Bill Hamam - GM of the MTY Group

Date: AUG 7th, 2013

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Bill Hamam has been the general manager of the MTY Group, Toronto Office for the since 2008 and is in charge of the operations for several of the MTY brands in addition to franchisee recruitment and system growth for most of the MTY brands for Ontario and Western Canada. He started his career in engineering and later opened his first food service business in 1983. From 1988 to 2008, he was a partner and a vice president of operations at Canadian Industrial Services Limited. Over the years his involvement included all aspects of the franchising business; systems development, real estate selection and lease negotiations, operations, marketing and franchising.

BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Villa Madina concept.

Bill Hamam: Villa Madina is one of Canada’s leading quick service restaurant franchises offering delicious Mediterranean cuisine foods. Our salads selection is amazing and appeals to the salad lovers and health conscious customers. Our meats are mouth watering and authentic tasting to the recipes of the region. The chicken and beef shawarmas are specially marinated and cooked slowly on rotisseries sealing in the unique flavour.

BTB: How and when did you become involved with Villa Madina?

BH: Villa Madina’s first ever store was opened in the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ontario in 2008 and I became involved in developing the brand and expanding it across Onatrio and other Canadian provinces since 2008. Now, we are present in four provinces and will soon become 43 locations strong.

BTB: What was your background prior to joining Villa Madina?

BH: I have been part of the franchise industry for over 20 years with roles in operations, marketing, franchising and real estate.

BTB: What are some of the advantages of being a Villa Madina franchisee?

BH: A unique brand, offering delicious healthy foods for the growing health conscious consumer as well as tasty meat options for the meat lover. Villa Madina serves HALAL meats from reputable suppliers. The brand is part of the MTY group with well over 2200 locations across Canada and internationally. This gives the franchisee a distinct advantage with landlords and suppliers etc… Our franchisees also have the advantage of expanding into any of the MTY Group 27 different brands. Most franchisors are unable to match these advantages.

BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?

BH: The ideal franchisee is someone that loves his customers, takes pride in knowing them well, takes pride in the look of their store and keeps it clean. Someone who imparts all of this into each and every one of his employees. A customer does not differentiate between a manager that works 50 hours a week and a part-time person that works 10 hours a week. All employees are the face of Villa Madina and the face of the brand. An ideal franchisee knows his food, loves his customers, leads his employees and knows his numbers.

BTB: Tell us a little about the Villa Madina market.

BH: Villa Madina has a unique niche in the competitive quick service restaurant space. The chain is growing in numbers and the units are growing in sales. This is a result of the consumer validating the value proposition offered by the brand

BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you have learned in growing the Villa Madina franchise?

BH: There are three unshakable pillars for the success of a franchise business: a strong franchisee, a strong location and a strong brand. When all three work together your success is guaranteed.

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Villa Madina franchise?

BH: Love your customers, no matter what. Some customers are hard to please but these are the very small minority. Go to work every day with the mind set of making a real difference. Look at your business from a wide angle lens; see it all. Love the food you are serving. Truly believe in the brand and the benefits that it offers to the customer. This passion will be evident to your customers and is a crucial factor in making the experience a positive one for them.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Villa Madina would be a great opportunity for someone?

BH: Villa Madina is a strong and proven brand with over 40 locations and growing, strong franchisor, excellent real estate.