Taimoor Ashraf's Delicious Journey
Taimoor Ashraf is the man behind the new Banjo’s Bakery Café in Burpengary.
Although behind is probably not the best choice of words, given that Taimoor is very much a hands on boss and is quite often found serving customers or assisting with baking. Taimoor’s journey with the Banjo’s company began in 2019 where he underwent franchisee training in Hobart before moving to Queensland and starting work at the Darra Banjo’s in 2020.
Just six months later he bought that store and then a year later opened a second store in Townsville, before it was Burpengary’s turn in June 2023. It would seem it’s only the beginning, with a fourth store opening in February 2024 at Richlands.
“For my first few months, I did have the thought of what have I done? But to establish contact with a company like Banjo's and I met Mark, who is the founder of the company and when we were talking business he reminded me so much of my father - passionate, driven and I could relate to how he was so passionate about the business. Having that passion and being involved in the day-to-day running of the business is so important.”
A strong background in business has a lot to do with where Taimoor finds himself today. He grew up in Pakistan where he managed his family-owned home textile business for 12 years before making the move to Australia. Taimoor was no stranger to the land down under, having studied here during his time at university. His interest in the hospitality industry and studying a combination of hotel and business management, along with marketing on top of that set him on the right track to becoming the franchise owner of multiple stores.
“For my first few months, I did have the thought of what have I done?” Taimoor says. “But to establish contact with a company like Banjo's and I met Mark, who is the founder of the company and when we were talking business he reminded me so much of my father - passionate, driven and I could relate to how he was so passionate about the business. Having that passion and being involved in the day-to-day running of the business is so important.”
That being said, Taimoor is very much involved with day-to-day operations at each of his store’s and can often be found getting in the mix with staff.
“I feel the biggest asset of our business is the staff,” Taimoor says. “I think it's very important for us to make sure the staff are set up with the right tools, the right training, in the right environment and on a great career path as well if that’s the direction they want to go in. We’ll sit down and talk with them about what they want to do in life and where they want their position to take them.
“If I’m going to grow, I want them (the team) to grow with me. I work with them because these guys are the ones who bring the customers in and they are the ones who are making that beautiful product to sell.”
Since the Burpengary store opened in June, customers have steadily flowed through the door with a mix of clientele dropping by to try the coffee, pastry goods, freshly made sandwiches and even the doughnuts!
“Each of my stores showcases a different client base,” Taimoor says. “You come to this store, you've got families, you've got kids after school coming and buying doughnuts. We have office staff and early morning workers or even mums who swing by after dropping the kids at school. So, it's a very diverse clientele. There's a lot of mature people around here as well. “But so far the response has been good. Now, we know it's all about doing the basics right, keep making good quality products and being consistent.”
The Burpengary Banjo’s team has 43 staff with mixture of full-time, part-time and casual positions. All training is provided and opportunities are aplenty for those who are keen to advance and willing to learn. The best part about it all? No two days are exactly the same!
“While we may do things in a similar fashion, surprisingly every day is a little different to the one before,” Taimoor says. “It’s all part of working in hospitality. A typical day would include baking pastry and bread, making coffee, serving and interacting with customers, but also there’s lots in the way of the business management that happens in the background. For me, it’s very much a diverse role, which is why I love it so much.”
Not only is Taimoor always happy to help out at one of his franchise locations, but he’s also very hands on at home, scrubbing floors and cooking meals for his wife and two daughters.
“Well they do say behind every successful man in the world is an amazing woman and I feel for me, that’s true,” Taimoor says. “She’s actually a very smart woman and she is a doctor (Nuclear Medicine Physician), but currently she’s not practising as it was very demanding. She’s looking to join me in the business and keen to get involved in the accounts and finance side of things.”
Given the success he’s already had with three stores open and soon to be a fourth, does Taimoor worry about what could go wrong?
“There’s always a risk element with anything related to business,” he says. “Because if it was easy, everyone would do it. So of course there’s definitely a risk element, but you take that calculated risk, do the number crunching and see how realistic it is to meet those expectations.
“I think the reason behind having multiple stores is also to mitigate your risk and dilute your risk as well. It’s more cost effective in the long run to have multiple stores, rather than putting all your eggs into one basket and then it all goes pear-shaped.”
“One of the great things about owning and being part of a franchise business is that there are systems in place to ensure you’re supported and that each individual venture is profitable. It gives aspiring business owners like I was, the possibility of being an owner and manager without worrying about trying to do it all on your own. It’s a method that works and works well.”
You’ll find Banjo’s Bakery and Café at 148E Station Road, Burpengary. If you haven’t stopped by yet, it’s time for a visit!