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Simon Vardy

Simon Vardy
Company: Sim Trava Holdings Costa Coffee, Pita Pit

Simon Vardy is Managing Director and joint owner with his Wife of Altrincham based franchise business Sim Trava Holdings Limited – awarded Costa Individual Franchisee of the year 2016, FSB Family business of the year for Greater Manchester and North Cheshire and Trafford Business Awards Business of the year with more than 50 employees in 2015.


Simon left school at 16 and began an engineering apprenticeship before qualifying as an operations engineer. He continued his education outside of work eventually achieving a first class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering with Business Studies.


During his 20’s Simon worked his way through the ranks at three engineering companies in Chesterfield before being offered a Company Director position at 29 in Manchester. The experience gained through engineering and operations management and eventually becoming an Operations Director gave him an understanding of how to manage people and to run a business to generate profit. After five years as a Director, Simon realised that after transforming the profitability of the company he was still working long hours and all the benefit was being sucked out of the business into the American holding group.


So in 2005, after realising he was working very hard to make other people wealthy, he left his career as a Senior Director to set up business on his own to try and put into practice what he had learnt for his family’s own benefit. Deciding franchising was the “safe” way to go and after reviewing many brands he decided to invest in a Costa franchise, which at the time were brand new to franchising themselves.


Simon started the business with a capital investment of £70k plus matched funding from a bank which was enough to open the first store and the original business plan was for just 5 Costa stores in 5 years. The Costa stores performed very well and the plan had soon changed to 10 Costa stores in 5 years. In October 2013, Simon opened the UK’s first Pita Pit store which is a Canadian healthy QSR food franchise whose motto is 'Fresh Thinking and Healthy Eating' opening a second store in 2014.


Fast forward to 2017 with 32 Costa stores, 2 Pita Pit stores and another brand opening before Christmas the business plan has changed quite a lot now with a turnover approaching £17.5m and 350 employees it is now a “proper” company with the associated problems this brings.


With this in mind for the last two years a significant refocus on the structure and systems within the business has changed the way the business is managed and the company is now set for the next steps in its expansion.