Marble Slab Franchisee, Amarjot Bhatthal
Amarjot is a young driven Marble Slab Creamery franchisee from Calgary Alberta. She attended the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to complete her Civil Engineering degree while balancing the responsibilities of being a business owner. Amarjot and her partner Tejinder are expanding to their 5th franchise since starting with the organization in 2011.
What made you decide to own your own business instead of being an employee of a company?
When I was 16 years old, I was an ambitious, zealous and passionate high school student with dreams of becoming a Civil Engineer. It was at that time that my mother left her job in the corporate world after 30 years of experience in various industries to open up her own business. As a duo we decided to step foot into the business world, I would support her part time as I continued to finish my degree. We were reluctant to start off a brand new business on our own so thought the franchise system would be the best way to go.
What made you choose Marble Slab Creamery from the opportunities you looked at?
We explored several different brands and were 90% sold on another brand that we were about to go ahead with.
During a break from my part-time job at a shopping mall, I was sitting in the food court when something suddenly hit me. We knew we wanted to open a food franchise in this particular mall, and as I was looking around I realized there was a lack of quality ice cream available. I may have noticed because I have always loved ice cream, Marble Slab Creamery ice cream in particular. At 10 years old I had my first taste of Marble Slab ice cream and thereafter spent many lunch times during my school years there. I have strong feelings of nostalgia with this brand. It was then that I had my moment of epiphany which led me to Marble Slab Creamery.
Within 10 minutes of submitting my application I was contacted by the Business Development team at Marble Slab Creamery leading to an initial meeting, followed by a meeting with the President the next day - 14 days later we were finalized!
What sold us on this brand versus the other we had been considering was their transparency in all aspects of the business. The sincerely honest approach from the corporate team made the decision easy. There were no aggressive sales tactics to get us to enter the franchise system. They wanted us to be a part of their business only when we were ready and confident enough to sign the agreement. The sincerity is what ultimately pulled us in.
Can you describe the support you have received from the Marble Slab Creamery head office team as you got started and on an ongoing basis?
The support we have received from the Marble Slab Creamery Canada team is like no other. We were provided with 10 days of thorough training before our store opening. We had several members of the operations team help us and work alongside us during our store opening, helping us to get it off to a strong and successful start. Furthermore, we had a member of the operations team work with us for a week after the grand opening to help us get settled into our new venture. The team kept in contact and checked in with us on a weekly basis until we were 100% confident in every aspect of the business. Seven years later, head office is still only a phone call/email/text away, no matter what time or day of the week. This is a brand that truly wants you to succeed as a franchisee. This is a brand that holds great precedence on the fact that if you succeed, only then do they succeed.
What do you like about this business?
It’s a business of happiness! Standing behind that counter each day, serving and interacting with customers, makes me realize the positive impact we have on a lot of people’s lives and how precious each moment is. I see customers that are battling all sorts of problems in their lives. They walk into our store to get something to make their day better or to celebrate significant milestones within their lives. We add happiness to their grief and add more zest to their life’s biggest celebrations. No day is the same – each day is full of surprises, challenges, and lessons. It is a business that keeps me on my feet throughout the day. It is a business that has taught me a tremendous amount of valuable skills and lessons that I will forever carry with me.
Describe what an ‘average’ day is like for you as a business owner?
I run my stores as an Owner/Operator. I work 7 days a week, typically open until close. I prefer to take responsibility of the major tasks within the store to ensure utmost quality, perfection and attention to detail. I rely on my employees to be responsible for the smaller tasks.
My day begins with opening the store, determining what needs to be re-stocked, and then following through with my ‘to do’ list; production, rolling cones, dipping cones, filling the showcase and more. I am sure to finish up before the busy times of the day. At that point – I work alongside my employees, serving and interacting with customers. We finish a week’s worth of work within 3-4 days and then focus solely on the customers throughout the weekend.
What aspects of the business were particularly important to you when considering this opportunity?
Profitability and margins were one of the most important aspects for me going into this business. The rate of return had to be high, which comes with this franchise when you are fully invested in your business as an operator. The other important aspects for me were its scalability and opportunity for growth. It is very easy to go from 1 to 4 stores or more if you plan accordingly. Another important factor for me was the support from head office and their investment in ensuring the success of the Owner/Operator. You will not find another brand as devoted to their franchisees as this one. Your success is their success!