Included under the roof of the convenience store will be space for 3 or 4 other shops. We will not manage these, but will lease out space to them. There will probably be a cell phone shop and a chicken parts(head, necks, feet, etc) shop along with 1 or 2 others. Kentucky Fried Chicken has agreed to put a franchise location right behind our filling station, which will draw even more traffic to the area. KFC is a very popular restaurant around here. There are 2 of them within a couple miles of each other in the small rural town that we live near.
There will be a couple of managers that will be in charge of the day to day operations of our business. Once it is up and running, my role will be to work with suppliers and employees and handle any emergencies that come up. I am planning on having to work about 20-25 hrs per week.
Currently we are waiting for the final approval from the South African Department of Minerals and Energy for our retail license. We planned on having this approval a couple of months ago with construction being underway when we arrived here, but there have been a couple of delays. Some of the planning for this site was done a couple of years ago and legislation has changed since then, causing us to have to redo some things. Lately, it seems as though the people working on our application are bored and trying to find small issues with our paperwork in order to stay busy. Last week 2 questions were raised about the ownership structure of the businesses involved and about the forecasted profits. Apparently they didn’t understand how all of the parties involved are set up, even though they’ve been provided with complete breakdowns in the past. Then their numbers for forecasted cash flow and profits didn’t match what was provided them in our business plan. Meetings to clear up those points are supposed to be happening at the end of this week.
One very frustrating thing is that the DME will not meet directly with the applicants/business owners, only the consultants hired by us who put together the application. So instead of answering all questions that come up right away at each meeting, the consultants need to contact us(really just my partner at this point) to get clarification and then they need to schedule another meeting with the DME people. So we basically lose 1-2 weeks each time something is questioned. Probably not terribly different than what we’d experience in the US, but still very frustrating. The head of the DME has visited the site in the past with my partner and was excited about the project and was good with it proceeding once all the application details are worked out.
So at this point, I don’t have any work related activities that I can do for the business. Hopefully after the meetings this week, no further questions will come up and we can get the final go ahead. Then my role will be to source and write up contracts with suppliers for all of the convenience store items, along with talking with potential tenants for the other shops under our roof. Our partner will be busy with the construction process as his separate development company is responsible for the building of the structure and putting in tanks and pumps.
Further updates to follow…