The Koalakrane concept was started in 1999 in Auckland, while founder Cliff Hopkins was working in the role of sales manager in his brother’s soft toy importing business.
Looking for new business ideas, he spotted an opportunity to operate a quality amusement crane machine built in Australia, and use the toys from his brother’s company as prizes. Initial results were impressive and while Cliff realized what a great business it was, he also found it fairly capital intensive and expansion was limited by available cash. Franchising was a natural progression to leverage his operation by helping others operate a similar business in other parts of the country.
By supplying machines, systems, prizes and technical expertise, people with no prior experience in the industry could come in and be immediately successful.
By having a critical mass of franchisees, synergy between franchisor and franchisees could be created by the volume of machines and prizes that could be ordered. Franchisees could get on with the job of running their businesses without having to worry about prizes, parts and technical issues.
A lot of work was put into documenting systems and setting up a structure to enable each franchisee to succeed in their exclusive territory.
As Cliff Hopkins reports, “Our first franchise was sold in Hamilton in 2001, followed closely by Rotorua. Initial growth was slow but steady as we found our feet, made a few forays in the wrong direction, learned a lot and fine tuned the business. Things really started to take off in 2004 and by 2006 long time employee Paul Hydes joined Cliff as a shareholder director. Kiwikrane in New Zealand continued to go from strength to strength, constantly improving support and systems to their franchisees, and by 2009 Kiwikrane completely covered New Zealand with over fifty areas in operation and seven hundred machines.”
Rick Garrity was appointed Master Franchisee for Koala Krane in Australia in mid 2009. As well as his experience with Kiwikrane, Rick has an extensive background in business development, excelling in sales and marketing – smashing records and managing top performing teams in previous large sales oriented companies he has been involved in. Rick is now backed up by a dedicated and hard working franchise development and support team, based in Brisbane, Queensland.
Amuse Australia recognised the potential of Koala Krane in the early days, back in 2010, and is now the largest Koala Krane operator in Australia, renowned for top performing machines, outstanding customers service and a large database of happy clients and players alike.
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