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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:

Words Of Wisdom: Community Involvement »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Adam Saxton
Brands: 67 McAlister's Deli locations
Explain the role of community involvement for you and your company: I believe the success or failure of a business depends on the community's support of that business and you can't ask for support if you aren't also willing to give it. I also believe that for anyone interested in community involvement or philanthropy that the first dollar you give should always be local, start at home before looking elsewhere. There are great needs in every town. Two recent examples: Our McAlister Deli's locations sold pink sugar cookies last October, as part of Cookies for a Cause, with a portion of the proceeds split among 13 local Susan G. Komen affiliates. In 31 days, 63 stores sold 36,105 treats, resulting in a donation of $18,052...

Feature Story:

Texas-Sized: Michael Knobelock Is Well On His Way To 100 Units »

By Kerry Pipes

They say everything's bigger in Texas. It's definitely bigger for Texan Michael Knobelock, whose Houston-based MSK Enterprises operates nearly 70 franchise locations spread across 4 different brands and 7 states. Since we profiled him 5 years ago, Knobelock has added Captain D's and Sears Appliance & Hardware stores to his Church's Chicken and Little Caesars stores. He also has his own restaurant, Dekker's Mesquite Grill, located in an affluent suburb of his hometown, along with plans to start building his own Italian restaurant this year.
He's come a long way since the 1980s, when he borrowed $10,000 from his parents to re-open a shuttered convenience store in Houston. He succeeded in that early business venture, which he eventually sold, and in 1992 used the proceeds to open his first Church's in Houston--becoming the first Church's franchisee in the city...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Team Leadership Qualities »

Todd Mulvahill
Brands:  6 Papa Murphy's Pizza locations
What are the important leadership qualities to you and to your team? How do others see you? What kind of party do you want? If you were to be transferred to one of my other restaurants tomorrow, what kind of party would your crew throw for you? Would it be a party of sadness, because they don't want you to leave them? Or would it be a party of joy because they can't stand working for you and they are elated that you are leaving? If any of our managers possess leadership qualities that would land them at the second party, they most likely should go find their happiness somewhere else.

Feature Story:

Millennial Psychology: Bringing Out The Best In Your Up-and-Comers »

By Jason Conrad

As I'm sure you've noticed in your dealings with Millennials, there can be significant differences between their attitudes and those of the Baby Boomers. What makes Millennials tick? How do their minds work, and how can we use that understanding to increase productivity in our businesses? Do Millennial leaders buy into the cliché portrayal of their generation as self-entitled, impatient, and erratic in the workplace? How do Gen Xers and Baby Boomers view these individuals as they rise within management ranks and take on leadership roles?
Millennials have much higher levels of perceived self-importance than their predecessors, typically brought on by the protection and emotional cheerleading of their Boomer parents. They crave career growth and progression and search not only for success, but also for meaning in their jobs and everyday lives...

Feature Story:

Multi-Unit Franchisee Bill Hall Elected Treasurer Of IFA »

franchising, leadership, dairy queen, multi-unit franchisee, investing, ifa

Longtime multi-unit franchisee and Multi-Unit Franchising Conference board member and former chair, Bill Hall, was named treasurer of the IFA at the board's summer meeting earlier this month. Hall has more than 35 years of franchising, financial management, and investing experience.
He has been a multi-unit franchisee of various brands since 1986 and is currently the CEO of Treats Investments, LLC, owner/operator of five Dairy Queen locations in Texas. He is also the CEO of Align Capital, LLC, a private equity firm in Austin, Texas, focused on investments for family offices. 
During his career he has also owned and operated community banks in Texas, independent restaurant concepts, various private equity operating companies, and real estate investments...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Taking Care Of Employees »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Brooke Wilson (and partner/husband Les)
Brands:  5 Two Men and a Truck

What are you doing to take care of your employees?  We recognize hard work, dedication, and loyalty.  Support their objectives and aspirations. Help them achieve their personal and professional goals.  Offer opportunities for advancement, and respect their wants if they are comfortable where they are.  We have brought in financial counselors to help them plan personal budgets to align with financial goals (like buying a new home, or paying for schooling).  We have provided training for business ownership and invested in business ownership via partnership in franchising.  

Feature Story:

Sibling Harmony: Leveraging Their Differences To Build A Company »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In some ways, brothers Jesse and Charles Keyser, 39 and 35, are very different, and that's good. So are their three brands--Little Caesars, Sport Clips, and Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning--which also is good. They've built their business over the past decade, by leveraging Jesse's salesmanship and drive, Charles' operational skills and passion for food, and their combined social media savvy into a steadily expanding franchise company.
"Charles is my counterbalance," says Jesse. "He's a more conservative person. He makes sure I can go out and open doors at a quick pace without us getting into financial trouble. Before we sign a lease, we talk about it. If we both feel good, we do it. If one doesn't, we put it on hold."
Their division of duties has Charles in charge of operations for Little Caesars (their first franchise) and Oxi Fresh, which the brothers signed on with in 2014 after being impressed by the brand at the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference...

Feature Story:

Millennials Looking For More Purpose In The Workplace »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Millennials have something of a mixed reputation when it comes to work.
Studies show that they aren't loyal to employers so much as to the job itself. They also want to find a purpose to their careers beyond making money - which is a pretty good thing, says Jackie Dryden, co-author with Bethany Andell of Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line: And Build Your Brand on Purpose.
Companies have had a front row seat in recent years for watching the difference between Millennials and previous generations, the latter being motivated more by traditional incentives, such as money.
"Millennials might be feeling the backlash of receiving negative press but they are right - a company must first start with purpose; then innovation and profits follow...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Hiring, Training, And Retaining »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Todd and Kelly Mulvahill, Owner/President/CEO; Owner/Secretary
Brands: 6 Papa Murphy's Pizza; 14, Gyro Shack

How do you hire and fire, train and retain?We always try to hire and promote from within with management whenever possible. We have not gone outside the company for management now for three years. When we have gone outside, we use Indeed as a media tool to find candidates. If I'm guilty of one thing, it is leading a horse to the water trough too many times thinking they will drink and they just don't. I tend to believe everybody is good. But sometimes it's just clear, an employee needs to go find their happiness somewhere else when company standards are not followed. We have a main store that we call our training store...

Feature Story:

Words Of Wisdom: Evaluating New Brands »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Sunny Ghai, President and CEO, Ghai Management Services Co.
Brands: Burger King (60), Taco Bell (9), Corner Bakery Cafe (2), Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza (1), Chevron (3), Conoco-Phillips 76 (2), Arco/AMPM (2)

What do you consider when evaluating new brands?The two biggest things we look at when adding a new brand are product and people. The most important thing is that you can't sell something you don't like. That was the first thing that attracted us to Taco Bell, its a brand my family has thoroughly enjoyed for years. When choosing Blaze, we actually compared it to its top competitors and the product was clearly far superior. In fact, we were on the verge of going with a different fast casual pizza concept when a chance meeting brought us to Blaze...

Feature Story:

Packaging A Punch: NFL Vet Invests In Title Boxing Club »

By Kerry Pipes

Former NFL linebacker Bryan Scott has two things on his mind these days: 1) building a successful chain of Title Boxing Club franchises in the Atlanta area, and 2) overseeing the company he co-owns, Noene USA, which sells a line of high-tech, ultra shock-absorbing insoles. If his track record is any indication, he'll be successful.
Scott was a second round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2003. He spent the next decade in the NFL playing defensive back and linebacker for the Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Tennessee Titans before winding up his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills. Like most athletes who reach the professional level, he says he loved it and was honored to play successfully for so many years. But unlike many of his peers, Scott knew there was life after football...

Feature Story:

Former NFL Linebacker Tackles Title Boxing Club »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Bryan Scott spent a decade in the NFL backing up his defensive line. But when his playing time began to wind down he got prepared for life after football.
These days, the successful franchisee has two things on his mind: 1) building a successful chain of Title Boxing Club franchises in the Atlanta area, and 2) overseeing the company he co-owns, Noene USA, which sells a line of high-tech, ultra shock-absorbing insoles. Based on his track record, he'll be just fine.
Scott was a second round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2003. He spent the next decade in the NFL playing defensive back and linebacker for the Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Tennessee Titans before winding up his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills. Like most athletes who reach the professional level, he says he loved it and was honored to play successfully for so many years...

Feature Story:

Breakfast Market To Heat Up In Next Few Years »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Nobody needs to tell Americans that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The statistics tell the story. The consumption of breakfasts and morning snacks is forecast to grow faster than the U.S. population over the next few years, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Total breakfast occasions, in- and away-from-home, are forecast to grow by 5 percent through 2019, ahead of the expected population growth of 4 percent. Annual morning snack occasions per person have increased by 17 percent over the past six years, according to NPD's continual tracking of U.S. eating behaviors.
The need for speed, affordability, and portability are the reasons why morning meal traffic, which includes breakfast and morning snack, at traditional quick service restaurants has been growing...

Feature Story:

Winning Combination: Pizza And Subs Fuel Growth For Jerry Heath »

By Kerry Pipes

When we last profiled Jerry Heath in 2010, the Michigan native was busy operating 11 Hungry Howie's pizza restaurants and had recently become involved with Jimmy John's, opening 5 units. As you might expect with an entrepreneur in the franchise business, things have changed.
"I've sold two Hungry Howie's, relocated my first store, and opened one new store," says Heath. "I've also remodeled two of my older locations and will have the rest of them remodeled by the end of 2016." But it's with the Jimmy John's brand that things have really taken off for him. He's more than doubled his number of units since 2010, opening six new Jimmy John's with another scheduled to open within weeks. In all, he now operates 9 Hungry Howie's and 12 Jimmy John's (with two more set to open, one in May and one in June)...

Feature Story:

Huntington Learning Center Franchisee Selected As 'America's Star Franchisee' »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Brian Riddick thinks a lot of the value and power of education. So much so that he purchased and began operating Huntington Learning Center franchises in Oregon, Texas, and Washington. He's seen how the tutoring services he offers can lead to real change in people's lives. And now he has been recognized by CNBC and their research partner Franchise Business Review as one of the nation's top franchisees.
Only one franchisee in each state was identified as being one of America's Star Franchisees. Riddick owns Huntington franchises in Bellevue, Washington and San Antonio, Texas, and previously owned centers in Boise, ID, and Beaverton, OR. Huntington Learning Center was the only tutoring company included in the America's Star Franchisees listing...

Feature Story:

Brands To Believe In: Going Long With Popeyes And Captain D's »

By Debbie Selinsky

Numbers and research notwithstanding, veteran franchisee Brian Smith chooses his brands using his gut instincts. "I like to go with things I believe in and know I can sell," says the Arkansas family man.
That's why it wouldn't be surprising to find the jovial Smith on any given day attired in his Mossy Oak camouflage attire while he chows down on seafood at Captain D's or chicken at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in his hometown of Springdale, Ark. Smith is an avid outdoorsman and hunter and longtime fan of Mossy Oak camouflage clothing, so when the company began to market real estate specializing in selling farm hunting land and other rural property, he got on board in 2008.
"I didn't even have to clean out my closet because I've always worn Mossy Oak...

Feature Story:

"Compassion" & "Empathy": Powerful Words In Customer Service »

By John DiJulius

I think the two most powerful words employees need to have permeating through their consciousness are "compassion" and "empathy." When you genuinely serve with compassion and empathy, your customer service is on a completely different level. The challenge is, How do you teach compassion and empathy? How do you make them more than just buzzwords and platitudes?
The top world-class customer experience organizations constantly put their employees in the shoes of the customer. When your employees really understand the plight of the customer--what the customer is going through, their daily battles--it starts to crystallize for them the critical importance of the customer experience they deliver, as well as the level of genuine caring they show each customer...

Feature Story:

Sport Clips Franchise Partners Are "Top In America" »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Arizona multi-unit franchisee partners Jared Lee and Val Hill had already won their brand's top award this year, and now they've been recognized by the new CNBC "Top Franchisees in America" report.
The two business operators first met at Brigham Young University before going on to become co-workers at Intel. They went out on their own in 2005 and have now operated Sport Clips franchise locations for 10 years. They own and operate 18 locations in the Phoenix metro area. Lee and Hill say they love the brand and how it caters to men and boys and offers what Hill calls "a little guy pampering."
Hill says of the brand, "I liked the fact that they weren't looking for experienced hairstylists as franchisees. They wanted people with business experience, and that's what Jared and I had...

Feature Story:

Burgers, Buffets, And Pizza: Securities Dealer Finds Security In Franchising »

By Debbie Selinsky

Mills Sinclair is a man living life on his terms. He's equally at home on the golf course at his Arizona home in Scottsdale, on the beach at his Mexican vacation home, or sitting in a corner of one of his restaurants on Sunday "watching families interact in ways they don't often do anymore."
A Chicago native who grew up in Arizona, he also has the best of both franchising worlds: he's not only a franchisee of Sonic Drive-In in Oregon and Golden Corral in Arizona and Idaho, he's also the franchisor of his own brand, Abby's Legendary Pizza, in Oregon and Washington.
Sinclair comes from a family of inventors (his grandfather invented the first vending machine to sell hot coffee), but as a young man he gravitated to finance. He earned his degree from Arizona State University in 1969 and went to work for Young, Smith and Peacock, an investment banking and brokerage firm that was a member of the New York Stock Exchange...

Feature Story:

One Brand Beyond: Multi-Brand Stars Keep On Shining »

By Kerry Pipes & Eddy Goldberg

Anyone who's operated a franchise business knows it takes a lot of hard work to attain (and maintain) a high level of success and profitability. Life changes dramatically with expansion from 1 or 2 to 5 or 10 units and beyond, with new challenges presenting themselves at each stage of growth.
Multi-brand franchising, a growing trend for some time, has many important advantages, most notably diversification, which spreads risk across different geographies, industries, and economic cycles. Signing on with different systems allows operators to learn from the best and apply those lessons across different brands, while some thrive on the stimulation and variety that working with several brands provides.
We all know business is really about people--the people who start businesses, the people who work in those businesses, and the people who buy from those businesses...


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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