An interview with Anita Shah, franchise owner of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins.
Q: Describe your business. What do you do?
A: I am the franchise owner of three stores with Dunkin' Brands. The first one I opened back in 2005 is a combination store with both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, and since then I have opened two more Baskin-Robbins. My business is a fast-paced, high-volume environment. Dunkin' Donuts is the world's leading baked goods and coffee chain, selling 52 varieties of doughnuts and more than a dozen coffee beverages as well as bagels, breakfast sandwiches, lunch and dinner sandwiches and other baked goods. Baskin-Robbins is the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty shops. At my stores, we strive to provide speedy and friendly service to all customers while being attentive to their specific needs.
Q: What made you start your business?
A: I have always wanted to positively impact the lives of others. My business helps support the community and honors the requests of our customers. Providing them with courteous service brightens their day. Also, the relationships I have made with my regular customers are something I cherish greatly. I know that I am adding happiness to their day and bringing smiles to all the children who scream for ice cream.
Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?
A: In this highly competitive world, there is always fear in the beginning about making your business succeed and be profitable. I learned early on that you have to make yourself strong, so that fear doesn't become an obstacle in achieving your goals. Also, finding the right team of people to serve our customers is always a key focus.
Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?
A: I get a lot of satisfaction from happy customers. Without them, I could not succeed. My devotion to them and to my employees is paramount to my enjoyment of operating this business.
Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? A: I knew from an early age that I wanted to have my own business so that I could be an independent woman, find a path for my personal development and have an impact on my community. Finding this opportunity to own my own Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurants was a great fit for me, allowing me to develop many positive relationships with my customers and employees, which I enjoy a lot. We are currently expanding in and around the Chicago area, and I encourage other women entrepreneurs to take a scoop of franchising with Baskin-Robbins.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: My brain is always thinking about new and powerful ideas to keep my guests happy and keep bringing them back.
Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?
A: Make yourself the "soul" of your business and your brain the backbone. Surrounding yourself with a great team is always important, but you have to involve yourself 100 percent in the business to meet your goals.
• Every Monday we feature a local business. We would like to hear about yours. Contact Kim Mikus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dunkin' DonutsName: Anita Shah
Title: Franchise Owner, Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins
Year Started: May 2005
Locations: 477 W. Golf Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60195 (Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin-Robbins combo store)
Ÿ 207 Stratford Square Mall, Bloomingdale, IL 60108 (Baskin-Robbins)
Ÿ 1960 S. Mt. Prospect Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018 (Baskin-Robbins)