From shopping centre cleaner to multiple franchise owner – charting a path to success
For the most part, life’s twists and turns have been a pleasant surprise for Thushan Parana. He originally intended to stay in Australia for only six months but has now been here for 19 years – thanks in part to his business success. He initially gave himself a two-year framework to buy his first Red Rooster store but acquired it in six months and hasn’t looked back.
Introducing Thushan Parana – Red Rooster Franchise Partner in Beechboro, Joondanna, Morley, East Victoria Park (WA)
He tells us more about his eclectic career which had humble beginnings in a shopping centre.
Thushan, tell us a little more about your background?
So, I first came to Australia in 1999 from Sri Lanka when I was 19. I had plans to stay for just six months to do an accounting course but decided to stay longer to do a Degree in Banking and Accounting. I’m still here 19 years later!
What was your career path prior to Red Rooster?
Well, it’s been quite varied! My first job here was as a cleaner in a shopping centre mopping floors and clearing trays. After a graduated I practiced as an accountant for a year before realizing that wasn’t really for me. I’m more of a people-person so I ended up working at hotels and other fast food companies, including KFC where I stayed for eight years. I started off there as an assistant and became operations manager for one of the franchise groups. I always worked hard no matter what job I was doing – my dad always told me, ‘don’t be a quitter’.
What inspired you to become a Red Rooster franchisee?
It was impressive the ongoing success of the Red Rooster brand so I joined in 2014 doing the Manage To Own Program (MTOP). I had a two-year option to buy a store, but was so eager to start, and was so inspired by the business potential, that I bought my first store six months later. I always wanted to run my own business and was just so happy when I bought that store. However, it was only when I opened up additional stores that I could finally be the type of fully-fledged business man that I wanted to be. I now have four stores of my own and would like more.
passionate | confident | self-believer
What’s been a particular challenge you’ve faced as a multiple franchisee?
Expanding from the first to the second store was challenging and required a lot of effort. I had to sacrifice time with my family, but once I got the hang of it and learnt to manage my time properly, I started to enjoy the work-life balance.
What do you think has been the secret of your success?
I just love what I’m doing and have always had a passion and drive to be successful. One of my former area managers taught me that you really need to believe in what you want to achieve and focus on your goals and I frequently think of that. Even when you have failures, you still can’t lose focus. If any potential franchisee is ready to fully commit to the challenge and make sacrifices they too will be successful.
Be part of the community
What is your favourite item on the menu and why?
The Rippa Roll has always been my favourite. At one point I used to eat this at least once a week – even though I was working at KFC at the time!
Do you participate in any local community initiatives?
Yes, I believe that being a visible part of the community is important. We sponsor the local netball team during their competitions on the weekend and also used to sponsor the local footy team.
Finally, how do you see your business growing in the next five years?
I’d actually like to continue to grow and take on two more stores, making that six in total. I’m feeling positive about the future as I can also see how differently the brand is performing under the new CEO Nick Keenan. I’m excited to see where he will take the brand in the next few years.