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Seychelles' Best Entrepreneur 2016 attributes success to quality, fresh ingredients

Victoria, Seychelles | December 21, 2016, Wednesday @ 10:39 in Editorial » THE INTERVIEW | By: Patsy Athanase and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3677
Seychelles' Best Entrepreneur 2016 attributes success to quality, fresh ingredients

Francis Victor (Middle) head of Ton Pol's Shack was awarded Seychelles' Best Entrepreneur for the year 2016 by the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Francis Victor has been named Seychelles' Best Entrepreneur for the year 2016 by the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) during its recent annual Business Award Ceremony at Eden Bleu Hotel.

Victor heads a family business set up three years ago called ‘Ton Pol’s Shack’ which sells homemade hamburgers at various events. 

SNA met Victor to find out more about Ton Pol’s Shack.

 

SNA: How did Ton Pol’s Shack start?

FV: It all started as a way to raise money for the St. Francis Church of Baie Lazare three years ago. My girlfriend pitched the idea of setting up a stall and selling homemade burgers. The response we got was incredible, and people kept asking when will we do it again. It became serious with the demand and word of mouth.

 

SNA: What inspired the name?

FV: The name itself started as a joke, but somehow it sounded catchy and caught peoples’ attention, so we kept it. The name was influenced by a popular local Creole song – Lakwizin Ton Pol (the kitchen of Uncle Paul) by local artist John Wirtz.

 

SNA: What do you think has led to the success of Ton Pol’s shack?

FV: I think it is the approach we have taken to what we think should be a good burger. It is one of the most popular fast food that people have and apart from restaurants you can't really find a good burger joint where you can get good service. Next, our emphasis and passion on using quality and fresh ingredients, our made-to-order system and of course our marketing through social media.

Ton Pol's Shack pick and choose events that give them more exposure (Ton Pol's Shack) Photo License: All Rights Reserved

 SNA: You have been named Best Entrepreneur 2016, three years after starting your company. How do you feel about winning this prestigious award?

FV: We certainly feel proud despite not expecting to win such an award at this time. Ton Pol's Shack is a family owned business, and we worked really hard to improve our process. We also got a lot of support from close family friends who always gave a helping hand especially when we had big events, and for that, we seize the opportunity to say a big thank you to all of them.

 

SNA: There are many food outlets in Seychelles which mean a lot of competition. Why did you venture into that particular business?

FV: When you step back and look at how the many food outlets in Seychelles are setup, you can say that everyone uses the same formula, but we see room for innovation and give the public something different and fun.

 

SNA: How is Ton Pol’s shack different from other fast-food outlets?

FV: Our emphasis is in making everything fresh. We make our own burger patties with specific cuts of meat supplied by a local butcher and we also make our own secret Ton Pol's Special Sauce. Our bread is made locally and specifically for Ton Pol. We have a chicken burger which is fried in a breading that is our own recipe consisting of about 15 different herbs and spices.

 

SNA: Do you plan on introducing new recipes other than burgers?

FV: We have a lot of other exciting recipes some which we will introduce soon.

Ton Pol Shacks' success is attributed to the approach taken to what they think should be a good burger. (Ton Pol Shack's) Photo License: All Rights Reserved 

SNA: Ton Pol’s shack can be seen at many popular events such as carnival, regatta. How do you choose which events to attend?

FV: We all have our day jobs. I am currently employed as Project Manager with HIS Enterprise, so most of the events we take part in are during weekends. We pick events that will give us the most exposure in terms of clients. We also actively participate in the monthly bazaar in Victoria (the capital) which takes place monthly since we are registered with SENPA (Small Enterprise Promotion Agency).

 

SNA: What are some of the constraints you face as a young entrepreneur?

FV: The biggest one is capital and not forgetting the cost of renting a commercial space which meets all the needed standards set by the authorities. We do not have permanent outlets because of that. 

 

SNA: Do you have any suggestions on how to improve the business environment in Seychelles?

FV: The cost of borrowing money from banks is still high in Seychelles, and the required security that goes with borrowing is one of the key reasons why many small businesses cannot develop to their full potential. Maybe something can be done in these areas to help small businesses which have the potential to grow and become profitable.

 

SNA: What is your advice to other young people who wants to open their own business?

FV: My advice is not to make money their primary goal for starting their own business. Focus on your product or services and be passionate about what you do and be always disciplined.

 

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Tags: SCCI, Francis Victor, Entrepreneur of the Year

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