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Every franchisee who relies on hourly employees has struggled with finding good, dependable staff and managers. There are some tricks of the trade, techniques, and processes that can help you interview better, hire smarter, train better, and retain longer. Successful franchisees are the ones with great employees who are passionate about the brand, its customers, the people they work for, and their own career advancement.

Find tips and insight from human resources experts, franchisees, and franchisors who know what it takes to hire, train, and retain top-performing employees.

Feature Story:

People Power: Your People Are Your Greatest Strength »

By Jason Conrad

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Dave Ridley, who spent 27 years with Southwest Airlines as a senior executive in a variety of operational, commercial, and staffing roles. These included CMO, SVP of people and leadership development, SVP of business development, and VP of ground (airport) operations. Now a senior advisor to CEO Gary Kelly, Ridley is the embodiment of Southwest's mission: dedication to the highest quality customer service, delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.
Working with him at our annual customer conference and hearing him speak got me thinking about how all of us in the service industry, vendors and franchisees alike, could learn a thing or two from Dave. But as Dave would say, these aren't lessons; they're just reminders of what we've already experienced, seen, or heard...

Feature Story:

American Dreamer: Team Work Makes The Dream Work »

By Helen Bond

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen multi-unit franchisee Ali Shahid Butt learned long ago that success in business depends on other people. "Team work makes the dream work," says Butt, president of AR Group of Restaurants, which operates 25 Popeyes restaurants in 5 states.
Butt and his wife, Arian Rahmani, received the MVP American Dream Award for achieving remarkable success in the United States. Born in Pakistan, he journeyed to the U.S. in 1992, "based on the desire for achievement and success," he says.
"I had friends who always talked about the United States, its greatness, and the opportunity," Butt told the New Jersey newspaper The Trentonian. "This country inspires a person to succeed. People willing to work hard can always make a life here...

Feature Story:

Speed Thrills: Today's Customers Expect Instant Response »

By John DiJulius

Time and speed of service are critical to the customer experience. Everyone in the organization has to understand how valuable time is to the customer. In today's busy world, it is vital for businesses to demonstrate to their customers that their time is always regarded as a critical resource. It doesn't matter what industry you are in today. Companies like Google, Zappos, and Amazon have changed your business because they have affected the expectations of your customers.

It's all about time
The world of the Internet has made everything instantaneous, from information and answers to questions to getting products into people's hands. Today a friend can recommend a book for you to read, and within 30 seconds it can be in your hands on your iPad, Kindle, or other e-reader...

Feature Story:

Power Pumper!: Creativity Fuels Sunny Ghai's Multi-Brand Organization »

By Helen Bond

For Sunny Ghai, the key to multi-brand franchisee success is creativity. The founder of family-owned Ghai Management Services operates 7 brands, including 60 Burger Kings in 4 states. His ability to leverage the power of strong brands to make smart development decisions earned him the 2016 Multi-Brand Leadership MVP Award.
"The biggest fear most franchisors have regarding their multi-branded operators is that they will lose focus on a single path to grow that brand," Ghai says. "We have solidified their faith in our loyalty and we wear our logos with pride. We've shown our faith in our concepts by developing aggressively for them, sometimes opening three to four units per year for the same brand."
Ghai worked for Burger King as a restaurant general manager before becoming a franchisee in 1999, just four years after immigrating from India with his family...

Feature Story:

Guillermo Perales Named 2017 Multi-Unit Franchising Conference Chair »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Guillermo Perales, the largest Latino franchise operator in the U.S., has been tapped to head up the 2017 Multi-Unit Franchising Conference. He'll serve as chair for franchising's premier event for multi-unit franchisees, franchisors, and suppliers. The conference will be held April 23-26, 2017 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Perales is the founder and CEO of Sun Holdings, which operates more than 700 restaurant and retail units across 8 states. His brands include Burger King, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Arby's, Golden Corral, Krispy Kreme, Cicis, GNC, and T-Mobile. He takes the helm from last year's chair, Michael Kulp, president of KBP Foods, operator of more than 350 restaurants in 14 states.
Perales is no stranger to franchising or leadership...

Feature Story:

Creating Harmony In Sibling Partnerships »

By Champ and Kendall Rawls

Sibling partnerships create a dynamic environment - especially when managing relationships in a highly competitive multi-unit franchisee organization. Everything can feel personal because nothing can be "just business."
It is common to have varying opinions and differences in your personal relationships, and this is especially true with siblings. Growing up together, you share common memories and history. If your history resembles closeness, and reflects a deep and trusting bond, this can play into partner dynamics both positively and negatively. Sure, you all work together wonderfully, and are able to accomplish great things as a team. However, on the outside, to non-family members, your bond and togetherness might be intimidating and work against you in gaining the trust and respect of your other team members...

Feature Story:

Married With Franchise: Setting Boundaries As A Formula For Success »

By Helen Bond

One of the strategies multi-unit franchisees Brooke and Les Wilson practice to keep both their marriage and their business on track is to keep each in its proper place.
"After the first year of marriage and work, I wondered if we had more than a business partner relationship," says Brooke. "We had to draw a line. No business talk at home. If that means we stay at the office late to work through an issue, we do." That also meant no venting about business in their off hours, and no late night work emails, "a sacrifice we felt was important to keep work out of the house," she says.
The Wilsons, who own and operate five Two Men and a Truck territories in North Carolina and Georgia, are the recipient of this year's MVP Influencer Award for a Husband & Wife Team...

Feature Story:

What College Students Expect From Quick-Service Restaurants »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A new study finds that college students are no longer satisfied with eating cheap food on the go. These kids were raised on well-prepared foods with a variety of cultural influences and trained to seek deals given economic uncertainty. Today's campus consumers expect more from quick-service restaurants (QSRs), according to the findings of a new survey from leading college marketing and insights agency Fluent.
"The next wave of consumers starts with a higher set of expectations for engagement than past generations: food that is tasty yet affordable, made with quality ingredients, and a social environment," says Fluent EVP Michael Carey. "In changing strategies over the past few years, QSRs set a new bar for themselves. Even a quick meal is an opportunity to relax, gather, engage or find quiet time, and enjoy...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Business Philosophy »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Jesse and Charles Keyser
Brands/Units: 14 Sport Clips; 5 Little Caesars;5 Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning vans

Business philosophy:"Up-N-Out" is the philosophy we have developed where we are constantly developing people to move up in our organization--or out of our organization to pursue great opportunities with another organization. They never leave to work for a competitor because the skills we teach them are so applicable that the opportunities with us are huge for them. If you think of how an organization is structured, almost always like a pyramid, everyone at one level can't move up to the next level--there isn't room for everyone. So we have the culture that if you give us your best while you are with us, we will invest in you the same as someone who professes to be a lifer...

Feature Story:

A Culture Of Giving: The Saxton Group Is Committed To Its Communities »

By Helen Bond

When an EF4 tornado ripped through the northeastern Dallas suburb of Rowlett the day after Christmas last year, the people at a McAlister's Deli a mile away knew just what to do.
"Our manager was feeding first responders free, handing out food to anyone who needed it," says Adam Saxton, chief business officer at The Saxton Group. "He knew it was the right thing to do and that the company would support that decision without question. You can't do that if your people don't know your culture."
Employees of The Saxton Group, the country's largest McAlister's Deli franchisee, are card-carrying members of the company's culture--literally. Every employee receives a business-sized laminated card that outlines the franchisee organization's vision, mission, and values--with a special emphasis on contributing to the communities where they operate...

Feature Story:

Multi-Unit Franchisee Expanding Capriotti's Nebraska Market »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Capriotti's Sandwich Shop now has two Lincoln, Nebraska locations open for business thanks to multi-unit franchisee Corey Tallman. He just opened his second location in downtown Lincoln earlier this month and has plans to open one more in the near future.
Tallman became familiar with the sandwich brand while he was living in and going to school in Phoenix. He says he fell in love with the subs after just one visit. So when he returned home to Nebraska he decided he wanted to own his own business. While researching business opportunities, he recalled his time in Arizona and the Capriotti's sandwiches he loved so much. He ultimately decided to bring the brand to Lincoln and opened his first restaurant in August of 2015.
"The new Capriotti's restaurant is located in the center of downtown, just steps away from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln," says Tallman...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: On Community Involvement »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Ed Wolak
Brands: 96 Dunkin' Donut locations

Explain the role of community involvement to you and your company:The Wolak Group has earned a strong reputation for social responsibility and community involvement. As our business continues to grow, so do our community commitments. We continue to grow existing relationships with local and national charitable organizations, such as the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation (Central New York and Maine chapters), the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, and many more. We have also formed relationships with multiple cutting-edge companies to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce and re-channel our waste stream, and become an innovative "green" and sustainable business.

Feature Story:

Rushing Ahead: Former NFL Running Back Scores With Bojangles' »

By Kerry Pipes

Tshimanga "Tim" Biakabutuka, born in Kinshasa, Republic of Zaire in 1974, came to the U.S. with his family when he was just 6 years old. The family settled in Canada, in the Montreal area. Adapting to a new country and culture meant a lot of adjustments for him and his family, but they made the transition and built a new life for themselves. And, it turned out, the young boy had a hidden natural gift that was just a few years from being revealed.
Biakabutuka never played football until he was in high school. That's when he discovered he could run with a football and was good enough to earn the nickname "Touchdown Tim." His on-field abilities landed him a scholarship at the University of Michigan where he was a running back from 1993 until 1995...

Feature Story:

Former Marine Turns To Franchising »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Serving two decades in the Marines taught Fred Bowen a key lesson. "You are only as strong as your team is," says the 60-year-old multi-unit franchisee. He's applied that understanding to operating his 4 Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care franchise locations. The result has been a team-oriented culture that focuses on customer satisfaction.
Following 22 years in the Marines and nearly 6 more with the Oklahoma City Police Department, Bowen turned to a career in real estate. That's when he ran across an ad in the local newspaper for an auto repair shop that was looking for franchise investors. He began doing research and discovered he liked what the Cottman brand had to offer.
Bowen is always focused on his team. He looks to hire the best, train them well, and support them in as many ways as he can...

Feature Story:

2016 MVP Winners: Honoring Outstanding Multi-Unit Franchisees »

By Kerry Pipes & Eddy Goldberg

Franchisees work hard, provide jobs, help their communities, and inspire countless others to follow in the footsteps of their well-earned success. That's why we recognize the best of them each year with our Most Valuable Performer (MVP) Awards. Ten qualifying franchisees were chosen from a worthy group of their peers and honored at this year's Multi-Unit Franchising Conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Choosing MVPs is a lengthy, arduous process--also incredibly rewarding as we learn more about the lives and achievements of the many candidates. To qualify, franchisees must have at least five operating units and have been in a franchise system for a minimum of two years. This year's winners are power players, innovators, and creative thinkers with big hearts who genuinely care for both their employees and their communities and are working to make the world a better place...

Feature Story:

Family Business Perspective Matters »

By Kendall Rawls

An owner's perspective about the purpose and who the business serves directly impacts culture, ability to recruit and retain good people, and drive performance - all of which influences customer perceptions, revenue, and profits. In the franchise industry, often times, multi-unit franchisees do not intuitively view themselves as a family business owner. This misperception can and does have an impact on overall business success, sustainability, and value.
Is the purpose of your business to serve you and your ambitions? Or is the purpose of the business to serve and provide opportunity to your community? Is it a mix of both? If the mission and vision of your business includes serving those around you, then it is important to begin thinking like a family business owner...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Hiring And Taking Care Of Employees »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Michael Geiger
Brands: 7 Moe's Southwest Grill locations in Pennsylvania

How do you hire, retain, and take care of your employees? We've always looked at internal development as the first option. The average tenure of our upper management team is about eight years. The pace at which we have grown over the past three to four years has made exclusively promoting and moving internal candidates increasingly difficult, so we have been going outside the organization more recently.
Our average hourly wage is right about $10 an hour, about 40 percent higher than the state minimum wage. This, coupled with aggressive management bonus structures, has always been a focus for us. We expect premium performance and are willing to pay a premium wage for it...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Recruiting & Hiring »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Jeff Davis
Brands: 333 Arby's, 6 Taco Bueno in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming

How do you hire, fire, train, and retain? Recruiting and hiring the best talent we can find has been our number-one goal. We're always on the lookout for outstanding candidates. Given our growth, it's important for us to promote from within first and foremost. Our district managers and directors are the key to hiring and recruiting talent in the restaurants. We have processes in place to select the best candidate for the job, but at the end of the day it comes down to the candidates who can truly meet and support our company values and standards. Progressive discipline has always been our preferred method of trying to afford all employees the opportunity to improve...

Feature Story:

Leading By Example: How To Avoid Common Mistakes Even Smart Leaders Make »

By Dan Schneider

Admit it, you sometimes find yourself in a situation where you say to yourself, "Doh! I cannot believe I just did that!" Often it's something simple or small, but the fact that we showed some chink in our leadership armor shows we are not perfect, and we hate it. What we don't realize is that when we work so hard to be perfect and drive to exceed even our own expectations, we are constantly making some very common mistakes.

As leaders, we strive for everyone to see us as masters in our roles, the Obi-Wan Kenobi's of our universe. But the reality is that we actually get caught up in complacency and habitual routines. We also work in environments where it is rare for someone, especially a subordinate, to speak up and tell you that you are doing something that makes you look like a fool...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Finding And Keeping Talent »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Dan Ponder
Brands: 36 Hardee's in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia

How do you hire and fire, train and retain? We focus on hiring people with the right attitude. We can train anyone the technical skills, but we can't teach them to smile. I often ask when an employee is terminated if we did all that we could do as a company to help them succeed. We are putting more and more resources into training while at the same time developing tools that identify and reward good behavior. Given the high cost of replacing employees in today's market, we try to provide the best benefits we can at an affordable price. This will be the eighth year in a row that we have provided a 100 percent match for all employees that choose to participate in our 401(k) plan...


Learn More

2016 MVPs: Celebrating This Year's Outstanding Operators    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue III, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2016 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

Top Opportunities »

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