Although an experienced entrepreneur, Raza Ali says that being a Dallas Chicken franchisee has only upped his business game
Name: Raza Ali (32)
Organisation: Dallas Chicken Manchester City Centre
Years trading: 1
Opening a new restaurant in Manchester’s bustling nightlife hub, The Northern Quarter, is no mean feat. But Raza Ali of Dallas Chicken forged ahead and has achieved a week-on-week growth in sales since opening just over 13 months ago.
I’ve been in the restaurant business for five years with a couple of my own restaurants. But I wanted to improve my experience as a restaurant owner and learn more, so I started looking for a franchise. That is when I found out about Dallas Chicken.
I live in Manchester and there are a lot of different franchises, but I was looking for something new to bring here. A friend knew about a Dallas Chicken shop in London, so I went to check out a few and really liked them. Even more so when I met with the manager and franchise owner in person. He was great at explaining things and I found the environment friendly. After that, we decided to do business together.
Dallas is very well organised and whenever I need something, I just ask and get an answer promptly. Also, they have a system in place for everything, like how to maintain staff, how to serve customers and how to improve the hygiene ratings. They really have it all covered.
The most difficult part of my job is maintaining the same quality all the time. In the food industry, you really must do things perfectly every time. A customer can come in every day, and you serve them perfectly, but the one time you give them something different, they may leave and never come back.
In this business, it’s vital you give 100 per cent quality, 100 per cent of the time. You can’t ever be at 50 per cent, it must be perfect every single time.
The challenge nowadays is prices, with everything going up. I have to keep a balance between what I’m buying and selling. I can’t exaggerate the prices too much – don’t be too expensive but don’t be losing either. It’s really difficult for everyone at the moment for that exact reason.
Dallas is always on top of everything. They have people working deliveries and call us every week or every couple of weeks to ask if we need anything. Or they call if they see a decrease or increase in the business. They track if we are doing well or not and share how we can improve, which really helps me a lot.
The most important lesson I’ve learnt so far is to do everything properly. We have many systems in place – for cleaning, maintaining standards, the staff we need and so on. It’s really improved my experience having so many systems and programmes in place.
Get to know
My idea of success is… working hard. I lived in Italy and had a great social life there, but to achieve things in business, working hard is so important.
Advice I live by is… I listen to everything – all advice. Whatever I can do to improve and help me, I’ll take it.