BlogFranchiseesQ&A with Valeria Villarreal Garza, Manager in Property Administration at PCSAPI

Q&A with Valeria Villarreal Garza, Manager in Property Administration at PCSAPI

As part of our ongoing customer interview series, we recently spoke with Valeria Villarreal Garza, Manager in Property Administration and Management at PCSAPI, a Little Caesars franchisee with locations in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Colombia about how she has mastered the art of managing efficiency and expansion in the competitive world of multi-unit franchise operations. Read on to hear more about how she manages this growing portfolio of companies.

Tell us about yourself and how you got involved in the industry?

I have been with PCSAPI for 8 years. Initially I started as a CEO assistant, and then my role really rapidly changed to be a Project Coordinator kind of role, and now is fully migrating to all the property management. I have been working with the lease management and everything for the new store expansion and coordination with our legal teams since around 5 years.

Who is PCSAPI?

We have over 180 locations and our portfolio is divided into around 60% in Mexico, 20% in Dominican Republic and around 8% in Puerto Rico and Colombia. Today, we have one of the 2024 openings here in Mexico. We have one already in the Dominican Republic, and we’re really excited to keep growing in each market.

It’s really an opportunity to keep moving the brand around. And like I said, PCSAPI is not is not new, and the company has been in the market for almost 17 years. So here in Mexico the people already know us and all the little Caesars brands. It’s the top of the pizza brands in Mexico. So we’re really proud to be part of this.

Little Caesars is an official sponsor of the NFL, right? We saw their branding all through the playoffs.

Yes, and the Mexico team is launching really exciting news here in Mexico with the sponsorship and the soccer team nationwide. So that’s really interesting, not only because we already work with the NFL, but now we have soccer, which in Mexico it’s huge in comparison to American football. And like I said, it’s just pizza. It’s fun. So it’s so fun to be part of this kind of company and community and values.

PCSAPI has expanded internationally in the past few years. What are the secrets to success?

One is to master what you do and execute and operate how you want to and perfect this. So what I mean by that is the secret of the rapid expansion was first being really consolidated in the operation that we had. The company is 17 years old and we just started rapid expansion in the last 5 years. It’s definitely mastering the operation system and knowing the kind of stores you’re running the market that you want. The second part is to understand the market, and the third is to bond and have a great relationship with your landlords. 

Organization is embedded in me. I always joke about being OCD and having everything organized, so that is something that has been really helpful. It was logical for us to have all the stores mapped out with the full information of the properties in the same platform.

What made you start using Leasecake?

The rapidness that we were growing. It was only going to be a matter of time before an excel sheet was not going to be enough to keep track of every contact, of every property, of every landlord, etc. It was bound to be out of control when you start growing as fast as we were doing back around 2017. So we needed a better solution to manage all of our lease and location data, and that’s how I found Leasecake.

How many people on your team manage these details of your leases?

In terms of just the lease management it’s basically just me, and I have a legal team in each country that helps me with all the details of the specific leases. On the development side, we have operations managers in each country, and we have a construction team and maintenance team.

So how do we stay efficient? It’s basically knowing the strengths and the value of each of the individual teams and knowing what we’re good for and the specific roles that we have. So we can just continue doing that and keep the machine working. It’s to keep things organized and easy to keep track so everyone knows what’s the next step.

How many team members are typically in the lease platform on a given week or a given month? 

Maybe 5. But the information is not something that you have to review on a daily basis. That’s the beauty of it, that you don’t have to be back and forth with emails. It’s not messy. Everything is organized and you get alerts whenever you need to take action.

How did you source your prime location?

In Mexico, since we have been in the market for quite a long time, we have landlords that usually are like supermarkets or developers. Usually they already have their expansion plan already on point. So it’s easy for us to just jump into the allocation that they invite us to be. Also they have a great relationship with housing, so it’s easier for us to find the demographics already in a development that is not just us like in the beginning. Usually you try to find whichever spot was available for your store, and now for us it is really important to be in a landing point with other businesses as well as us.

What are the things that you typically find are so essential to track on the platform?

Location management. If we did not move forward to having a platform such as Leasecake, it was going to be quite messy. We usually have inflation here in Mexico. It is really common to have annual increases based on inflation. When we try to renegotiate the lease, the base rent is going to be quite different than 10 years ago.

Does lease duration change in different countries?

Yeah, I think it depends on the country. There are some countries that don’t even have leases longer than a few years.

Do you track triple nets or base rents within the Leasecake platform?

Yes, I find the map view the most helpful to see locations that are in close proximity to each other. Based on that, it’s easy to make negotiations with current information.

Are you faced with different challenges of opening a location in a different country?

Fortunately it was quite easy to translate the same kind of operation into other countries and try to replicate what’s worked previously.

What’s Next for PCSAPI?

I think, like everything in life, we are part of seasons. There was a season when we had to just teach the customer who we were, and try to understand the market and position the brand, and then we opened stores and really accelerated that expansion plan. And I think that right now we are in a perfect kind of season. We know the operation, we know how we work, and now we’re making it better and more efficient. 

What’s your best piece of advice you would offer someone in your position? 

Teach the customer and the market what you were made for and have those key elements really embedded literally in one sheet. It’s what gave us the possibility to share that information with some brokers or developers or things like that to expand and to know exactly what we were looking for. You have to already have them in place.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice that I think that I’ve ever received was in a team meeting that I had with my boss in the middle of the pandemic. He said, “When you’re in a race and you see a curve, you don’t stop. You accelerate to pass the competition and complete the race”. That’s really stuck with me about not giving up once there are obstacles in your path. 

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?

That you don’t necessarily know the answer to everything you think you know. In the back of my mind I always try to keep the curiosity going.

To learn more about Leasecake’s lease management platform and how we can help you grow your business, manage multiple locations, save money by understanding exactly what’s in your documents, and minimize the risk of overpaying or missing a lease renewal, schedule a demo.

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