Cheesecake Shop happy franchisee

The Cheesecake Shop is a slice of happiness for franchisee Sajida Perveen

Sarah Stowe

“Our customers are happy. It’s a business where we can make people happy and it’s satisfying,” says The Cheesecake Shop franchisee Sajida Perveen.

And it’s no surprise that with her bubbly personality and zest for life Sajida is delighted to engage with customers lining up to buy celebratory cakes or sweet treat slices.

“People just drop in the store to see the cakes – they love what they see, they love the colours.”

Owning a business is a long standing dream for her, and it came true in August this year. 

After multiple attempts to purchase existing stores, she has finally opened up a brand new shop at Sippy Downs, Queensland. 

The dream started to take shape when Sajida arrived in Australia.

“I am a civil engineer and came to Australia from Pakistan to do a PhD. I was teaching at the time and worked for a short time at The Cheesecake Shop.”

The cake business made an impression on her – for all the right reasons. “I liked the business model,” she says. “It’s a clean business structure, everything is fair and smooth, and transparent.”

The new business is tracking well despite the economic restraint on Aussies’ household budgets. Cakes remain a popular spend, says Sajida.

“We want to feel happy in the small things. Even if I’m sad, I want to celebrate a birthday.  The Cheesecake Shop had the biggest sales during Covid, the stores did really well,” she points out.

Even in tough times, the cake business can flourish.

Business ownership dream comes true after years of waiting

That’s great news for Sajida, who has shown perseverance and patience waiting to find the right site for her own The Cheesecake Shop store.

Now a senior consultant for a multinational Sajida opened her first franchise with a business partner, Nasrullah. He has almost nine years’ experience in The Cheesecake Shop stores, and is the full time manager. 

“It’s his dream too, to have a business. We are equal partners but he manages everything. I work on the weekends.

“As a franchisee you cannot tell someone to run the shop. You have to be there to train staff, and be involved – and it’s fun anyway,” she says.

Sajida intends to keep her full time weekday job where she is heading for a leadership role.

In fact, working in a multinational, and owning a cake shop, play off each other well, she says.

Good management skills, handling documents, compliance and dealing with head office are important to each role. 

And of course the cake is appreciated by her office colleagues! 

The franchisor provides extensive support

Sajida is able to achieve her goals because of the comprehensive support and flexibility the franchisor provides.

“Head office helps with social media, IT, marketing, creative ideas, marketing, accounting, and if there’s anything wrong I ring. 

“They have 200+ stores but they never say they are too busy,” she says.

“I don’t need to think about everything, there is a high level of support from head office and that allows me to bake and decorate cakes.

“We have easy rules to follow to maintain quality standards, and head office backs you up.”

For instance, Sajida says, although staffing is her biggest challenge there is help on hand. The Cheesecake Shop provides recruitment material, offers advice on where to recruit, and can even help with staff training.

“It’s a guiding system,” she says. “And if we are really short-staffed the Queensland franchise manager comes to the site and bakes!”

Sajida values the experience of the support team. She admits that opening a brand new business was a risk, for everyone involved.

Community minded, happy and profitable

And she is happy she took the risk. Sajida’s and Nasrullah’s leap into business ownership has paid off and the pair are already thinking about what’s next.

“Working at The Cheesecake Shop is like working with the community,” Sajida says.

“Having a business, you can do more good in the community. Now I’m not just an employee, I’m an employer as well,” she says.

It’s important for Sajida to be an exemplary, nurturing employer.

“That’s how you grow society. I’m not changing the whole world, but six people’s lives,” she says.

So when the time is right, Sajida says she will step up and open another store.

“We’re doing well. A profitable business is a happy business.”