While some FranchiseCanada Show attendees are completely new to the world of franchising, others are industry veterans looking for new opportunities. When he attended the FranchiseCanada Show in 2012, Zafar Ahmad had already operated and worked for several franchises. “When I moved to Canada over 20 years ago, I was interested in opening a business but I knew if I opened it on my own, it would be very tough,” says Ahmad, citing North America’s love of brands.

No stranger to the world of franchising, Ahmad has been to many franchise shows over the years. It was at the FranchiseCanada Show in Toronto in 2012 where he met with representatives from his current franchise business, Druxy’s Famous Deli. Already familiar with the Druxy’s brand, he decided to stop by their booth even though he was there to research a different franchise.

“I told them the type of location I was interested in and said if it came up, I’d be interested.”The following spring, Ahmad opened his Druxy’s store in Rouge Valley Hospital Ajax/Pickering. Ahmad says his favourite part of being a Druxy’s franchisee is the support he gets from head office. Having been a franchisee with systems of various sizes, he likes that Druxy’s is a smaller, family-run franchise where he can contact the owners at any time. “If I need something, I can talk directly to the owner of the company,” he explains. “I don’t have to wait or get passed on to different people. We get direct help from them and they’re very prompt.”

He is also a big fan of the product. “Druxy’s is famous for their sandwiches. People love the way we make them,” he says, noting the brand’s use of traditional deli meats like brisket, corned beef and smoked meat. “Nothing is pre-made. We make everything in front of the customer. Not many people are doing that these days.”

Ahmad’s advice to prospective franchisees is to investigate multiple franchise opportunities. “Don’t just go for one,” he stresses, although he recommends narrowing your search by focusing on a specific industry. “Study the kind of business you’re interested in and focus on franchises in that industry; there are many types of franchises on the market. Research a few companies before going to the FranchiseCanada Show.”

For those interested in the food industry, he says professionalism is key. “In the food business, we cannot compromise on quality, service and cleanliness; those three things are very important.”

Regardless of the industry, he says all franchisees should follow the franchisor’s proven system. “What they’re telling you is very important. They’re giving you instructions to succeed in the business,” he says. “I always follow their instructions; they know better than I do and they can provide me with the tools to make my business better.”