last updated 09/12/2021
For The Love of Pies
last updated 09/12/2021
Jesters Pies franchises combine low overheads and high profitability
Kiwis love pies – and Jesters takes pies to a whole new level, both as a product and as a business model. The ultra-thin pastry, range of fillings and unique cooking process means nothing tastes like a Jesters pie, and there are even dessert, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. With dedicated stores, mobile pie vans, and home delivery via Uber Eats and Menulog, Jesters franchisees are taking pies to the people.
The franchise is well-established, with 13 stores around the North Island, and additional awareness through distribution centres in Caltex service stations. ‘Since being bought by the Number 8 Retail Group, Jesters has had a fresh new look, and new products, too,’ says Ancelin Colls, the company’s head of franchising. ‘We are about to launch a high margin fried chicken product, along with chips. It’s a mix that’s already been proven in some of the Caltex sites, so new franchisees will reap the benefits.’
Jesters franchisees assemble their pies in store. ‘Our process means it only takes seven minutes to make a pie, so you can respond quickly to demand while minimising wastage,’ says Ancelin. ‘With raw pastry and fillings supplied centrally, you don’t need expensive equipment or specialist staff, and you don’t need to be in store yourself all the time, either. It’s flexible – some franchisees like to be in the store, others out on the van, but one of their most important roles is to get out in the community, making connections and building business. It’s a business that rewards good management and ambition.’
Tony Aikman opened his Jesters at Auckland’s Westgate Centre in 2007, and has seen the franchise change and grow. ‘I came from the corporate world, but I’d always wanted my own business and when I got to my mid-40s I found Jesters. It’s a good product and our customers have always been loyal fans, so it’s a matter of making the most of the opportunity.
‘My store is pretty small – just 43 sqm – which keeps the overheads down, but the Jesters system is very efficient and so I’m serving not just the busy take-away and delivery trade from it, but my van, too – and I’m about to add a second van. I have 5 full-time equivalent staff who open the store at 6, cook the first pies, then go out on the road for a few hours visiting workplaces around my territory. We can also service events in the evenings and at weekends, and do things like school fundraisers and the hot rod show in Kumeu, so my little store generates a lot of revenue.
‘People worry about Covid, but food is pretty resilient, and Jesters is a very good example. I’ve lived through the GFC, having the pavement torn up in front of my store, and several lock-downs now, and we always bounce back. Our customers love the Jesters experience.’
And Tony appreciates Ancelin and the Number 8 team. ‘The franchise is very supportive – they’ve added consistency, improved systems and introduced new products, and they are always open to ideas. It’s still got that family feel – we work as a team.’
Reward for hard work
Jesters is looking for new franchisees around the country, especially in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. New locations require an investment of around $350,000 +gst, ‘Which includes both a fully-equipped shop and a fully-fitted van,’ says Ancelin. ‘That provides two sources of revenue and means you never need to wait for customers to come to you – you have a whole exclusive territory to explore.’
There are also some existing stores due to come on to the market soon as long-time franchisees retire. ‘We’d love to have some fresh young faces to bring extra energy to the business, and will work with the banks to help you find the finance you need. A mid-to-high volume store can generate a gross profit of $300-450,000, with the new products adding a potential $50,000 operating profit on top of that, so your hard work will be rewarded.
‘Contact us today to find out more.’
See this advertorial on page 19 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 30 Issue 4
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