The local Aussie burger shop staying very local

Remember being a kid, tummy growling and your parents would give you some money to go to the local store to buy a burger and some chips?  

Bks Takeaway On Franchise Buyer 3

The burgers, the fish and chips, all wrapped in newspaper. You knew the store owners, they were your neighbours and their kids went to school with you. Back in the days when the corner store was the heart of every local Aussie neighbourhood.

BK’s Takeaway have created a business around bringing back what was good, wholesome and delicious. Brendan Kingwill, Managing Director and Founder of BK’s is a true blue bloke who has brought back some old fashioned values (and delicious food) into Australian suburbs. 

Learning business

Brendan was born and bred on a dairy farm in Gippsland. His first foray into the world of business came when he was in his early teens, when his parents bought a local supermarket in Yarragon. “I was in awe of what they achieved”, says Brendan. “They were dairy farmers, they didn’t know anything about running a business. In a short period of time they physically doubled the size and doubled the turnover… They did this based on their personalities. The people that came in wanted to say hi to mum and dad, they wanted to support local.”

When Brendan finished Year 12, he chanced upon one of his first business mentors at a New Years Eve party. The owner of a Leading Sportswear Chain set Brendan up for an interview at one of his stores and it was during that time Brendan realised the store and its owner were ahead of their time. The systems and processes in place were years ahead, which inspired him.

Bks Takeaway On Franchise Buyer Main

As Brendan remembers, “There’s no one single person or event that inspired me. It’s an evolution of experiences that led me to where I am… I started a journey in the Public Sector working for the Dept of Community services. For the next 10 years I continued to work with People with a disability and homeless youth.  During this time I got myself qualified in the field and also studied, marketing and promotion, some hospitality.”

The move to takeaway food

Brendan came across a takeaway food store in Yarragon. He planned to open the business, get it ticking along and well known by the local community, then sell.

“I kept setting a turnover figure to which we would then sell, but it just kept rising so we continued on. I was successful at it. We took a business with a turnover of $2k-$3k a week to $10k a week under a year, and that was 20 years ago,” says Brendan. “So I bought another one. And this time I took the business from $5,000 per week to $25,000.”

When The Herald Sun listed Brendan’s store as selling one of the top 5 hamburgers in Victoria, he rode the wave and decided to investigate franchising. He still wanted that local store trustworthy feel, but could see it adding value to communities all over Australia.

Top 5 Burgers Newspaper

Franchise path

Brendan engaged The Franchise Shop, owned and operated by Grant Garraway. Together, Brendan and Grant have spent around a year setting up the franchising structure for BK’s Takeaway.

Brendan’s business philosophy has seen him build a successful franchise team. He says, “When I started I had absolutely no idea on how to cook, run a business or manage staff. Boy, did I learn quickly. The easiest thing was running the shop… Running a business takes a lot longer, I was lucky I had an accountant that showed me how to do things rather than just doing them for me and billing me. This is the beauty of Franchising. We help you get through these challenges, and there will be challenges, from running the shop, managing the business to Staff training and support. You don’t have to go through the challenges, I’ve already done that for you.”

Perhaps Brendan’s most sincere statement is this, “Anybody who’s run a takeaway food business can teach you how to make a hamburger. The food business is simple, it is managing the business which is hard. You have to learn to manage.”

Bks Takeaway On Franchise Buyer 2

Brendan has made mistakes that have helped him tighten his processes and selection criteria for new franchisees. “I’m not afraid of saying where I’ve made mistakes,” says Brendan. “That’s the whole benefit of offering a franchise. Come on board and you don’t have to make the mistakes I’ve made.” Brendan also engaged specialists in the franchising world to assist with business and brand development, with John Di Natali from Think Big Consulting assisting in shop design, logos and marketing.

Focus during challenging times

Through the challenges brought upon the business by COVID-19, Brendan and his franchise team assessed, reviewed, strategised and re-strategised on a regular basis to move with the market. However, everything still comes back to Brendan’s grass roots, authentic approach which has built them an army of loyal customers. 

Brendan sees a key difference in joining the business, is that it comes with the experience and skill he shares in the business set up. A key plank to their entry strategy is working with franchisees to keep entry costs down by purchasing existing food businesses at lower costs, and transforming them into BK’s Takeaways. By being focused on the outer-suburban town locations that support local, the ongoing operation costs are also much lower than in larger cities - in particular rental costs.

Bks Takeaway On Franchise Buyer 8

BK’s Takeaway now has 20 years experience of tried and tested systems and procedures, industry connections, supplier arrangements, advertising strategies and equipment suppliers.

Community has always been important to Brendan as has family who mentored and supported him through his career to date. Brendan says, “I travelled this journey with my Mother and Father by my side. Dad loved to play devil's advocate and I loved to prove him wrong. Later I had the opportunity to have my daughters join me in the business, Tegan as Business Operations Manager and Jessica who manages one of our stores. I now have 9 grandchildren so I can't wait to see them come through the business.”

Outside of his family, Brendan has shown the importance to BK’s of being embedded in local communities. “It’s important to be part of the community. You do this by being involved, and getting your face out there as people love to support their own. A great way is to start in the Sporting clubs, Kinders and local charities. Join your local business group or turn up to a charity event.”

It just may be that this hyper-local community based approach is totally in its element in 2021 and beyond…

Find out more about BK’s Takeaway HERE