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Advice From Multi-Unit Franchisees: Anchal Lamba, Gong cha

Lamba quickly learned the best strategies for maintaining brand consistency across multiple locations as a multi-unit franchisee. Now, she oversees nearly 160 Gong cha locations.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
8:08AM 06/16/24

Anchal Lamba began her journey with Gong cha in 2014. Starting with a four-state deal, she rapidly expanded her influence and operations, securing the rights to develop locations across 13 states. As a master franchisee, she now oversees close to 160 stores, eight of which are her own and the rest of which are managed by her franchisees.

For those considering transitioning from single-unit franchising to multi-unit ownership, Lamba emphasized the importance of maintaining brand consistency across multiple locations, a challenge she faced early on. 

"When you start to grow in those beginning stages, the hardest thing for myself was just keeping that brand consistency and standardization from the multiple locations that I had at that time," she explains. 

However, she overcame this challenge with a solid team, robust training programs and clear communication channels, all of which ensure the smooth operation of her vast network of stores.

1851 Franchise spoke with Lamba about her experience as a multi-unit franchisee to glean her advice for other entrepreneurs with a similar goal. 

1851 Franchise: Tell us a little about your background and your experience in franchising.

Anchal Lamba: I started with Gong cha back in 2014. It’s been 10 years that I’ve been with the brand. As a master franchisee, I have the rights to develop and sub franchise locations in the states I oversee. I actually have 13 states where I have these rights. They include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida, Texas and Oklahoma. 

When I signed with Gong cha in 2014, we actually signed a four-state deal at that time and then we expanded. The intention was always to grow and develop with multiple units, whether through corporate stores that we owned or through franchising.

1851 Franchise: What was the biggest challenge you faced when growing to multi-unit ownership?

Lamba: I think in the beginning stages, the hardest thing was maintaining brand consistency and standardization across multiple locations. You can’t be in every store at the same time, so you really need a solid team that you can trust and that is well-trained. When you have one location, all eyes are on it, and you can correct problems as they arise. With multiple units, it’s harder. You have to trust your team to avoid consistency issues.

1851 Franchise: What strategies or methods do you recommend for multi-unit franchise owners to keep quality consistent?

Lamba: Definitely a strong team is crucial. I have close to 160 stores operating within the 13 states, mostly through my franchisees. Having a strong team to support my franchisees and the stores I own is very important because I can’t be there all the time. On top of that, having a solid operation, including reliable training programs, is key. If franchisees learn the correct way to operate a store from the beginning, it will help their future success. Poor training can lead to operational issues, so ensuring all team members and franchisees are properly trained is the best representation of the brand. As a franchise owner, I have eight locations myself. 

1851 Franchise: When evaluating a franchise opportunity, what advice would you give to potential franchisees? What should they be looking for in a franchisor?

Lamba: If someone is looking at new franchising opportunities, I think the number one thing is to find a brand that really speaks to you. As a franchisee, you have to be dedicated to the brand and believe in what you’re offering to your guests and customers. If a customer is happy with their experience, they will return. This stems from how dedicated you are and how well everything is established at your location. Find a brand you can be 100% dedicated to because it becomes a part of your life. The stores are open seven days a week, and even though I love my weekends, I often stop by locations I’m near to make sure everything is okay.

I’ve been doing this for 10 years and have put my heart and soul into growing our brand presence in the 13 states I have. It really takes up a lot of time, growing the team and managing the business. I’m 100% dedicated to Gong cha.

1851 Franchise: Any other thoughts or advice you would like to share?

Lamba: I think having a team that oversees multiple units is crucial. Another strong quality is clear communication with your team members. It’s helpful to have a clear plan for seasonal launches, food safety guidelines, and other aspects of the business. Clear communication channels are very helpful.

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