Meet New Zealand’s youngest Domino’s franchise owners

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Domino’s youngest Kiwi franchisees, brothers Kaedyn and Liam Stops, began working for the pizza chain as dishwashers — but now own four North Island stores.

Kaedyn Stops, 25, and younger brother Liam Stops, 24, bought their first store in Rotorua at the Redwood Centre when they were just 19 and 18, respectively.

Since then they purchased a second store in Rotorua, as well as one in Taupo and as of April this year, Domino’s Whakatāne.

Liam Stops said together the four stores raked in about $5 million turnover annually in sales.

Kaedyn Stops started working part time at Domino’s store in Napier when he was just 12-years-old.

“We wouldn’t have had a job if it wasn’t for our older sister. She was 15 at the time and a good worker so they let her get us in,” Kaedyn Stops said.

“Personally, as a franchisee, I couldn’t take on a 12-year-old, but there was a family member there and the store had a good reputation. It was more exciting than the paper run.”

Both worked their way up from dishwashers to handling customers, and finally managing staff.

Domino’s youngest Kiwi franchisees, brothers Kaedyn and Liam Stops, began working for the pizza chain as dishwashers — but now own four North Island stores.

Kaedyn Stops, 25, and younger brother Liam Stops, 24, bought their first store in Rotorua at the Redwood Centre when they were just 19 and 18, respectively.

Since then they purchased a second store in Rotorua, as well as one in Taupo and as of April this year, Domino’s Whakatāne.

Liam Stops said together the four stores raked in about $5 million turnover annually in sales.

Liam and Kaedyn Stops scrubbed dishes at 12. Now they own four stores.

Kaedyn Stops started working part time at Domino’s store in Napier when he was just 12-years-old.

“We wouldn’t have had a job if it wasn’t for our older sister. She was 15 at the time and a good worker so they let her get us in,” Kaedyn Stops said.

“Personally, as a franchisee, I couldn’t take on a 12-year-old, but there was a family member there and the store had a good reputation. It was more exciting than the paper run.”

Both worked their way up from dishwashers to handling customers, and finally managing staff.

Liam (left) and Kaedyn Stops are Domino’s youngest franchisee and own four stores around the North Island.

By age 16, Kaedyn Stops became a store manager and by 19, he owned his first restaurant.

The brothers are equal partners in their business, and through a financing deal with Domino’s they were able to buy their first store in 2013.

By selling their cars and pooling their savings, they got together about $40,000 and Domino’s came to the table with $450,000 as a loan with an interest rate of about 12 per cent.

“They can’t give us interest rates as good as the bank but we accepted it because we were never going to get that option from anywhere else. No one’s going to lend an 18-year-old $450,000,” Kaedyn Stops said.

“As we accumulate more stores there’s more debt, but we have managed to get off the Domino’s financing support and are now with a bank, which is a lot better for us.”

Domino’s New Zealand had a net profit after tax of $114.3m in the year ending June 2019.

Domino’s New Zealand had a net profit after tax of $114.3m in the year ending June 2019.

The Stops’ best performing stores were the two in Rotorua. In 2016 the brothers won best retail business in the Westpac Rotorua Business Awards.

Across their four stores, the brothers’ have 90 employees.

Liam Stops said they were in store about four-days-a-week, taking on all jobs, from dough-making to scrubbing floors, hiring staff as well as health and safety training.

In year 11 and year 12 the Stops dropped out of high school to focus on Domino’s.

Kaedyn Stops said in the beginning he wished he had experienced “student life” at university, but he was happy with the path they chose as many of his friends who completed tertiary education were knee-deep in student loans, and unemployed.

“Our mentor who we worked under at the Napier store said he failed year 13 and re-sat it but it was a total waste of time. I didn’t want to do that.”

This year the duo were recognised for their outstanding leadership at Domino’s annual conference, winning the Leadership Eagle Award.

“We’ve never had a bossy managerial style. We’re knees down scrubbing floors with them and that’s what’s different. Our staff work with us not for us,” Liam Stops said.

The brothers said their focus was to grow their existing stores rather than investing into any new sites.

Kaedyn Stops said the pair were cautious about growing too quickly.

“Domino’s will probably offer us other stores but we want to take things a little bit slow. We’ll definitely be staying with Domino’s for a while and continue to grow our stores and train our staff to be able to own their own stores.

“We also want to focus on our own personal goals next year, like owning a home and spending more time with our partners.”

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