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Costa Anastasiadis: Franchising Crust Gourmet Pizza Bars

It was a combination of gut feel and knowing what was happening that led Costa Anastasiadis to the open his first Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar in Annandale, Sydney. After opening four more stores, Anastasiadis invested in a proper franchising model. Today Crust Gourmet Pizza Bars have 17 stores operating under the franchise model across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

DB: What helped you most in getting your business off the ground?
CA: I’d say the local environment and the fact we had a very cutting edge idea at the time. Seven or eight years ago, pizzas were made behind the closed doors of shops – you couldn’t see what was going on with your product. So, we opened up a store in a local environment where the people that were living in Annandale – eating, commuting to and from would and so on, would walk past our store and get this visual display.
DB: What risks were involved?
CA: The biggest risk for us at the time was financial, We had a lot to lose from doing this. Also, trying to really get a system that worked was quite a challenge. We went from a bar/bistro model to a takeaway; which two very different models.
DB: What are the major challenges?
CA: You are constantly dealing with emotions of different people and your franchisees. The relationships you have with franchisees are crucial – they can make or break your business.

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