HOW A FATEFUL VISIT TO AN OPORTO STORE CHANGED THE DESTINY OF A SIBERIAN ENGINEER.
Oporto franchisee in Kings Cross (Sydney), NSW
Having studied to be an engineer in his native Siberia, Ming Jones never guessed he’d one day be running his own Oporto store in Kings Cross. Despite a successful career in logistics in Sydney and across NSW, it was a chance visit to an Oporto store that set Ming on his new path.
Having narrowly dodged death several times, Ming decided to embrace new challenges and is now living life to the full operating his own successful business.
Ming Jones is an interesting name – what’s your background?
I’m actually from Siberia in Russia – I’m one-eighth Chinese and one-eighth Mongolian. My surname is actually Zhong but a lot of people don’t know how to pronounce it or pronounce it incorrectly, so I changed it to Jones as it actually has the same pronunciation as Zhong.
The reason I came to Australia in 2004 was to study for a Master’s Degree in Engineering. I wasn’t planning on staying and expected to return to my family who mostly were still in Siberia. However, I fell in love with the ocean and I love fishing. I’ve now been married for seven years and have a two-year old son and lots of relatives living here. My parents visit for three months each year but can’t seem to get used to the weather!
You must have faced a few challenges here?
Actually, day to day it was fine. I learnt to be independent and support myself making my own money instead of relying on my family to give me everything. However, soon after moving here I nearly lost my life several times. I was irresponsible and had two near-fatal car accidents. That really made me understand how precious life is and ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. It made me fearless and not afraid to take on new challenges.
So what did you initially do after you completed your Master’s Degree?
I became a major contractor doing logistics work for seven years. I was very successful and considered to be the best contractor in NSW. Unfortunately, as the years went on it just wasn’t profitable, so I decided to change careers joining Oporto in March 2017.
EASY- GOING | DETERMINED | FAMILY-ORIENTED
What was it that appealed about Oporto?
When I first got here I didn’t know anything about the brand. One day I decided to try a meal at Oporto in Sydney’s Strathfield Plaza and was hooked! I guess it was fate – I just loved the special chili sauce and the chicken was the best – so tender with such a unique flavor. It was when I began thinking maybe one day I could have my own store – then I could have the chili sauce anytime I wanted! I also believe a business in the food industry will always have good opportunities as everyone has to eat.
Being part of the Oporto familia…
What does it take to be a successful Oporto franchisee?
As my uncle always said – embrace everything with positivity. Secondly, you need to know everything about your business so you can solve any problems. You also need to have good relationships with your team. These are the people who run the store when you’re not there and if they’re happy they’ll do a good job. Lastly, take the time to get to know your local community so you know what they want. We do a lot for our local police force – I have always offered them a 50 per cent discount as well as to other local businesses. If you want to succeed in an area you need to look after the people.
What’s your take on some of the negative feedback the franchise industry has been getting?
For me it hasn’t had any impact on my business and seems to be more of an individual problem. It’s not a company issue and doesn’t mean the whole business and system has a problem on account of a few franchisees.
Would you recommend Oporto to people looking to potential franchisees?
Definitely. Oporto look after you really well. Everyone from the business consultant I’ve worked with to training teams have been amazing and have been a part of why I’m successful today.
Find out more about our current franchising opportunities and become a successful Oporto store owner – Keep reading!