Mississauga Mom Balances Franchise Ownership and Family


Jul 03, 2013

Ruthie Burd founded the Lunch Lady in 1993 to fill a simple need: nutritious lunches for schoolchildren. Many schools do not have a formal cafeteria, leaving overworked and busy parents to take on the extra chore of making their children lunch each day. The idea took off and since then, the Lunch Lady has grown across the country and needs new franchisees.

According to Nancy Criconet, Director of Franchise Development for the Lunch Lady, the company is currently looking for franchisees across Canada.

Potential franchisees should be business oriented but need a flexible work schedule to accommodate their home lives. As per Nancy Criconet, the Lunch Lady looks for people who have some previous management experience, are comfortable with using technology, such as computer software and enjoy working with people in the school and its administration one-on-one. Since the Lunch Lady is providing an important service, potential franchisees should be connected to their community and ready to help out.

The Lunch Lady provides franchisees with unique benefits, as recently covered by Nancy Criconet. Franchisees are responsible for the preparation and delivery of school lunches. After delivery they will have some onsite work, such as the clean-up after food delivery and prep work for the next day, but many of the tasks for administration are done from the home. The franchisee isn't chained to the kitchen and doesn't have to work weekends, holidays or whenever school is closed.

Franchisees don't have to work over the summer, but the Lunch Lady is currently developing opportunities for services outside of schools, such as lunch service for summer camps, corporate catering, day-care centers and senior citizen centers. While franchisees don't have to enter into these additional opportunities, they are available for those looking to increase their financial intake.

Nicole Best, a franchisee from Mississauga, recently spoke about her experiences as part of the franchise. According to Nicole, who has two children under the age of 12, being a Lunch Lady franchisee has allowed her to run a business while being a full-time parent.

Previously, Nicole worked in corporate marketing and the demands of the job made her feel disconnected from her family and her community. Since she's working while her children are in school, she's able to help them with homework, make dinner and even take them to their activities. Her usual day starts at 5:30 am, with getting her children off to school and then she heads to work for 7 am. Her day usually ends at 3 pm when her children are leaving school. If there's a special activity, she notes, she doesn't have to get permission from her boss to do it.

Lunch Lady franchisees have access to the Lunch Lady name and associated trademarks, as well as its positive reputation in the industry. The company provides franchisees with help in all aspects of the business, including kitchen set-up, lease negotiation and site selection and customized software. A thorough training program is provided to ensure franchisees provide the service and quality associated with the Lunch Lady brand.