GREEK LIFE

Get to know the President & CEO of OPA! of Greece, Simon Lileikis, feature in Franchise Canada Magazine!

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Souvlaki, tzatziki, spanakopita - it may be Greek to you, but not to Simon Lileikis, President and CEO of OPA! of Greece. The fast-growing restaurant brand is built around a menu of Greek favourites like the famous savoury meat skewers, yogurt sauce, and spinach pie. With the recent addition of six new locations from Vancouver to Regina, Lileikis credits the entire OPA! team for rising to the challenge of strong system growth, bringing the new restaurants and franchisees on board over a quick four month period while maintaining quality throughout the brand's 90-plus locations.

Lileikis finished sentences for Franchise Canada on recognizing opportunity, building for the future, and why he seeks out people who are smarter than him.

The Most Interesting I've done recently is...take up sporting clays. I am very much ready to turn in my golf clubs for a shotgun.

In its best form, work is...no "work" at all

A good franchisee...understands that the brand, operating system, ongoing support and me, as the franchisee, are all contributing equally towards the success of the business.

A good franchisor...makes systems decisions based on treating each franchised location like it was a corporate store, especially when it comes to financial matters.

My top advice for prospective franchisees is...do your homework, talk to existing franchisees, and understand what it means to be a franchisee vs. an independent business owner.

My top advice for new franchisors is...everything will take longer than you think it will or should. Be patient, put the right systems in place, and build for tomorrow.

The most important thing in life...is to find what you love and are passionate about, then go out and do that!

One of the most enjoyable things to do...is to spend time with people smarter than you. I spend a week a year taking various courses at Queen's University. I am fascinated by the learning process and love to listen to subject matter experts, in my field or not.

The hardest thing for me to do is...to watch people make mistakes. For most people however, the best learning opportunities come through those mistakes.

My Favourite drink is...Budweiser - that switches to vodka/water eventually.

If I could change on thing...I just wouldn't do it. Everything happens for a reason - I'd rather understand it than change it.

If I could meet anyone it would be...Howard Stern. Whether you like his style or not, there is no denying that he has revolutionized his industry and taken his personal brand to levels most leaders could only dream of.

The person who has had the most positive influence on me as a business person is...Richard Branson. His businesses are so extremely complex, however he has an uncanny ability to simplify them right down. He also speaks frequently about training your people well enough so they can leave, but treating them well enough so they don't want to - fantastic!

Canadian franchising is...a great opportunity to get into business for yourself.

My franchise system began because...of one man's humble dream and persistence that Canada is ready for quick-serve Greek food.

The most positive influence on my life as a person is...my three children. Watching them grow as individuals and observing their accomplishments over such a short span of time is so very inspiring.

The key to success is...to be able to recognize opportunities, avoid catastrophes, and break paradigms.

I'd like my friends to describe me as...anything but a President & CEO - you have to be able to turn that stuff off sometimes.

The accomplishment I look forward to the most is...standing in front of our franchisees at our 2015 Annual Conference, announcing that we achieved our aggressive three-year goal of increasing Average Unit Volumes by 18% in only two years.

My personal motto is...everything matters.

One necessary item on my life's "to do" list is...to eventually relocate to Maui and surf into the sunset.

OPA! OF GREECE STATS

Franchisee Fee: 25K

Start-up Capital Required: $125K-$150K

Investment Required: $300K-$400K

Available Territories: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, NB, NS, PEI, NL, YK, NT, NU

Training: Yes

Franchise Units Canada: 90

In Business Since: 1998

Franchising Since: 1999

CFA Member Since: 2010

FULL PAGE SPREAD IN THE FRANCHISE CANADA MAGAZINE
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014 ISSUE
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