Harvesting joint success
Harvested believes that everyone should have the opportunity to eat well. Founded in 2010, this Czech based company offers a wide collection of ‘real food’ sourced directly from small and medium-sized farmers and producers. Skilzeno, as it’s known in the Czech language, is known for its first-class quality meats, sausages, pastries, dairy products, fruit, vegetables, along with drinks and durable products. Franchsing.eu speaks with the Executive Director of Harvested, Aleš Kotěra, about the growth and future challenges of the company.
This month Harvested celebrates their 11th birthday opening in the Czech Republic. What have those 11 years been like?
I guess I can't answer other than that the whole period was extremely dynamic for us. Over the course of 11 years, we built a company from scratch with dozens of branches, launched a franchise concept, went through an acquisition and merger with the My food and Náš grunt networks, got to know hundreds of farmers, tried thousands of products, and in the last three years, like all of us, we are going through the trials of Covid-19 and the current inflation. This means we’ve put in a lot of effort and work to manage and weather all the challenges; and, despite the challenges, we’ve managed to prepare the entire company for expansion.
How is the concept and its franchisees currently performing?
Food is largely a "safe" industry. As we say, there will always be a demand for food. Of course, the current economic situation is not, and will not, be easy for anyone in the coming months. At Harvested, however, it motivates us to make a number of changes, from the search for internal savings and the elimination of inefficiencies to the search for new market opportunities. In recent years, we have closed down or relocated some inefficient operations. These were not so much connected with the economy as with an inappropriate choice of locations. We are now much more careful and, above all, more experienced.
How difficult is it to find new franchise partners at the moment? How much interest do you currently see in franchise licenses?
Paradoxically, economic uncertainty has led to increased franchising interest in the Harvested network, especially among employees. For many, it is definitely safer to run your own business and have everything under control than to be dependent on the employer and their current situation. We see franchising as an ideal form for any interested parties. Those who wish to branch out will acquire our know-how. This means they hit the market significantly faster and more successfully, rather than if they were building a business from scratch. We are currently developing the network primarily in Prague and Brno, but we are also open to negotiations in other locations where we find sufficient market potential. We currently have some ready-made stores available that franchisees can take over and start doing business right away.
What are you looking for in your potential franchisees? What conditions must they meet?
A good franchisee must have basic management skills, common sense and be willing to put in the work. No more is needed. Specific knowledge and skills from retail will be acquired by the franchisee and his employees during the initial training. Of course, before concluding the franchise agreement, we check the motivation of the franchisee, their experience, the location they want to open a store, their financial background, as well as other parameters to be sure that the cooperation will work for both parties.
The entire Czech Republic is struggling with an unfavourable economic situation – inflation, rising costs, rising energy prices. How does this affect your franchisees' business?
As I mentioned in the introduction, this situation unfortunately affects almost everyone. It is important not to wait for what the changes will bring, but to react as quickly as possible. For example, During Covid-19, we launched an e-shop. We are now also shortening the supply chain and achieving significant savings on selected goods. We are negotiating with building lessors and preparing new activities to support sales. Unfortunately, we were forced to include some of the costs in the final prices for the customer. We implement all this for franchisees and our own stores.
As a franchisor, how are you able to help your franchisees during this difficult time for business?
Our help consists primarily in the implementation of the mentioned savings and development measures. We will certainly not be able to completely eliminate the effects of external influences, but we try to mitigate them as much as possible. We see the current situation as an opportunity for franchisees and the development of our own network.
Harvested Business Card:
- Investment of CZK 2-3 million (EUR 80,000 - 120,000) depending on the size and location of the store according to the chosen franchise concept
- The contract is concluded for 10 years with the possibility of extension
- Shop size from approx. 80 m² to 200 m²
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