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ow risk and high growth were certainly deciding factors when Yusri Othman opted to leave behind his job as a restaurant manager to take a shareholding in a master franchise of Tutti Frutti Frozen Yoghurt – a 100% self-serve concept from the USA, which is expanding across the globe. Yusri was approached on Facebook

by an old school friend, the co-founder of I-Leaves, and asked to join the company to pull resources together to buy the UK master franchise and run the initial store. In today’s fast-paced, health-conscious

consumer landscape, the idea of grabbing a cup and filling it yourself with healthy, refreshing frozen yoghurt has a strong appeal for both consumers and potential franchisees. Thanks to the self-serve concept, Tutti Frutti stores are able to operate with minimal effort and overheads and maximum efficiency.

The next big thing

In order to select the right franchise business it's vital to consider a number of factors. From evaluating transferable skills, to

researching the level of competition and financial projections, there's a lot to consider. Once a shortlist of potential franchises has been drawn up, it's important to request projections and draft contracts and do your homework regarding the size and direction of the market, whether it is growing, static or in decline. “I-Leaves, had researched the market

thoroughly and found that the yoghurt is the next big thing, in the same way that coffee was in the 80s and 90s,” says Yusri. “For the past few years frozen yoghurt businesses have been emerging and Tutti Frutti is one of the biggest frozen yoghurt companies in the world. It has 500 stores,

A franchise that’s bearing fruit

A simple concept and a promising market convinced Yusri Othman to take on the UK master franchise of Tutti Frutti Frozen Yoghurt. With the flagship store already open and performing well, CHERYL RICKMAN caught up with Yusri to find out how he chose the right franchise and is now making it work.

mostly in the US, Far East and Middle East, and is now starting to emerge in Europe.” Yusri and his co-shareholders – Amanda Nasim (20), Andy Nasim (32), Hashraf Hashim (30) and Ridzuan Nor (32) – also wanted to choose a franchise that had simplicity at its core. Tutti Frutti ticked that box too. “One reason why we chose frozen

yoghurt is that it’s very easy to maintain,” explains Yusri. “Cost implications are low, the routine is basic and it’s very easy to maintain the machines, to mix the yoghurt and so on. You can operate with minimal ingredients, a couple of fridges and frozen yoghurt machines and that’s it.” The team also made the choice to buy the master franchise in the UK rather than become regular franchisees, because they didn’t want the master franchise to go to someone else. “As a master franchise, we have the licence to operate and sell franchises in

Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, so before we opened our flagship store we were getting enquiries from franchisees keen to open a kiosk or outlet,” explains Yusri.

The first store

Since then the team has been busy hiring contractors, designers, buying furniture and preparing to open their first outlet, while simultaneously setting up their website and taking enquiries from prospec- tive franchisees. It’s been a busy time and one which has seen Yusri working across three time zones. “I’ve worked with Asia, with the US,

where the master franchise is based, and in London so I don’t get enough sleep,” says Yusri. But the hard work is paying off. ”I’m proud to say we opened our store

just five months after taking on the franchise, which is quite fast. It usually takes about a year once you’ve taken a master franchise for a country.” Early indications suggest they made the

right choice. Having opened their flagship store (2 Bedford Street, Covent Garden) on 15 December 2011, three more outlets/franchisees had already signed up at time of writing (just one month later). The aim is to have seven Tutti Frutti outlets across London in time for this summer’s Olympic Games. Despite being confident they’d chosen a

franchise with potential, Yusri and his team have been bowled over by its initial success, with Yusri looking to acquire a warehouse to store the machinery coming in from the States.

22 Better Business No 185

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