We sat down with Imran Mamud, Founder and Managing Director of Rooster Shack, to find out more about the ambitious entrepreneur’s franchising journey so far.
Why did you decide to set up Rooster Shack?
I decided to setup Rooster Shack because when I would go out with friends, I always found that we all wanted different things to eat. One wanted some flame-grilled chicken, the other wanted a flame-grilled beef burger and there was always one that just wanted a milkshake! We always ended up going to different restaurants through the night, which was great but kind of exhausting. That’s when it clicked; why not bring all of those great tasting flavours under one roof? And not just mediocre flavours either – the very best flavours you’ll find. So here I am now, having left my corporate job behind me and doing what I love most.
You left the world of pharmaceuticals for the food industry – what prompted you to shift your career focus?
During my pharmaceutical career, I travelled a lot, both across the UK and internationally. During my travels I came across some unique street food from different parts of the world. I noticed that both fresh ingredients and great customer service were always the focus in these places. When I returned, I realised I never really found that combination in the UK from quick service outlets. It seemed most quick service places in the UK failed to focus on both elements. So in 2013, I decided that, one day, I wanted to design a quick service concept that would offer good quality food, great service and good pricing.
How did you begin growing Rooster Shack’s presence?
For me it was all about the food quality. From the very beginning we made everything in house – all of our sauces we serve on the chicken were even made fresh daily. This is what got customers talking and we gradually became the go-to place in Woking for Piri Piri chicken. Over time, I worked on the menu in order to create the perfect blend of items so that customers would choose this as their favourite place to eat. We started to notice momentum was picking up, so I started working on Rooster Shack’s social media platforms, which gave us a boost in sales overnight. Next, we won the Good Food award 2020; from then on we were the talk around town.
Why did franchising Rooster Shack appeal to you?
Franchising the brand appealed to me because I noticed a gap in market for quick-service, quality food. From customer feedback I quickly realised we could grow Rooster Shack and replicate what we have in Woking across the UK. Rooster Shack’s main focus is on customer service and what I found was that most quick service concepts do not offer that high-quality customer service. I didn’t want this to be the case with Rooster Shack; the brand will maintain its focus on service and quality, and I believe it’s why it’s successful.
What do you look for in a franchisee?
Owning a franchise means you have the chance to build a valuable asset for yourself and your family. As such, it requires your full attention and the drive to succeed. There is nothing in our operating model that cannot be quickly learnt. However, a natural inclination towards managing people, commercial sense and willingness to put in the effort, especially in the first 12 months of operation, are welcome qualities.
What does a typical day in your role look like?
The day starts early; preparation is key for me. The team ensure that cooking is done before opening, then the doors open and the day starts. It’s great fun at the Shack because you meet so many different people. It’s an extremely fast-paced environment, as the team will be dealing with customers wanting a takeaway and home delivery at the same time. To sum it up, a day in the Shack is never the same; it’s fun and fast-paced all the time.
How has the Covid-19 crisis impacted the franchise? Has it taught you anything valuable?
When Covid emerged it made everyone feel nervous, and we didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately, we were allowed to remain open and 2020 has actually been the best year so far in sales for the Shack. The fact that we offered both home delivery and a takeaway service has been key during this time. Both Woking and Aldershot stores have become the go-to places for local residents. Due to the amount of orders we served, we quickly adapted to an even faster paced environment and learnt to work more rapidly whilst still maintaining quality.
How would you like to develop Rooster Shack over the next five years?
We are looking to grow steadily with the right partners to take our successful model to other locations throughout the UK. After all, the potential is immense, as our concept fits any suburban location across the country both offer and price-wise. If, in the process, we receive more industry recognition with other awards, we won’t complain!
Is there anything you would like to add?
Rooster Shack appeals to all sorts of individuals, from families to young professionals to students to local businesses. This is what makes us so popular among the masses. I strongly believe our brand will be well suited to lots of locations across the UK.