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Feature Story:

What Are Your Customers Telling You? »

By Jack Mackey

Demolishing three customer experience survey myths

Without customers, you are out of business.
It seems to me that part of learning "how-to-make-customers-loyal" is to ask customers to give you feedback on their experiences of doing business with you. Yet some franchisees still push back against the idea of surveying their customers. Why is that? The arguments against measuring the customer experience usually start with these three:
Myth #1: No one takes these surveys. If you are a person who never takes surveys, it's easy to assume that no one else does. Guess what? Millions of people take customer satisfaction surveys every day. The fact that these survey-taking-customers don't think and act like you demonstrates exactly why you should ask them what they think!
The truth is a range of customers take surveys--from satisfied to dissatisfied...

Feature Story:

Teach Your Children: They Will Inherit Your Assets, Not Your Wisdom »

By Carol Schleif

"Death and taxes." Given that estate planning combines two of the most dreaded eventualities, is it any wonder that most folks have a difficult time warming to the topic?
A monetary legacy can provide an incomparable "leg up" and open a world of opportunity to the next generation--if that generation is adequately prepared. Inelegant handling of the training stage can, however, create generations of enmity, or breed unmotivated offspring with an entitlement attitude. Missteps are easy to make, since the issues are complex and multi-faceted. Here are a few key areas parents should consider as they grapple with intergenerational transfer issues:

Feature Story:

Customer Focus: 5 Steps To Keep Your Customers Loyal »

By Lisa Ford

Customers are fickle, demanding, and opinionated. That's why keeping your customers loyal, satisfied, and saying positive things about you is crucial. There are plenty of things that must be done via your technology, people, and processes to make your culture customer focused. Here are five strategies that need to be incorporated into your daily efforts.

Feature Story:

Cheating The Family »

By Lois Lang, Psy.D.

How to Handle Embezzlement in a Family Business
Hearing about embezzlement in a public company rarely shocks anyone, but when it happens in a family business, people are often stunned. "How could he steal from his own family?" "Doesn't she know she's hurting her siblings/cousins/parents?"
As tough and painful as embezzlement is, it's not as uncommon as many of us would like to think. Sure the kind of embezzlement that results in jail time is rare, but other levels of it happen daily.
How could this happen? Many factors lead to embezzlement, including chronic financial strain, a general sense of family entitlement, lack of internal company controls, and the reality or perception of being overworked and underpaid. To make matters worse, often the embezzler doesn't even know that what he or she is doing is wrong...

Feature Story:

Burgers Not So Well Done »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Study finds burger QSRs are most visited but leave customers least satisfied

A second round of results from the recent Empathica 2013 Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study have been released. The latest results reveal that burger chains are winning one battle and losing another in the QSR industry.
The survey queried 10,000 U.S. consumers on the 62 top QSR brands, measuring food, order accuracy, speed of service, menu, restaurant atmosphere and cleanliness, staff, and value. These results determined QSR category rankings, as well as the drivers behind customer loyalty for each genre of quick service restaurant.

Number of Visits Doesn’t Indicate Satisfaction
Based on the number of customer visits to the top 62 QSR brands reported in a 30-day period, the study ranked QSRs by category...

Feature Story:

Swiped Clean: NRF Applauds Latest Decision On Swipe Fees »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In late July, the National Retail Federation issued a statement from Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan on U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's decision that found that the Federal Reserve misapplied Congress' intent when it implemented required swipe fees reforms. The statement read:

"From the very beginning, retailers and restaurants knew the Federal Reserve Board of Governors had grossly misapplied the swipe fee law, also known as the Durbin Amendment.  They failed to heed Congress' call to set fee standards that were 'reasonable' and 'proportional' to the actual cost of a transaction. Instead, the Board manufactured a standard that was two to three times higher than the Fed staff recommended.
"As a result, small ticket transactions, such as those imposed on convenience stores and restaurants, skyrocketed under the misapplied law...

Feature Story:

Quick Service Restaurants Missing Big Opportunity: Study Finds Satisfied Customers Are Four Times More Likely To Recommend QSR's »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A new survey that asked consumers to weigh in on food, order accuracy, speed of service, menu, and other items at the top 62 QSR brands found that, not surprisingly, the likelihood of a return visit to a QSR increases from 20 to 81 percent when guests report a higher satisfaction rate. The study was done by Empathica, which provides customer experience management (CEM) solutions to multi-unit enterprises.
The Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers on the 62 top QSR brands, measuring food, order accuracy, speed of service, menu, restaurant atmosphere and cleanliness, staff, and value. Results determined brand rankings in these categories as well as the drivers behind customer loyalty and satisfaction...

Feature Story:

Franchising Health: FRANdata Reports On The State Of Franchised Health Brands »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Little has changed in health-related brands since last year's report. FRANdata still tracks 11 sectors across four industries: child-related, health and fitness, QSR, and retail food. The vast majority of brands aim at helping shed excess pounds, treating weary bodies through massages, or on handling the decline of physical abilities through home healthcare; only a minority focus on what goes into our bodies by trying to influence what we eat.
At the end of 2011, the latest year with complete data, more than 400 health-related brands operated about 33,000 franchised businesses. Fifty-three operated at least 100 franchised locations and controlled 28,665 units, 86 percent of the total. Only 15 percent of health-related brands started offering franchises before 2001...

Feature Story:

Customers As Consultants: Ask Them Questions And Listen To Their Responses »

By John Tschohl

Who are your customers? Do you know what they want? Do you know what they think about you and your products and services? If you don't, you have some work to do.
It's critical that you know your customers, so that you can give them what they want. You must be proactive. Instead of waiting for your customers to start leaving you and wondering why they are heading to your competitors, you must research their needs and determine their opinions of your business.
As soon as I mentioned the word research, most of you are probably thinking, "Oh, great. Now he wants me to spend a lot of money; money I can't spare."
The type of research I am talking about doesn't have to cost you anything. And it basically involves two steps:

Ask...

Feature Story:

Control Issues: Even When You Can't Control Events, You Can Control How You Respond »

By Moe Glenner

As a professional pilot, I meticulously pre-plan my flight including strong and continuous consideration and planning for the weather. I can't control the weather, but I can control how I react to it, including choosing to divert or not fly in it at all. However, there are times that, despite the planning, Mother Nature has her own little surprises. Regardless, as Pilot in Command (PIC), I must continue to safely fly the plane.
It is no different with life's surprises for any of us. Sometimes we can anticipate them and pre-empt either the change itself or its impacts. Other times we may not be able to control the events themselves, but we can certainly control how we react to them and our consequential actions afterwards.
Ask yourself this question: Do events control you or do you control events? Or better yet, are you influenced by life events or do you influence life events? How many times are we faced with a situation that seems hopeless and resign ourselves to whatever fate presents?
Typically, this will happen at what I call a "failure moment...

Feature Story:

Unique Opportunity--Act Today! »

By Dean Zuccarello

We are experiencing a rare alignment of stars in the franchise finance world right now, and it's essential that operators act quickly to take advantage of this situation, before the party's over. To understand the current financing environment, let's take a look at the economic "big picture."

Macroeconomic framework
Signals for overall economic recovery continue to be mixed. Households are deleveraging: the ratio of household debt service to income has reached a 30-year low. The housing market is on the rebound: inventory is down, prices are rising, and financing is cheap. Yet the latest figures show a negative GDP for the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2012, and consumer confidence has begun to wane. Jobs reports seem to swing up and down...

Feature Story:

Franchising Is For Girls!: Female Franchisees Are Carving Out Their Own Success Stories »

By Helen Bond

For most of her 40-year career, Linda Read says she has had to work harder, be smarter, and produce better results than the men in her field. Today she's the largest Auntie Anne's franchisee in California.
While she has seen improvement in attitudes toward women in business over the past four decades, she's also endured some seriously backward behavior in her earlier career as development director, first at a law school and then at two hospital foundations.
"I remember a man in a job interview asking, 'Are you sure a woman can ask a man for money?'" says Read. These days, such a question is not only verboten, hardly anyone even thinks to ask it anymore.
Proof of business success can be found in production, says Read, who operates 11 Auntie Anne's pretzel stores...

Feature Story:

Veterans Turn To Franchising: Record Number Of Veterans And Military Spouses Have Joined Franchising Ranks Since 2011 »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The White House and IFA recently announced that 290,000 veterans and military spouses have been hired or trained in the franchise business since the launch of the White House Joining Forces initiative in 2011.
The IFA and more than 500 franchised businesses that are part of IFA's VetFran strategic initiative, were part of the first private sector commitments to the White House Joining Forces initiative on Veterans Day in 2011. The IFA and its membership pledged to hire and recruit 80,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014, including 5,000 wounded warriors as team members and franchise small business owners. In the first year alone, nearly 65,000 veterans have started careers in franchising - including 4,314 as franchise business owners using discounts offered by VetFran member companies...

Feature Story:

A Clean Transfer: Key Considerations For Succession Planning »

By Gerald Marks

A franchise is not an ordinary business asset. You don't really "own" a franchise outright as you do a traditional business. What you own is a right or license from the franchisor to operate the business under the franchisor's name for a period of time (the franchise term). More important, when retirement, disability, or death requires a sale of the franchise, you cannot change ownership unless you meet the franchisor's requirements.
This difference becomes even more complicated when it involves multi-unit franchisees, who may be area developers or subfranchisors and who may have more than one unit in two or more unaffiliated brands or sectors (think donut or burger franchisees who are also hotel and convenience store franchisees). Not only are there different franchise terms for each of the franchises, there may be different franchisor requirements in the franchise and area development agreements controlling transfer upon retirement, disability, or death of the managing member or members of the multi-unit franchisee...

Feature Story:

Climbing The Service-Profit Chain »

By Jack Mackey

Rewarding its customers drives growth at Harrah's

I attend a lot of franchise conferences in Las Vegas. When you look around there, gambling seems to a very profitable business, right? But you also look around and see a ton of competition. And no matter where you play, it is basically the same games. By that description, the casino business is a commodity business. Same games, lots of choices.
What is really the difference between one casino and another?
Let me tell you a story about the unlikely little company that has become one of the world's most distinguished casino operators. The company started as Harrah's in Reno, Nevada. Over time, Harrah's was acquired by Holiday Inn and built casinos all around the U.S...

Feature Story:

Multi-Unit Franchising Conference: Multi-unit Franchisees Bring Spirit Of Optimism To Las Vegas »

Multi-Unit Franchisee




Themes of resiliency and optimism within the franchise community permeated the air at this year’s Multi-Unit Franchising Conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, March 27-29. As the event’s theme implied, these individuals are not only driven but believe the best is still ahead.
There were more than 1,200 conference attendees this year – several hundred of them franchisees. They represented food, service, and other retail concepts. They came seeking knowledge, networking opportunities, and looking for additional brands.
General sessions at this year’s event featured heavy hitters like Hollywood mogul Peter Guber, who has served as studio chief at Columbia Pictures and co-chairman of Casablanca Records, and today heads up Mandalay Entertainment, and Mark Kelly, former astronaut, Navy pilot, and husband of US Representative Gabrielle Giffords...

Feature Story:

A League Of Their Own: Female Business Owners Have Some Competitive Advantages »

By Marsha Friedman

"What's your best advice for women in business?"
It's a question I hear frequently as more and more women strike out on their own, whether it's to start their own company, write a book, turn their great idea into a product, or otherwise monetize their talents. The number of women-owned businesses in this country is growing 1.5 times faster than the national average. From 1997 to 2011, they increased by 50 percent.
I love seeing this surge of confidence! Putting yourself out there is risky, but it's better to try and fail then to spend a lifetime wondering, "What if?"
Yes, I do have a favorite piece of advice for women in business but first, a word about self-employed women. Did you know that our businesses added 500,000 jobs over 10 years while other privately held firms lost jobs? That in 2007, we accounted for $1...

Feature Story:

Have It All Done?: There Is A Difference Between Continuity Planning And Succession Planning »

By David J. Ciambella and Loyd H. Rawls

Over the years we have encountered hundreds of successful business owners who have made the statement "I have it all done," as they describe how well they have planned and documented their business succession plan. Unfortunately, in most cases these business owners were referring to the work they have done to implement their wills, trusts, buy/sell agreements, and life insurance, which we would constitute as business continuity planning. You may be asking yourself, what is the difference?
Business continuity planning addresses transferring a business to the next generation, whereas business succession planning addresses transferring a business through> the next generation. Frankly, achieving business continuity is a relatively simple transactional project addressed within your will, trust, and/or buy-sell agreement to transfer your business to your children or partners...

Feature Story:

Franchised Food Industry Stats »

By FRANdata

As of 2012, there were about 1,300 franchised food brands operating in the U.S.; roughly two thirds started offering franchises in 2000 or later.



In 2011, these food brands operated an estimated 176,700 franchised locations. The largest industry by number of franchised units is QSR, which accounted for 72% of franchised units in 2011, followed by baked goods (9%) and retail food (8%).



To estimate the growth rates in franchised food units, FRANdata created a sample of 488 brands for which consecutive data for 2004 through 2011 was available. In 2011, the sample operated 163,054 franchised locations, about 92% of the estimated total. From 2004 through 2011, the number of franchised food locations in this sample increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5%...

Feature Story:

Where Credit Is Due: Don't Hesitate To Give Employee Recognition Frequently And Publicly »

By Timothy Bednarz

In some companies, under the premise that they will be perceived more meaningful, rewards and recognitions are given so infrequently as to in fact be meaningless. In order to be effective in generating long-term, concrete results, such rewards, recognitions, and motivation must be given liberally, frequently, and publicly. They should be fun, uplifting, and encourage all members of the workplace.
A critical aspect of leadership is the manager's role as cheerleader. Leaders need to keep their employees motivated and emotionally prepared to do business in a marketplace fraught with intense competition, rejection, and failure.
There are both tangible and intangible aspects of motivation. The intangible aspects of encouraging words and pats on the back, although not insignificant, can be quickly forgotten, while the tangible aspects are visible and durable...



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