When Franchisee Amol Kasaju landed his first job in Australia as a housekeeper at Quest Caroline Springs in Melbourne’s west, never did he think it would be his first step to becoming a business owner.
“Natalie provided me with exposure to other aspects of running an apartment hotel business. I was instantly fascinated, and felt such alignment with the Quest values. Very quickly, I could see myself working within the group for the long term,” explains Amol. Natalie continued to mentor Amol, who rose rapidly through the ranks to become Property Manager. In early 2018, the pair formed a partnership to take on the Quest Werribee franchise business, providing Amol with his first foray into business ownership, and giving Natalie the opportunity to become a multi-unit franchisee and consolidate market share in Melbourne’s west.
With over 10 years business ownership experience, Natalie says that one of the things she finds most rewarding is bringing a smile to the face of her guests. “I’m a people pleaser! And I love getting good feedback about the experience they’ve had at Quest Caroline Springs,” remarks Natalie.
“Most guests who stay with us do so because they need to be here for work. Sometimes it is just the little things – like leaving their favourite chocolate in their apartment – that can make a huge difference to their day,” Natalie continues.
Beyond the satisfaction of delivering an effortless guest experience, the freedom of being able to financially support their families is also a hugely rewarding aspect of being a Quest franchise business owner for both Natalie and Amol.
However, the duo acknowledge that with reward comes a lot of hard work. The global pandemic has presented many challenges. Reflects Natalie: “As business owners, it’s often been a case of having to do anything and everything – working the morning shifts, cleaning rooms, checking in guests at reception. We’ve survived and we’re still smiling. If anything, what we’ve had to endure has helped me find a new passion for our industry.
Adds Amol: “I think we’ll look back and cherish the memories of this time. It’s helped us to realign our priorities, taught us to do things differently, and apply our new learnings as we move forward.”
Both Natalie and Amol are quick to mention the support offered by Quest Corporate Office, and their dedicated Franchise Relationship Manager (FRM) in operating their business. “Our FRM is just a phone call away, and is a great resource in sharing knowledge and helping us manage the relationship with our landlords,” explains Natalie.
The nation-wide network of Quest franchisees are also there to lean on as Amol comments: “We can reach out and talk to other Quest franchise business owners, brainstorm ideas and discuss issues.”
For prospective Quest franchisees, Natalie and Amol have sound advice: “Don’t come with the mindset that you invest and the business will run itself. You have to be involved, work in the business, be responsible for making decisions and build a good team around you,” explains Amol.
Adds Natalie: “You have to do your homework, understand you will have to wear a lot of hats, and you need to have the passion to be a genuine people person. You are given a solid template model to follow, but there is the flexibility to get creative, think outside the box and really immerse yourself in the local community.”