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I loved my Schmidt kitchen so much I bought my own showroom

Tony Nakhoul is every franchisor’s dream. Not only is he the top-performing franchisee in Schmidt’s UK network, but he joined it because he’d already fallen in love with its products.

“My wife bought a Schmidt kitchen from another showroom before I become an owner,” says Tony, owner of Schmidt Ruislip. “As a client I was amazed at the quality of the product.

“I thought Schmidt must be doing something right so I got in touch and decided to be a franchisee.”

And from there, he’s since become the No1 UK showroom in sales volume.

His success is all the more remarkable because Tony had no background whatever in design or interiors.

Originally from Beirut, he spent 15 years as a City banker, gave it up to open his own authentic Lebanese restaurant in Chelsea, but found it didn’t suit his lifestyle with long hours and weekend working.

Then he discovered Schmidt.

Tony says: “I’m proud I’ve learned this business very quickly and become number one. I can’t tell whether I’m a lucky person or have just managed my company properly.

“On day one we had a sale, and clients. We never had a failure from the day we opened.

“I’m the top showroom in the UK after three years and managed to overtake many others who had been trading for longer.”

The secret to his success? Passion.

“If you don’t love the product, you can’t sell it. That’s why I’m successful.

“I live with the product on a daily basis in my own home so I can sell it with honesty. When I explain to a client about the kitchen, I explain from the heart. I talk from personal experience and speak with passion.

“I’m also very fussy with my staff, with customer service, with all the details. This is what clients like. I’m a bit of an OCD person, so all this helps me be successful.”

Tony, who has a master’s degree in international business, remains impressed with Schmidt and the training and support he received, as well as its business model which he follows diligently.

“They teach you everything and hold your hand, and if you follow the formula you will be successful. The company’s been in the market for more than 80 years so it would be silly not to!

“We had lockdowns, but we still had monthly business generated through the internet and Zoom. It affected us, but not as much as other companies. I do whatever it takes not to fail.

“I’m involved in everything but I’m not a bossy person – I listen, and I learn a lot from my staff. We’re a good team.

“Schmidt were very, very honest with me. They told me absolutely everything about the business, so I wasn’t surprised by anything.”

As for the future? Carefully planned growth, he says.

“Every owner dreams about another showroom. But I don’t like to rush things. I do hope to have a couple of showrooms when the first one can manage without me, as being a Schmidt franchisee fits really well with my family lifestyle.”