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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:

This Is How He Sonics: Louisiana's Largest Sonic Franchisee Has Overcome Adversity »

By Debbie Selinsky

Ted Kergan has been a student in the school of hard knocks. He's got the diploma to prove it. But along the way he's become Louisiana's largest Sonic Drive-In franchisee.
While his buddies were planning for careers on the auto assembly lines in Detroit, Kergan, who always had an entrepreneurial bent, hired on with a motivational company after high school, hoping for a different kind of life. He says his three years there helped him conquer his shyness.
Toady he laughs when he talks about one get-rich-quick scheme he and his older brother, Gary, cooked up as young guys. "My brother and I had this idea that if we could sell a million of anything for a dollar, we'd make a million dollars," he says. They found a New York company willing to make a million beer coasters on credit...

Feature Story:

Multi-Brand Mavens: One Brand Won't Do For These Operators! »

By Kerry Pipes

For many multi-unit franchisees one brand just isn't enough. They prefer to spread their risk across different brands, seeking diversity and economies of scale. And while the payoff can be substantial, it can be tough to succeed in this niche: they needed faith, persistence, and a solid infrastructure to make it happen.
We looked far and wide to assemble a talented group of multi-brand franchisees who are dynamic, engaging, and who offer great stories. These six hard-working operators represent different-sized franchisee organizations, and all have at least two concepts. Their stories are different, yet share common threads: a passion for great products and concepts, a customer-driven focus, an eagerness to provide jobs and career opportunities for their employees, and a burning passion to grow their business and serve their communities...

Feature Story:

Not One For The Money »

By Debbie Selinsky


"I do it for the fun," says Mike Treadwell

When he was a young man fresh off the farm in Dalhart, Texas, Mike Treadwell wanted to stretch his entrepreneurial wings by opening a restaurant. First, he opened an Alfie's Fish 'n Chips in Amarillo, then a Mike's Fried Chicken & Fish.
One day, a friend who operated a nearby taco stand came over and asked Treadwell about his food and labor costs. "I said, 'Heck, I don't know. I've got money in the bank so I guess I'm doing okay.' He said, 'Oh Mike, you've got to know your food and labor costs if you're going to be in this long term,'" Treadwell recalls. "I thought at the time that I wasn't smart enough to do this."
Deciding he need to educate himself about the food and franchising business, he sold both of his restaurants and moved to Little Rock to manage a KFC restaurant for a franchisee...

Feature Story:

Franchising Without Walls: Oxi Fresh Franchisee Enjoys Freedom And Additional Income »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchising is a diverse world comprised of all kinds of brands, products, services, and opportunities. Many require brick and mortar offices and locations, but a number of brands have emerged in recent years that allow individuals to be a part of franchising without needing to build, purchase, or operate from a "brick and mortar" location. Some brands even allow people to continue working in other careers at the same time. One great example of the diversity in franchising these days is Alex Lee. The 45-year-old firefighter lives in the Bay Area of Northern California where he purchased and began operating an Oxi Fresh carpet cleaning franchise about a year ago.
The brand's "green," oxygen-powered carpet cleaning system has grown to include more than 250 territories in 45 states...

Feature Story:

Loyalty Through Service: Front-Line Training Keeps Customers Coming Back »

By Eddy Goldberg

When a customer ordered a sandwich at one of Mike Knobelock's restaurants in North Carolina, it came with pickles on it. "They didn't like pickles," says JJ Villafranca, COO at Knobelock's company. "They were a little irritated about it, but commented on how friendly the employees were."
So how did the company respond? The manager contacted the customer and asked them to come back and be treated to a lunch or dinner with him. Sometimes the area supervisor will make the offer. Villafranca says they are working on implementing this policy in all their restaurants. Regardless, he says, "We answer all our complaints."
"We preach that there's always something we can do inside of our four walls to make the experience for the customer better," says CEO Knobelock, whose company, MSK Enterprises, operates 47 Church's, 20 Little Caesars, 3 Sears Appliance & Hardware stores, and 1 Dekker's Mesquite Grill (his own concept)...

Feature Story:

Come Together: CEO Shares Tips For Encouraging Productive Collaboration In Meetings »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In survey after survey, company meetings get knocked by everyone from employees to senior executives as being among the biggest waste of work hours.
In one poll, by Office Team, 45 percent of senior executives said their firms would be more productive if they banned all meetings at least one day a week!
"The problem that often occurs - beyond the obvious, like lacking a clear agenda - is the underlying current of competition that each person brings to the table," says Berny Dohrmann, chairman and founder of CEO Space International, and author of Redemption: The Cooperation Revolution, (www.ceospaceinternational.com). 
"Competition pulls people apart; cooperation brings them together. Signs that competition is causing unproductive meetings include one or two people dominating the floor; individuals touting their achievements; people consistently failing to contribute their ideas because they fear being criticized or ridiculed," he says...

Feature Story:

Development Culture: Michael Kulp Is Looking To Develop His Brand And His People »

By Debbie Selinsky

In a time when many business executives are looking at what to cut because of rising payroll and healthcare costs, Michael Kulp, president and CEO of KBP Foods, a $250 million restaurant company with units in nine states, is taking an "inverse" approach.
"We're using our growth as a vehicle to handle costs rather than shrinking the business down," says the 38-year-old Colorado native. "We're making sure that our growth and cash flow outpace the costs of healthcare and payroll." This approach illustrates what Kulp finds most rewarding about his job, he says. "Our mission is to develop our people personally, professionally, and financially."
With that goal in mind, KBP Foods, which includes nearly 300 KFCs, Taco Bells, and Long John Silver's, took another major step...

Feature Story:

Pardon Me, Is This Your Two Grand? »

By Nate DaPore

If you're not filing employee tax credits, it could be

Do you know there is "free" money out there for your business, and that it is easier than ever to claim it? Last year alone, TaxBreak, a tax credit recovery and processing firm, discovered more than $200 million in available tax credits for clients. Many businesses don't take advantage of the tax credit opportunities available to them, for several different reasons.
Tax credits are designed to encourage businesses to provide job opportunities to groups such as veterans, those in a specified demographic, or those in a specific geographic area. To qualify, your business must have recently paid federal taxes and be for-profit. Businesses with hourly workers and high turnover tend to see the highest qualification rates...

Feature Story:

But Wait, There's More!: Three Brands, Four States, And Plans To Expand »

By Kerry Pipes

Grant Simon is a textbook example of a multi-unit franchisee who can't sit still.
When we profiled Simon in 2008 (Q3), he was operating 18 Great Clips salons in the Atlanta area. He was doing well but had an itch for more, and had just teamed up with fellow area Great Clips franchisee Greg Thomas (profiled in 2011, Q3) to purchase a car wash business.
"It looked like a good opportunity, so we did it," says Simon. "We turned it around and quickly sold it for a healthy profit." It was an omen of good things to come. The two entrepreneurs invested their proceeds in Great Clips salons outside their Atlanta market and the growing began. Since the end of 2008, Simon has opened 21 more Great Clips salons in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama through new builds and acquisitions, bringing his total to 39...

Feature Story:

If At First...: Persistence Pays Off For Louisiana's Largest Sonic Franchisee »

By Debbie Selinsky

Ted Kergan's path to success as Louisiana's largest Sonic Drive-In franchisee has been marked by hard knocks.
While his buddies were planning for careers on the auto assembly lines in Detroit, Kergan, who always had an entrepreneurial bent, hired on with a motivational company after high school, hoping for a different kind of life. He says his three years there helped him conquer his shyness.
Toady he laughs when he talks about one get-rich-quick scheme he and his older brother, Gary, cooked up as young guys. "My brother and I had this idea that if we could sell a million of anything for a dollar, we'd make a million dollars," he says. They found a New York company willing to make a million beer coasters on credit. They hired someone to put the (then) highly popular smiley faces on the coasters and dip them in cherry-flavored liquid--and tried to sell them as air fresheners at auto parks and car washes...

Feature Story:

Going Pro: Don Davey Shifts From NFL To Franchising »

By Debbie Selinsky

If you ask retired NFL defensive tackle Don Davey to list the qualities needed to succeed in the NFL or in franchising, his list is the same: competitiveness, tenacity, discipline, coachability, and focus.
Those same qualities worked well for him in the NFL, where he played defensive tackle for 10 years, starting with the Green Bay Packers and then moving to the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he led the young team to a berth in the AFC Championship Game in just its second year of existence.
The same qualities he displayed in the NFL have contributed to his success today as the operator of Firehouse Subs restaurants in Florida and as the brand’s area developer for Wisconsin. And that success has not gone unnoticed: the IFA named Davey its 2013 Franchisee of the Year...

Feature Story:

Family Success Story: David And Joye Griffin And Their 3 Sons Prosper In Hard Times »

By Kerry Pipes

When we profiled David Griffin in 2010, he had just purchased 25 Jiffy Lube stores in Colorado. The stores were underperforming, some were dilapidated, and the U.S. economy still at one of its all-time lows. Those factors created a perfect storm for Griffin to expand--but it wasn't a walk in the park.
"We've spent the last three years reviving those units, and it has been a monumental task," says the 56-year-old today. Griffin says it took millions of dollars to turn around those 25 struggling locations--and the process tested both the company and his family, which is deeply involved in the business. "I'm still working right alongside my wife Joye and my three sons," he says. "We are today's family farm."
The effort paid off, says Griffin...

Feature Story:

Enjoying Success: Working Hard - And Enjoying It - Spells Success For Mike Treadwell »

By Debbie Selinsky

Growing up on a farm in the Texas panhandle, Mike Treadwell was looking for a way to stretch his entrepreneurial wings. He thought of opening a restaurant. His first was Alfie's Fish 'n Chips in Amarillo, next came Mike's Fried Chicken & Fish.
But an eye-opening moment came one day when a friend who operated a nearby taco stand came over and asked Treadwell about his food and labor costs. "I said, 'Heck, I don't know. I've got money in the bank so I guess I'm doing okay.' He said, 'Oh Mike, you've got to know your food and labor costs if you're going to be in this long term,'" Treadwell recalls. "I thought at the time that I wasn't smart enough to do this."
Deciding he need to educate himself about the food and franchising business, he sold both of his restaurants and moved to Little Rock to manage a KFC restaurant for a franchisee...

Feature Story:

All-Around High Achiever »

By Debbie Selinsky

Measuring success by how many people he helps reach their goals

In a time when many business executives are looking at what to cut because of rising payroll and healthcare costs, Michael Kulp, president and CEO of KBP Foods, a $250 million restaurant company with units in nine states, is taking an "inverse" approach.
"We're using our growth as a vehicle to handle costs rather than shrinking the business down," says the 38-year-old Colorado native. "We're making sure that our growth and cash flow outpace the costs of healthcare and payroll." This approach illustrates what Kulp finds most rewarding about his job, he says. "Our mission is to develop our people personally, professionally, and financially."
With that goal in mind, KBP Foods, which includes nearly 300 KFCs, Taco Bells, and Long John Silver's, took another major step...

Feature Story:

The Fundamental Approach: Charles Smithgall Grows His Aaron's Empire By Keeping It Simple »

By Kerry Pipes

Charles Smithgall has a system. He operates with a simple business plan and model that focuses on executing fundamentals and getting results. He's refined the process over the past 18 years he has been an Aaron's franchisee. "This is my fifth career, but my first in franchising," says the 71-year-old. "It's a fantastic business model because it allows me to focus on operations and execute. Everything else has already been worked out."
And working out it is for Smithgall. Back in 2008 his SEI/Aaron's company had 61 locations in 7 states. Today, he has 105 locations in 10 states. And though he's preparing to hand over the reins to his son, Chas, in January 2015, Smithgall is not slowing down--in fact, he's stepping on the accelerator.
"We're right in the middle of a 10-year goal to grow to 200 stores, $250 million in net revenue annually, $20 million in net profit annually, and to create 25 millionaires within our system," he says...

Feature Story:

Franchising All-Pro: Former NFL Tackle Parlays His Winning Ways In Franchising »

By Debbie Selinsky

If you ask retired NFL defensive tackle Don Davey to list the qualities needed to succeed in the NFL or in franchising, his list is the same: competitiveness, tenacity, discipline, coachability, and focus.
Those same qualities worked well for him in the NFL, where he played defensive tackle for 10 years, starting with the Green Bay Packers and then moving to the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he led the young team to a berth in the AFC Championship Game in just its second year of existence.
The same qualities he displayed in the NFL have contributed to his success today as the operator of Firehouse Subs restaurants in Florida and as the brand's area developer for Wisconsin. And that success has not gone unnoticed: the IFA named Davey its 2013 Franchisee of the Year...

Feature Story:

Mega Movers: Six Multi-Unit Operators Who Exemplify Franchisee Success »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Not all entrepreneurs have the drive, initiative, and persistence to make it to the top. It takes a savvy operator who can evaluate risk and is not afraid to take it. It also means choosing great brands, assembling a talented team, and attracting raving fan customers to make it all work. Only a handful of operators can pull it off. We found six who did.
For our annual Mega 99 edition, we search out operators with unique stories who have achieved “mega” status. Each has a personal tale to tell, full of hopes and dreams, wins and losses, painful setbacks and triumphant successes. They are textbook examples of all that is good in the world of franchising.

Don Daveyspent a decade in the NFL as a defensive tackle before turning to franchising as a second career...

Feature Story:

True Perspective: Adversity Brought Focus And Balance To Charles Loflin »

By Kerry Pipes

Cancer was a wakeup call for Charles Loflin. He was a successful businessman in 2009 going from one accomplishment to the next. Then his wife discovered she had cancer and it quickly brought life into perspective.
"That was a real sobering wake-up call for me," says the 45-year-old multi-unit franchisee today, who quickly realized there was more to life than operating a successful business.
Together the Loflins faced the cancer, beat it, and his wife is now a cancer-free survivor. But that wasn't the only outcome of this life-changing event. Loflin had just opened two very successful Einstein Bros. stores and had five more to go in his agreement. He sold those stores back to the company, refocused exclusively on Wingstop, and began spending more time and energy enjoying his wife and two children...

Feature Story:

Keeping It Simple--Big Time! »

By Kerry Pipes

Charles Smithgall sets ambitious goals for his Aaron's empire
Keeping the business model simple has paid off handsomely for Charles Smithgall over the past 18 years he has been an Aaron's franchisee. "This is my fifth career, but my first in franchising," says the 71-year-old. "It's a fantastic business model because it allows me to focus on operations and execute. Everything else has already been worked out."
And working out it is for Smithgall. When we last spoke with him (MUF 2008, Q4), his SEI/Aaron's company had 61 locations in 7 states. Today, he has 105 locations in 10 states. And though he's preparing to hand over the reins to his son, Chas, in January 2015, Smithgall is not slowing down--in fact, he's stepping on the accelerator...

Feature Story:

All About Systems: Checks, Balances, Success For Charles Haney »

By Debbie Selinsky

There's a sign on the wall in Charles Haney's Burger 21 restaurant in Voorhees, N.J., that he believes lists all the best ways to succeed. One, he says, defines who he is: "B-different."
"When I was thinking about franchising, I'd looked at several systems, but when I went into a Melting Pot restaurant in California, everything--the food and non-food features--felt right. It was different from anything else out there. It spoke to me," he says. "When I went down to see the franchisor in Florida, that felt right too, because we shared the same passion and enthusiasm for the brand."
In 2007, Haney, a Boston native who sold his RainSoft water treatment company in Rhode Island after 10 years, opened a Melting Pot fondue restaurant in Atlantic City--and, along with his wife Wendy and their children, moved to New Jersey, her home state...



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