HOW BEING A POSITIVE MENTOR HAS TAKEN THIS FRANCHISEE TO GREAT HEIGHTS.
Janette Slonimski – Oporto franchisee in Melbourne CBD, Victoria
Working with young people in the QSR industry can be challenging. However, franchise owner Janette Slonimski has managed to guide several crew members to bigger and better things. Janette’s mentoring has been so influential that she’s helped turn the life around of one crew member in particular who last year was awarded the Craveable Brands’ Employee of the Year Award. Here she also talks about her own inspirations which have helped her business succeed.
Janette, tell us how you came to be at Oporto?
I held various corporate finance roles then joined Oporto in 2002 by opening the Chapel Street store. We were only the second Oporto store to open in Melbourne back then. I was there for nine years before buying the Melbourne central store. My step-brother actually inspired me to become a franchisee as he also owned an outlet. Initially, I only worked part-time but soon realised I needed to be there full-time to grow the business.
What’s been your proudest moment?
So, I’ve had my fair share of challenging crew members over the years! However, I mentored them as best I could and didn’t give up on them. Now they thank me for teaching them what they had to do to survive in the workforce. Last year, The Employee of the Year Award was won by a crew member at my store. I’m just so proud of this person and how my mentorship has had a positive effect on all the staff. The change I have seen in this employee since he’s joined my team has been incredible. He’s now my top supervisor and has come such a long way. The confidence in him warms my heart and has helped drive the success of my business. I’m also proud of having our efforts recognized at the Craveable Awards last year.
PERFECTIONIST| HONEST| HARD-WORKING
Have you yourself benefited from a mentor?
Yes, it was my first boss who said – if you’re going to do something, do it properly or don’t bother. That’s always stuck in my mind, to do my best and not lie when you don’t know something. I think you also need to work from the heart, not just from the pocket. If you care, it’s going to come. If you only care about the dollars, it won’t come. I try to impart that to my crew.
What lessons have you learnt from past challenges?
My mum passed away when I was young and that really changed my path. I learnt to be independent quickly and to make things work for myself, taking on responsibility for my decisions. Although being a perfectionist isn’t always great because you can be very tough on yourself!
Some people are hesitant to take on a franchisee if they’ve never owned a business before, what’s your take on that?
I actually think the most suited person to be a franchisee owner is someone who doesn’t have a huge amount of business experience because you’re not bringing in too many preconceived notions. You also get all the training required and the support network to support you in your journey. I think it’s more important to have a real passion for the food.
Franchise industry situation
What do you think about the negative rap the franchise industry has received in the media?
I’m disappointed by what I’ve read as it doesn’t paint the true picture. You simply won’t have a successful business if you don’t run it properly and it’s very easy for a select few to blame others for any failings. The reality is you are the one who is ultimately responsible for your own success. I was also astounded to read that Oporto supposedly doesn’t listen to people’s concerns, especially as our network has always been extremely open and present!
How are you feeling about the future?
Very positive – I can see the business growing and we have a great CEO, Craig Tozer, who’s already done amazing things for the business and is challenging us. If we all work together, we’ll achieve the same end result.
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