Marrybrown Invites Franchisees To Share Its Success

26 DECEMBER 2007 - BUSINESS TIMES

Marrybrown's success stems from brand positioning, that is to always be different, says its group managing director

"I DON'T want others to go through my experience," said a local successful franchisor of fast-food restaurants.

Marrybrown group managing director Nancy Liew said she went through various challenges in the initial years of establishing and operating Marrybrown fast-food outlets as she had no experience in food business.

"We went through expensive learning curve (but) later, we found out that franchising is the best way to expand business.

"I don't want people to go through my experience, without proper research and knowledge on products," Liew told Business Times in an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

Liew and her husband, Lawrence Liew, founded Marrybrown in Johor Baru 26 years ago. They started franchising their business five years later, in 1986.

After establishing a strong foothold in Malaysia, Marrybrown spread its wings abroad. Today, it has presence in 11 countries, namely China, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Syria and Iran.

Marrybrown now has about 250 outlets, of which half of them are in Malaysia and the remaining outside Malaysia.

Liew, a strong advocate for franchise, is inviting aspiring entrepreneurs to be Marrybrown franchisees.

"Franchise is a way of doing business in future. I want to develop Marrybrown business together with other entrepreneurs, local and foreign," she said.

According to Liew, it is costlier to develop a system from scratch than buy a franchise.

For Liew, success is not only about making money.

"Success for an entrepreneur is not only in making money but also in helping others and seeing your outlets all over the world," she said.

She always encourages Marrybrown restaurant managers and area managers to quit their jobs and open their own franchise outlets.

She said Marrybrown franchise has a 90 per cent success rate.

In franchise business, the success rate is 90 per cent, while the remaining 10 per cent is due to other factors, mostly people and locations, Liew said.

"People problems arise when a franchisee is not fully committed, and when this happens, even the best system cannot run.

"Location, meanwhile, is the utmost importance in business," she explained.

Marrybrown franchise outlets can be found in shopping malls, hypermarkets, theme parks, hospitals, bus terminals and universities.

Liew said Marrybrown's concept is based on fun-and-exciting eating-out experience for the whole family.

When Marrybrown goes abroad, about 20 per cent of the items on its menu will be localised according to the individual country.

Even the portion of the food, its presentation and flavour are also adjusted to meet the local taste.

Marrybrown has 10 departments to support its franchisees, which include research and development to improve the products.

Liew attributed Marrybrown's franchise success to serving only halal-compliant products in Malaysia and abroad; strong 26-year track record; superior quality products; good franchise system; unique concept and branding; and aggressive marketing and advertising strategies.

"Our success also stems from brand positioning, that is to always be different," she said, adding that the company always strives to come out with a unique restaurant concept and innovative products.