Cheesecake Shop multi-store owner

The Cheesecake Shop franchisee rockets into multi-store ownership

Sarah Stowe

Shappy Khurmi has just become The Cheesecake Shop’s newest multi-store owner! And in typical entrepreneurial style he is opening not one but two extra stores within a couple of weeks of each other.

Admittedly the intense opening period is due in part to construction delays.

But let’s rewind. Shappy bought his first franchise nearly five years ago in Stanhope Gardens in Greater Western Sydney. 

Seizing the opportunity for multi-store ownership

He had already put down a deposit for the Box Hill store which he owns with a partner when the corporate-owned kiosk at Thornleigh became available. 

“I just took over the Thornleigh store, and will open Box Hill in two weeks,” he says. “If the opportunity comes you grab it,” he says.

Making the most of an opportunity is second nature to him. Shappy came with his parents to Australia from India in 2006 and studied hospitality management. He then spent 10 years in restaurants, learning the trade and gaining valuable experience. 

Then he quit hospitality because he saw the potential to develop a jewellery business with his father, a trained jeweller.

It was a friend’s recommendation that he look at The Cheesecake Shop as a business opportunity that spurred him to take the next step.

“We got a recommendation, there was a shop for sale very close to home, and we liked what we saw.”

The Cheesecake Shop new multi-store owners work together

Shappy and his wife Mannu liked the capacity for flexible hours and that they could both work in the business. 

“Luckily we work together well! Mannu is more at the front, she is very picky about the showcase. I’m more at the back, in production,” he says.

Shappy manages the operations processes but is keen to empower staff to take responsibility for their roles.

He recently hired a staff member with IT skills to take on the technical processes. He has one baker and a cake decorator. Each of the staff reports to him.

“I’ve done all the roles so I know what’s involved, how much we can do in a day,” he says.

Shappy relies on checklists, clear delegation, and staff reporting back to effectively manage his team. 

He has just hired four casual staff for Thornleigh, and will manage and move staff between the other two sites as needed.

Bucking the trend of staff shortages in hospitality, Shappy says it isn’t hard to get employees. 

“We are paying well,” he says. 

Customer service and community

While the cake decorator role requires certain skills, for front counter staff it is all about customer service. And he believes at it’s heart that is as simple as just talking to the customer.

The business offers a menu of delicious cakes, from everyday to celebration, and there’s plenty of opportunity for growing the business, Shappy says.

“The Cheesecake Shop is about community. There are lots of Indians in this area and everyone loves cakes. If you’re a family of four that’s a minimum of four birthday cakes a year.”

Seasonal and cultural celebrations are great opportunities for custom cake orders too.

“We are still growing the custom cakes business, it is mostly word of mouth.”

Shappy reveals the biggest orders he and his team have fulfilled have been worth thousands of dollars.

“We use the same ingredients as the standard cakes but we can create the designs. We have very good decorators working for us, we can do anything!”

He says cakes remain a popular treat that people will still purchase in a tough economy. 

“They can cut down other things, but cakes are a celebration,” he says. 

New Cheesecake Shop multi-store owners already had the number one store

Shappy and Mannu are doing well financially and were pleased with a recent visit from The Cheesecake Shop’s managing director.

“Stanhope has been the number one store in New South Wales. He was really pleased with what we’re doing and asked me what we need. I’m very positive about the support from head office,” he says.

Shappy and Mannu have built up a strong, high performing business, and are steaming ahead with their new stores. For the immediate future Shappy will work at the Box Hill store twice a week while Mannu will manage Stanhope. 

Longer term, the big plans are more personal.

“I’m planning to retire at 45, I’ve got eight more years. I want to own two or three more stores with The Cheesecake Shop, then step back and work part time. We want to travel.”