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Transcript: Dispelling the Myths of Franchise Ownership with Aicha Bascaro

Transcript: Dispelling the Myths of Franchise Ownership with Aicha Bascaro

Gerry Fernandez [00:00:02] Welcome to a Seat at the Table, a podcast dedicated to highlighting the importance of cultural intelligence in the workplace and brought to you by MFHA multicultural foodservice and hospitality alliance. We believe inclusive business is a profitable business. So join us as we dove into practical advice on how you can communicate effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds. I’m your host. Gerry Fernandez, founder and president of MFHA. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:00:32] Well, welcome to A Seat at the Table. I’m Gerry Fernandez and I have with me today a longtime friend and colleague, Aicha Bascaro. She’s the founder and CEO of the American Franchise Academy. Aicha, welcome to the show. 

Aicha Bascaro [00:00:46] Thank you, Gerry, for having me. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:00:48] It’s good to see you and hear your voice. And, you know, we’ve been separated because of this COVID 19. I haven’t had a chance to get to one of my favorite cities, Atlanta. But why don’t we start off by you telling the audience a little bit about you, your family wage goes up. How’d you get into this restaurant business that you and I love so much? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:01:07] Absolutely. I actually was born and raised in Guatemala, in Central America. For those of you that don’t know where that is. My mother is from Guatemala. My father is actually Cuban. And because of his Cuban heritage, we have most of my family from his side in Miami. So all our lives, we flew back and forth and went to school in Miami and back in Guatemala. And eventually I came to the U.S. to go to college. And after college, I opened a retail business that failed miserably. I was 21 years old. I was on the fast track. And you know how they say fail fast. I did that and I was 21 and I just wanted to get a job that would pay the bills and allow me to have fun for a little bit before I move on in my life. And as I’m thinking that a pizza delivery driver drives in front of me with the cart up sign and they say, you know what? Delivering pizzas. How cool is that? Everybody is happy to see you. And you listen to your music all day long. And so I went and applied for the job. And my first job in the quote unquote Restaurant franchise world was delivering pizzas for Dominos. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:02:19] Wow. So you said you failed first and you failed fast. What did you fail? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:02:25] Well, after I graduated. I had a little boutique. I was importing textiles and things from Guatemala. And at the time, I didn’t know anything about inventory or would break even point or how to read a P&L or any of that stuff. So they teach all these great things in school that do you absolutely zero good when you’re running the business. And so I failed within a year within and I decided to close before I owed anybody any money. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:02:51] Well, that was smart. I’m sure the educators wouldn’t wouldn’t want to say too many bad things about what we learn in school versus what we learned in the real world. But you stumbled in Domino’s. So tell me a little bit about Domino’s experience. Then I’m going to follow up and ask you to tell us a little bit about franchising what it is, why it’s important. But but first, what was that experience with Domino’s? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:03:14] You know what? It was amazing. Well, let me just say that by the time I left the organization, it was three months short of 20 years with them. So I started up as a delivery driver. My goal was not to move up in the food industry. I didn’t know, you know, like the misconception of, you know, the food industry, you know. But then I realized that you could become a franchisee because a really Domino’s is a really great job of communicating that. And so I said, you know what? But to be a franchisee with them, you have to be a successful manager to be able to qualify. And so I said, OK, one. And that’s when my supervisor was always asking me to be a manager because he knew that I was doing much more than just being a pizza delivery person. And so I you I eventually said to be an assistant manager, and by then I already did everything for my manager. So I was quickly, within three months promoted to general manager. And the goal was to be a general manager for a year so that I could apply and get the franchise for Domino’s Pizza in Guatemala. That was my original goal. I wanted to be a franchisee, but halfway through my year, Gerry, it was. The franchise was bought and given to somebody else in Guatemala. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:04:27] So the opportunity you thought you were going to have disappeared. 

Aicha Bascaro [00:04:31] Exactly. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:04:33] So I’m going to come back to the – you could finish the Domino’s story – but let’s you know, into the basic questions. You know, how is franchising different from the other forms of business? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:04:43] Well, you know, I have a very interesting experience because I was in a non franchise business before I went into the franchise world. And it’s an amazing difference because when you see when you have a franchise, when you buy a franchise, you are acquiring a proven brand, something that you already know to a certain level, depending on the brand, of course, because there’s different types of brands. But depending on the brand, you know, you already have a turnkey brand. Right. Product service image anyway. So. And so that’s you know, it’s different from when you have your own business, because when you have your own business, you have to build your own brand and your own product, your own image and all that. And that’s half the problem, which you’re going to get into it soon and so, being in the franchise world… First of all, I didn’t even know it was a franchise. I didn’t know what a franchise was when I started delivering pizzas. And through that experience, I actually was working in a corporate store. And so they managed that as a corporate, you know, it is different when you run go work into a corporate store than a franchise store. And you have access to a tremendous amount of information, which I think it was part of the reason why I end up staying. And it was fantastic. I learned that they literally had the proven law statement taped to the wall of the office. And I, as a pizza delivery driver, could look at the PNL. I could look at what the manager made as a bonus. I could have assistant managers had their training plans taped to the office wall, the office door. And I knew that, you know, Joe, Peter, Mary, I knew how far they were, I saw when they were finished their training and they went up to be a general manager, you know, it was all visible. It was all right there. And they everybody knows what to do. You know what, the franchise world, you have a specific clear training process, operating manuals. So dependable suppliers. You know, one of the things I had to do when I had my own business, I was importing things from Guatemala. Can you imagine that? While when you own a franchise, you already have a proven supply system. I mean, there’s so many differences, Gerry. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:06:41] That’s that’s really good, because I think people have a misconception sometimes about what franchising is and what it’s not. Here you’ve got to pay franchising fees to the headquarters. But what you just made clear was all these things that you don’t have to do, you don’t have to worry about the supply chain where the product’s coming from. You don’t have to build the brand. It’s always already a story or a good feel about that. Can you say more about what people might be misunderstanding about franchising? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:07:10] Absolutely. This is one of the things that I talk about when I do public speaking. I talk about the misconception of franchising. When people buy a franchise and they haven’t done their homework, they believe that they’re buying everything they need to be successful and they’re not. You’re buying and you are acquiring a proven brand. And the way that I define the brand is you’re buying a product and everything that comes with the product, supply chain, innovation, support. Right. And then you also are acquiring the service and the service procedures to duplicate that brand and the experience to the customer. Right. All of that you are acquiring. You’re also acquiring the image and the image is beyond the logo. It’s the colors, is the uniforms, is the building, is even the trucks that you’re driving. If you have a business that has trucks. Right. And then you also are acquiring national and regional marketing, the brand, the franchise or provides all that. It’s amazing, right? Product service image, you know, marketing and meeting and all that is already solved. But here’s what the misconception comes with. What you’re not getting you are not getting a business degree in franchise management. You’re not getting how to hire people, motivate them, inspire them and retain them. You’re not getting how to read a profit and loss statement and calculate your break even point. You’re not getting how to research where your money’s lost in any manipulation or waste that’s happening. You’re not getting your local store marketing plan. Mind you, the franchise store might be providing tools and resources for you to do your local store marketing plan, but they’re not coming to your neighbors, knocking on their door and selling anything that’s you, you know. So that’s the other half. That’s what I call the other half of the business. Right. So I call the brand and the brand systems and then the business and the business management systems to complete these things, things. And here’s what the challenge is. When you are a person that wants to buy a franchise because you think things are going to be simpler. They are solving half the problem. But you gotta come equipped with that business management side and many people don’t. And this is where the challenges. This is why some brands close, which they’re successful in a thousand and three thousand places, but in that one they weren’t. Why? One of the main reasons, not all the only reason, but one of the main reasons is that these people are not equipped with the business management systems. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:09:38] So you teach them that stuff in your academy, is that right? Tell us how what you teach in the academy, how that works. 

Aicha Bascaro [00:09:48] Yeah, that’s exactly right. You know, after over twenty five years in the franchise world and with obviously emphasis on expertise in my side in the food industry, which I think is probably the most tough, the most difficult one, I decided to actually my plan was to take a sabbatical, a one year sabbatical. That was my plan and that. But then I started getting calls from people that realized that I wasn’t working anywhere. And they’re like, oh, are you a consultant now? Are you? Can you help me? Can you know, relationships that I built with franchisees along the years. And I said, well, no, I’m actually taking a sabbatical. And then, well, why do you help me out? I said, why don’t even know what the consultant is, what they do. I know what business consultants in the franchise world does. But then I realized that they were asking me the questions under the management side of the business and the reason I knew how to do it was because I ran a company restaurant, company franchise units in three and four brands. Right. So I actually had the business side from the corporate training for Domino’s. I ran six of three units in three states for Popeye’s. I had the whole company restaurants in Atlanta, you know. And so I had the ability and access to the business systems that the franchise stores utilize in their company units. And so not only did I have the brand systems, but I also had the expertise of the business management systems because we were very disciplined in the company stores. And so with that, I would tell you that 75 percent of the questions I got, if not more, were about that, the management side. And so that’s when I started becoming a consultant. And then and then with time, I realized that the huge need that there was in, rather than going back to the corporate world like it was my original plan, I decided to start teaching and doing programs. And one thing led to another. I say, you know what? Let me just formalize it. And here we go. Three years ago, the American Franchise Academy was born and now we serve franchisees and not only franchisees, but we also have independent business owners that want that discipline systems in their restaurants, in their businesses, so that they can have the systematic results of franchising without being a franchise. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:12:04] So how does it work? I’m a franchisee. I’ve been out there for, I don’t know, two years, three years. You know, I’m doing okay. I’m not really where I am, not doing what I want. Maybe I want to get another store. You know, I come knocking on your door. What are my options? How do you help me? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:12:23] Yeah. First of all, yeah. By the time you come to us, you already know that you want to grow and you you love what you’re doing, but you understand that you’re doing well with the brand. You can make the burgers, the pizzas, the car washes, the, you know, whatever businesses you have. But you are overwhelmed. You’re working seven days a week. You’re working fourteen hours a day. You want to grow. You probably have the cash, but can’t even fathom the idea of having a second store because then you can’t work 24 hours. And that’s when you somehow you find us and you realize that we talk about implementing systematic procedures so that the business can turn into a money making machine. And so you call us is that what do you have? And so what we do have is programs. Well, and by the way, we have them in Spanish and in English. And so this program is a six month program where you do have video, a video classroom, where you can watch the lessons and the videos and download the tools and materials whenever you want. But then once a week, you come to a coaching class with me and we know we have other coaches there with me in which you are now getting your answers to all the questions you have. So you get all the knowledge in a pre recorded session, like a university, like literally like a university. And then you come to the classroom and not only do you have now the ability to ask any question you may have, and now you’re also hearing from other entrepreneurs, all the franchisees, what questions they ask that 90 percent of the time you need the answer anyways and the benefit is just amazing. And so it’s a six month program. If after the six months you already have all the materials, tools, if you still want to continue with the coaching, you can stay longer. Most do because they love the support. Right. So we’ve seen people go from two, three units to seventeen because of you know, because of the knowledge and the systems. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:14:15] Let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back. 

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Gerry Fernandez [00:15:37] Aicha, let me ask a different question. As you know, we’re still in the midst of this pandemic. COVID 19. And no one really knows what the next normal is going to look like. Is this still a good time to get into the restaurant industry? We know we have people saying, hey, so the hospital has been hit so hard. I wonder if you think this is going to impact franchising or the growth of franchising or people wanting to get in the industry. What’s your thoughts on that? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:16:05] You know, I think that the one thing that is constant in our lives. One of the things is food. We all eat, you know, and the way that we bring people, you know, culture to us is by sharing a meal. And I absolutely believe restaurants are still a great way to go. Obviously, you know, having a contingency plan is important. And that’s funny because one of the things that I did was do a contingency plan lesson in November of last year because of hurricanes and things like that. And one of the things that we share with our customers, as soon as I started getting a little bit sense of, well, how well what’s coming is changing our training from just overall systems to just making sure that our businesses were viable. Our mission was to save the business to save the jobs, and that was our mission. Literally every session we started with that mission, save the business, save the business to save the jobs. And we coach our clients, tell your employees, tell everybody that that’s what we’re doing. And everything that you do is going to be for that. So there will be challenging times. But we’ve been through earthquakes, we’ve been through hurricanes. I was in a hurricane in the Bahamas. You know, we’ve been through all kinds of different things now, obviously, this pandemic has been huge. But, you know, you still can put systems in place to keep your business viable. I tell you that not one of my customers, not one is closing in the business. Actually, except for one. But I told him to close it before we even had COVID and he wasn’t listening to me. Finally, it hit and then he finally decided to do the right thing. But he will come back next year. Stronger, better. But everybody else was able to stand because if you have this system, the management knowledge, you know, to bring your business to a viable level, even if it’s breakeven, which is what most of them were up, then you can overcome this and then be standing at the end. And, and Gerry, the opportunities that are happening today between locations, between less competition between the great brands and now have proven themselves through this. Now you can choose better and you can win even faster as soon as, you know, things turn around, which they already are. So absolutely. The restaurant industry will always be a winner. You do need to have innovation. We absolutely have to learn the different channels to increase your revenue delivery, catering, pick up, you know, menu variety, you know, which if you do that and you stand at the end, you’re going to be a big winner. Watch the people that are going to win big. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:18:44] There’s a number of brands out there where their CEOs have told me. He said, Gerry, we have to change things. And because we had to change things, we figured them out and we actually figured them out better than we did before. So sometimes necessity is the mother of invention, which is an old term. I’m not quite sure where it came from, but I understand what it means. When you have to do something, you will figure out a way to do it. So. So let’s move on. You said you do this in English and Spanish. I’m just going to assume that there’s a pretty high percentage of your customers that come from underrepresented groups. So what we’ve always called is minority groups. Is that true? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:19:21] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we serve anybody and everybody is for us, you all entrepreneurs. And we say that we are in the business of protecting the American dream. That’s what we do. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:19:31] Oh, I like that. 

Aicha Bascaro [00:19:32] Yeah. So the American dream of business ownership rights. So we have the American dream of homeownership, we’re protecting the American dream of business ownership. And that’s what we do every day. And yeah, I mean, it happens to be that a lot of minorities that are reaching out for help and I guess because I am maybe because I’m Hispanic, I’m a Latina. They know where they see me on photos and videos. They feel more comfortable. I don’t know. But they definitely are a big part of our clients are minorities. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:20:00] So, look, what percentage of women do you have? Is this a sector that this could add or is or should be more attracted to women? What’s it like for women in franchising? And what’s your experience been with your customers? Do you see, you know, a representative portion of your customers as women? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:20:19] Right. Well, I would say that women are like 10 percent is not that many. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:20:23] Only 10 percent. 

Aicha Bascaro [00:20:24] Yeah. I wish there were more. But I think that represents what the franchise looks like right now. And I don’t know the statistics of that as I spend time teaching, not learning statistics. But I assume that less than 10 percent of franchisee’s and business owners are women. And so mine are about 10 percent. And when they find me, trust me, they are so excited. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:20:48] How do they find you? We certainly hope this podcast is going to help with that. And that’s one of the reasons we asked you to join us. But how do you find them after? Did they find you? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:20:56] Yeah, well, you know, we have a presence in LinkedIn. You know, clearly we also have a presence on Facebook. And what we do is every month we do masterclasses and we alternate English and Spanish. And so we send invitations. You know, we use social media. We still know, we’re still a young company or young organization. We’re in our third year. And the first few years, he was a lot of our referrals and people I knew and they will just, you know, referrals. And so we started getting to the next phase. People going to see a lot more of us now, but we just basically are announcing and then people know when our next masterclass was so that that way they will get a feel for who we are and what we do, you know, and once they do the masterclasses, they get invited into the program and many of them take us up on it. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:21:43] Good, good, good. How long does the masterclass last for? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:21:45] Yeah, it’s a five day, one hour a day master class. And in that, we just go through the top line of all the systems you need to put in place so that you can turn your franchise into a money making machine. And in there we talk about the systems and business management systems that you need to implement so that you cannot only become a successful franchisee, but a successful multi unit franchisee. You know, we say that one franchise unit is a job, which is great if that’s what you want. But a multi unit organization is now an enterprise and only a multiunit organization will provide the financial and time freedom that most of us want. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:22:27] So you have domestic and international business. How do those two businesses differ? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:22:32] Yeah. Our academy doesn’t have borders. As a matter of fact, people that come from other countries benefit from hearing from people in the US and vice versa because it’s a different way of doing things, even though you’d be surprised how much is just the same. You know, as a matter of fact, you know, as we were approaching the COVID situation, the fact that we had much more knowledge in the US, I was able to provide that knowledge to people outside of the US.And however, because of the people outside of the US were able to get insights that we don’t get in the U.S. and ideas and perspectives and ways of doing things and people just the value of joining in that classroom time is amazing. Yeah. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:23:16] So you’ve been in the industry a long time and you. And I’ve known each other for a long time, and I’m so happy to see how well you’re doing. I remember when you first said, Gerry, I’m going to write a book. I’d like to do that, too. Just I didn’t have the time. And you said I’ve taken a sabbatical of doing it. So as a woman, as a Latina. What have been the biggest obstacles, you know, in your career to have to overcome? And do you have any insights for any of the young people that might be listening and not even young people, anyone who’s listening to say, hey, look at I came here from Guatemala and, you know, I had to overcome some of the language barriers, I’m sure. I mean, how were you successful in this industry, even though we have so few women in franchising? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:23:57] Yeah. You know, and I had to say that I have had an amazing career. Gerry, you know, I started to deliver as a delivery person. I became a training specialist. I lived in 14 countries with Domino’s Pizza, opening the first brand in Spain, the first Domino’s in Dominican Republic. I supported massive franchisees across the world and I moved up and then I became a director. I was in charge of regions, I worked for the COO or Domino’s, I worked for the chief operating officer of Popeye’s. You know, I mean, I have had really amazing opportunities. And I’ll tell you that the two major barriers for me have been, like you said, language is one of them. And I would say the other one is cultural. You know, the fact that how we do things and how we, you know, we see things, I think are the two things that I think were the biggest barriers for me. And the things that were really helpful for me was the fact that I took ownership, whatever job I did, whatever franchise of the country I was in, I truly liked my own life. This is my business, this was my business. What would I do? And I think that we need to take responsibility for the language and cultural differences, like I never have waited for somebody else to, you know, accommodate me. I would just have to remember, okay. They see me as different. And so, the way that I behave, the way that I talk is a little different. Right. This space situation, I’ve got to make sure that I keep the space away when we’re hugging and kissing in Latin America. Right. And so I think about it like I would be in the in I literally had a wardrobe for when I went to headquarters, a Domino’s in Michigan and a different wardrobe from when I was working in, you know. Colombia and it’s different. So in Colombia we kiss and hug; when I was in the United States, I will have to keep in mind the business space, you know, and being half Cuban. Right. I am more Cuban than I’m Guatemalan. So I’m very boisterous and loud and, you know, and that sort of thing. And people are like a little, you know, like, okay, wait a second, you know. So I think that, you know, those are the barriers. And, you know, I think that at the same time, you have to know that from the perspective, because if you know that and you are aware of it, you kind of manage it. But at the same time, look for the things that you have come and look at, the things that are the winning things. Right. What are the things that are going to bring it to the next level? And that is for me, ownership of my job. And what I do has been the key for success for me. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:26:23] So Aicha is something we haven’t talked about just yet. And in preparation for this call, one of the staff said, what about the money? You know, I can’t do franchise because I don’t have any money. How do people get into this? If they’re not they don’t have a rich uncle or rich aunt to give them all the cash? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:26:41] Yeah, you know, great question. I mean, you don’t need to have some money. You don’t have to have all the money. And that’s one of the things that we actually share for those people that join the masterclasses. There isn’t a bonus session on access to capital. And one of the things that you need to know is that, you know, if you have like 20 percent, if you have been, you know, professional, make sure you know that you have saved a little bit of money here and there, like planning for it. I mean, I teach my kids about, you know, financial intelligence since they were seven years old. But with time and commitment, if you start saving money, if you have 20 percent of the capital, you need to acquire franchise banks in small amounts. You know, the SBA is Mobile’s ministry. We’ll support you on getting those loans. So access to capital, believe it or not, is one of the lesser challenges. Assuming you’ve done the basic needs. Right. And you took care of your credit score and all those things, that’s important, you know. And so really, 20 percent now, 20 percent of what? I mean, if you’re going to buy a Dairy Queen, right. That’s one point five million depending on if you have the location. But there are mini franchise or micro franchises that you can’t get into to start. And it doesn’t cost a million dollars. Right. It costs $200,000-300,000. And if you only have you know, if you can save enough and be, you know, diligent to get to a 20 percent of that, then you will be able to get the cash for the rest. And so it is possible. You just need to know this. And many people, Gerri, sadly, they don’t. They somehow think that they need to have a million dollars, you know, but you really don’t. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:28:13] Well, there were other reasons why people don’t see themselves in franchising. And one of my one of our customers was talking about his mentor group he’s got, you know, young Latino boys that are in this. And they don’t think that this is a place for them, that this couldn’t be that people don’t want them. Is that a legitimate barrier to business that people don’t want you? Isn’t it really just about how hard you work and showing up and being authentic and caring about people? Address that if you could.

Aicha Bascaro [00:28:39] There is a significant amount of marketing investment being done by all brands trying to reach minorities today and 20 years ago. Right. It’s always a part, OK? They do the marketing plan for attracting minority franchisees and a certain amount is to make sure that they can reach those people. Right. And so no brands want to grow. They don’t care what color you are. They want to grow. What they do care about is. Are you going to be somebody that will protect their brand and that will manage it well and be successful because they don’t want to have people that are not successful because it makes them look bad. Right. So absolutely, they do want you, you know, in the moment that you are on the stand and hear me like you are listening to this, please. No, if you are a minority, they do want you in the moment that you hear and you really believe this. Trust me, you’re going to see evidence that that’s the case. You know, you just had to do your part and your part is take care of your finances. Your credit score matters, you know, save some money. And believe me, they might even have special programs for people like you. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:29:47] Well, that’s good and that’s helpful. I know that there were a lot of things that I had to learn the hard way. And I had mentors and people that helped me along the way. Who were some of your mentors and how did they influence your career? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:29:59] You know, I have been so lucky and blessed on that. And I would tell you that pretty much every boss I ever had was a mentor to me. Even the bad ones, by the way. And this is where you need to understand that things don’t happen to you, but they happen for you. Right. And even from the time I was a pizza delivery driver, my manager. Right. The manager of the unit allowed me to do inventory. Allowed me to do you know, the paperwork, you know. And he did that because maybe he was a little lazy, I don’t know. Or he knew that I wanted to do it. But he taught me. Right. Right. And so I didn’t want to fold boxes all day long. I was what was considered the day driver. All I had to do was fold boxes and deliver pizzas. I’m like, no way. Anyway, so every boss I learned from every boss along the way. Very few bad bosses. I have my favorites. Obviously, I am actually a Latina. She was the vice president for Latin America, for Domino’s. And I was working underneath her when I was traveling, you know, the you know, the world working for her. And she was my lifeline to the world. And she was and she was a supporter. And, you know, Francisca Fernandes is her name. She was amazing, you know. So I had people that not only that I learned from, but they had people that actually supported me. And you know, they are COO at Dominoes. When I worked there for four years, he gave me the degree, the title of Director of flawless execution. And he said, Aicha if you ever wonder what your job is, read your business card. So I literally for four years, I was a director of flawless execution for company operations and Franchise operations at the headquarters of Domino’s. Right. And he was not you know, he was not a minority, but he believed in me. He trusted me. And I stepped up, I stepped up, you know? 

Gerry Fernandez [00:31:53] Well, that’s that’s the beauty of our business. It’s a people business. And if you do your part and show up and show that you’re willing to work hard, you want to learn. And I like to say a couple of things that you said, you know, as it comes and brings this time to a close. What advice do you have for young people getting started in their career in franchising? What do you think they should be doing? If I’m getting out of school now, I’m early in my career. One day I want to be a franchise. But what should I be doing now to prepare myself for the future? 

Aicha Bascaro [00:32:21] Yeah. I wish people said that they want to be one franchisee. I think it just happens eventually that they realize that that’s a better way to do it. Right. I would say, you know what? If you really want to, then you need to behave as such, you know? So if you really want to be successful, you need to behave successfully from day one. Right. And what you do today will matter. Ten years from now. I mean, so many opportunities came to me without me even knowing my reputation precedes me. I was invited to join and support the corporate, the new COO or a Domino’s when I was in the Bahamas. But because people knew me and they called me and said, hey, would you come to Michigan and help us? Literally, I did the orientation for the new COO. He came from a different background. And at that point, I had left the Bahamas Corporation. Anyways, long story, but my reputation precedes me. What you do today, people will know tomorrow and that’s going to be very important. And so that would be number one. Take care of your finances. Don’t be irresponsible. You have to be responsible because that will affect your future. Save money, save money, because that will give you that key money, that entry money is a key for the lock. Right. Because you can have access to the rest of it. If you have done all these three things, then, you know, just have fun. Business-owning is amazing- I mean, I have fun every day, Gerry. I love what I do. I love delivering pizzas. I love helping franchisees. I love making pizzas. I mean, what I love being able to be with people and make a difference in their lives. You know, and I love looking at PNL. I mean, I just love it. I think it’s fun. It’s not a job. It’s fun. And if you see it that way, then you’re going to do a great job, you know? And so that’s what I say. Do what you love or what’s in that book? Do what you love, money will come. It is so true. It is so true. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:34:12] Well, listen, you remind me of how and why we first hit it off when I met you so many years ago at the Women’s FoodService farm. You sound like you just still have just as much fun today as you were then. You make me want to join you. So let me let me summarize what we covered today and then we’ll bring a session to close. I like the way you started off. You said that you failed first, that you tried to do the business thing on your own, not franchise didn’t work out. So good luck that you stumbled sometimes on opportunities to stumble, stumbled onto the franchising the pizza delivery thing, which started out as a shit job, ended up being, you know, multiple year career changing event. You talk about the benefits of franchising is buying a proven brand and you get products, services, image and marketing, but you don’t get what you teach at the academy is the business systems management and the people management and the cost control, all the stuff that helps you squeeze dollars out of your restaurant. So that’s why I think your academy, such as smart, smart and a good move not only for you, but for people who go through it. So it teaches them how to make money. And the big challenge you said you had in your career was language and culture. But the good news is you get over it and then you can get over these things if you take ownership, as you said, and responsibility. Don’t wait for people to come to you. You go to them and play offense. Access to capital is there, so there’s money out there if you want it. But don’t go to the bank with nothing in your hands that is saving your money? You might, you know, save your 401k and might even be able to leverage that to get into businesses. But brands want to grow and they are minority friendly. I love this. You said things don’t happen to you. They happen for you. You know, that’s an opportunity for us to take these good things and leave the bad things, as you said, with your bad bosses to make that all work. I’m going to call you the director of flawless execution from now on. I think this is such such a wonderful way to think about your work. And if you want to be successful, you need to begin to behave successfully. These are good insights for young people or even people who are career changing. And if you want to get it right, you build your reputation one meeting at a time. The last thing that you said was what you do now makes a difference. You build your reputation, take care of the money, take care of your money, save your money. The football players call it taking care of your paper and have fun. I’ve loved my career. I love this industry. You can have a ton of fun. I’ve had a ton of fun with you. Aicha, it’s great to see you again. I’m looking forward to maybe sitting in on one of your master classes, and I wish you nothing but the best as we go forward. 

Aicha Bascaro [00:36:57] Thank you. I really appreciate it, Gerry. I love being able to share my thoughts. And I know, I really appreciate you. I met you at my first Women’s Foodservice Forum session. You were sitting next to Cat Cole. And I just came in and I said, every session I go in, this is part of the, you know, my last little bit. When I went to that conference, I said, in every session that I go, I will raise my hand and ask the question. And that’s how when we connect that, I think that’s when you and Cat approached me after I asked the question is funny how I just said I’m going to go and make the most out of this opportunity, because he was amazing way for me to open my eyes to a whole new world after being with dominance for 15, 18 years. It was the first time I saw so many people in different brands anyway. So raise your hand and do something because then doors will open. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:37:47] Wow. You are absolutely right. They’re going to take control of your career. You know, I have my email signature, a quote from a Frenchman. Voltaire says, Judge a man or a woman by their questions, not by their answers. So we got to know each other by asking good questions and not being afraid. Again, as I said, I wish you all the best. We’re going to do all we can help promote this. And I hope to have you back on another time in the future. So thanks, Aicha. Have a great day. We’ll talk to you. One more thing. 

Aicha Bascaro [00:38:16] Yeah. Yeah, one more thing. If you’re anybody’s interested in the masterclass. All you need to do is go to franchise master class dot com. And in there you will see when the next one is because we always have a next one coming. So just go to franchise master class dot com. And then you will be able to see when the next one is. And hopefully you can join us. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:38:36] Great, great franchise, master class dot com. So there you have it, A Seat at the Table this week. Our guest was Aicha Bascaro, the founder and CEO of the American Franchise Academy. I look forward to seeing you all next time. Take care. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:38:55] That’s our show for today. Special thanks to our listeners. And thank you for taking a seat at the table with us today. If you found our show to be valuable, please share with your network and leave us a five star review on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. As that helps more people find the show, you can also subscribe for free so that you never miss an episode. A seat at the table is brought to you by the Multicultural FoodService and Hospitality Alliance, and it’s produced by Dante32. 

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