on that one!
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I’ve had cameras from day 1, and have been doing this to a degree, (I’m actually taking off TWO days a week now!) and spending more time in the office when I am there. However, I still need to make dough and the fact that we have a full bar is what really takes up most of my time. The kitchen is fairly solid, but I’m still working in the back for rushes. I think I really just need to hire another guy to replace me entirely in the kitchen but finding someone… Yeesh.

Yup, welcome to the club.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor