"I am really making a difference to people's lives"

Dietcare's first Irish franchise owners, Denise Drummond Scott and Leslie Allen launched their successful Belfast-based Dietcare franchise in February 2009. Before joining Dietcare, Denise held a senior role within a different diet company for three years. She decided to leave because the business opportunity was insecure and not viable. While her partner Les, continues to operate his existing business. Denise reflects on their experience as franchise owners so far:

How did you find out about Dietcare?

My partner Les and I were looking for a suitable franchise opportunity that would provide us with a business model that made financial sense- especially in the long term. Les decided to research the different investment opportunities available on the Internet and made a shortlist of suitable, affordable franchises and dietcare was one of them.

Why did you invest in dietcare?

I was sceptical about working within another diet company, as there are a lot of companies out there that are driven by consumerism, pushing sales of add on supplements and diet products. However, Dietcare is different because it has been operating for 30 years and really cares for its clients. With Dietcare, clients see a diet advisor on a one-to-one basis and receive a tailor made healthy diet plan. This form of counselling is definitely the way to go because it achieves the best results. Where as group diets and weigh ins are, in my opinion, designed to push as many people through the doors without addressing the individual needs of the clients.

I made an appointment to visit the founder of Dietcare, Norah Lane, at her clinic in England and within half an hour knew that Dietcare was my perfect match. During my time with Norah I sat in on a few of her clinics to get an idea of what it would be like to operate the franchise and was very impressed. I found Norah's passion for the business very encouraging.

What support and training have you received?

Before I launched my Dietcare franchise, I attended a two-week training course, which covered all aspects of running the business as well as a Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) exam. While in terms of support I can contact Norah and the head office team at any point.

Where do you run your clinics and have you taken on any staff?

My first clinic opened at a private gym within their treatment facilities and my second at a Council owned Theatre complex in one of their meeting rooms.
I have employed a diet advisor, Jennifer Davies, who runs a third clinic in a Belfast City country club in their physiotherapy rooms. All of the clinics offer clients total privacy and have disabled access and plenty of parking. I plan to take on another part-time member of staff in 2010 who is a specialist in polycystic ovary syndrome.

How is business going?

Business is going well, I have built a good reputation, thanks to word of mouth recommendations and see on average 15-20 clients a day. We have had a successful first year and are now in the process of buying a second area.

What do you enjoy about running your own business?

I love the fact that while I am building a new business I am really making a difference to people's lives.