Taking a calculated risk – especially in the confectionary sector – can be a flavourful and enjoyable experience
To many, it’s a dream to one day experience life in another country, and for Rakesh and Durgesh Sikka, that dream became a reality and it led them to a sweet career at Baskin-Robbins – the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops. Born and raised in India, the couple along with their daughter immigrated to Canada in 1991.
Hoping to continue his career as an accountant, Rakesh soon realized that his professional designation would not be recognized in Canada. Like many new immigrants, Rakesh worked a variety of jobs before securing a position as an inspector and machine operator within the automotive industry, while Durgesh worked at a Baskin-Robbins shop in Mississauga. When the 2008 recession impacted the world’s economy many, including Rakesh, were laid off.
“It was a very difficult period in my life,” said Rakesh Sikka. “I had dedicated 15 years to that job, working tirelessly to support my wife and kids. I had no idea what to do next.”
Meanwhile, throughout her time at Baskin-Robbins, Durgesh’s positive spirit and strong work ethic impressed the location’s franchisee so much that when he retired, he offered Durgesh and her husband the shop.
“Even though the opportunity came at the perfect time, we were still hesitant to accept it,” explained Durgesh. “It’s a big responsibility to manage such a well-known and established franchise. After my husband was laid off, it was a risk we were nervous to take considering the impact an unsuccessful franchise could have on our family.”
Both Rakesh and Durgesh brought their concerns to the Mississauga location’s franchisee who offered words of encouragement and insight.
“He was extremely friendly and supportive,” said Rakesh. “It turns out
we weren’t alone in our hesitation to venture into the franchise business—it’s a very common feeling. He assured us that the Baskin-Robbins team was very knowledgeable of the franchise industry and would offer support every step of the way, from selecting the location to implementing marketing efforts and engaging with the community.”
With the help of the previous owner and guidance from the Baskin-Robbins operations team, the couple were able to secure their first location in 2008 at 120 Clementine Dr. in Brampton. After seven successful years now at that location, the couple was offered an opportunity to take over an existing location at 20 Brisdale Drive in Brampton.
“Who would’ve thought we’d purchase and operate multiple locations within one of Canada’s most reputable brands,” remarked Durgesh.
“When we came to Canada I thought we would be at a disadvantage due to our immigration status, however it was through working as franchisees that we soon discovered the opportunities to excel in this new career path.”
In October 2018, the couple opened their third location in Brampton at 77 Quarry Edge Dr., and is looking forward to working with the community to spread smiles through its customer service, the renowned flavours and options on the Baskin-Robbins menu and various community initiatives planned for the year ahead.
With more than 7,800 locations worldwide, Baskin-Robbins is one of the world’s largest chains of ice cream shops, and has provided entrepreneurial people, like Rakesh and Durgesh, the opportunity to be successful in their own business.
Congratulations Rakesh and Durgesh for 10 years of success, enjoyment and growth!
For information on how to join the Baskin-Robbins Canada team, visit baskinrobbins.ca.