Duc and Jennifer Pham have always wanted to own their own business. They were doing a bit of research and became interested in Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions while doing some online browsing.
“My wife stumbled across it through a franchising website. We did some more research and that’s how we found it,” recalled Duc.
The two bought the franchise in December 2013 and have truly been enjoying running their own business. Duc has a background in operations and sales within the technology industry, while Jennifer was a realtor who had also done some development with a non-for-profit.
“We had always wanted to run our own business for a long time. I had built some other businesses for the companies I had worked for. I was tired of doing it for other people and thought why not do it for myself and my family?” asked the franchisee.
Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions has been in business since 1996. The company focuses on restaurants and food establishment to help deliver higher quality food, while providing safe kitchens and a smaller carbon footprint. Since the environment is being established as a staple in a lot of industries, it’s important to think how vital this type of service is for the function of kitchens.
Essentially, Filta focuses on preserving the environment and cooking process wherever food is fried or refrigerated by offering a onsite mobile service with a micro filtration system and cleaner. They also recycle cooking oil and turn it into biodiesel, as well as more cost effective refrigerator system with humidity control.
Customers are interested in well processed food with a low impact on the environment. They expect business do to the work for them and Filta offers the food industry another means to attract customers.
Duc went to the training facility on his own and found both the classroom and field training equally as important and helpful.
“We did training from sales to operational to accounting. We did in field and how the process works, how the machine works,” explained Duc. “It was great. It’s one of those things, you can only learn so much in the classroom but it sets you up for what you learn on the job. It was fantastic.”
Continuous support for franchisees is offered with Filta including webinars, an annual conference that covers a variety of topics, as well as ongoing online training.
However, Duc found a unique type of support through other franchisees, which he had not discovered until he was in the business.
“The thing that jumps out to me, we are really fortunate to have it, are the people have been great to work with. The network of other franchise owners has been great for us. We rely on each other, we call each other, we give each other advice and share what didn’t work for us,” said the owner. “That has been way better than we had ever anticipated or has ever expected and it’s been a huge part of our success. No doubt about it.”
Once someone interested applies for a franchise with Filta, there is a pre-screening call to discuss territories and qualification. If the candidate is then approved, they will have a webinar with the VP and followed by Discovery Day. This day allows people to create connections and form a strong network of coworkers while also meeting staff and learn about the business.
This day gives the candidate a unique and beneficial opportunity to determine whether or not Filta is the type of company they are interested in franchising before the process is started.
One of the reasons people consider stepping down from the business is to obtain a better work life balance. Duc has recognized the benefits of being his own boss, but he does not shy away from hard work.
“Some days are crazy and other days are great. Being a small business owner, sometimes, you have a lot going on. The balance has been fantastic. For example today, I had lunch with my son at his grade school. Does it get any better than that?” asked Duc. “The trade off is a lot of times my wife and I are talking about business into the night but it’s not like work. We understand where each of us is coming from.”
Duc and Jennifer have three kids and they admit being a part of Filta has allowed them to spend more time with their family and be there for the important stepping stones. Duc recently helped his daughter’s kindergarten class design their classroom door and in turn won a pajama party.
“I had the time and resources to help them win the project and that is pretty neat,” he said. While both Duc and his wife have a business background and were able to bring their experience to the table, he believes a wide variety of backgrounds can be helpful for a franchisee with Filta.
“Franchising certainly isn’t for everyone. If someone is willing to work hard, work smart, stay positive and see the big picture as a business owner, this franchise is definitely worth the look,” he advised. “With the training provided, there are a lot of people with sale or operational backgrounds like myself but it amazes me how many different backgrounds people have come from and become a franchise owner. I wouldn’t say anyone has to have a specific background but they must be willing to work hard.”
While the company itself expects owners to have determination and persistence, as well as being quick learners. Though a background in the service industry is not necessary, Filta expect owners to enjoy the process. Duc also said the network of franchisees is a continuous support and training system.
“We continue to learn every day from our mistakes and our successes and our backgrounds as well. It has been great.”
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