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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:

Holding Court: Food Court Pioneer Makes All His Brands Work Together »

By Debbie Selinsky

Jack Hough has never been limited by space. Back in 1996, he was trying to figure out which restaurants to place where in a somewhat limited space at the North Georgia Premium Outlets mall.
"It was our first outlet, and space for everything was an issue," says the Alabama native. "So I said, 'Why can't we run nine separate concepts out of the same kitchen with one GM?' A few of my franchise friends had a fit because it had never been done before, but after I explained that it would not interfere with their menus and concepts, we were able to get it done."
Over the years, Hough has extended that consolidated food court model into 14 airports, outlet malls, universities, and other "non-traditional" settings across 12 states. Today his company, MSE Branded Foods, represents more than a dozen national franchise brands, including Arby's, Sbarro, Subway, Steak 'n Shake, and signature concepts such as JJ's Sports Bar & Grill and the Buckhead Grill...

Feature Story:

Peak Performers: Steve And Joanne Reitz Aim For Perfect Every Time »

By Kerry Pipes

Steve and Joanne Reitz are partners in life and in franchising. Since we last checked in with him (2009, Q4) the two also have been partners in exploring. In 2010, with their teenaged son Matthew, they climbed Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet). "It was an amazing trip," he says. In fact, Joanne has been bitten by the exploration bug and has climbed several other mountains since, including Everest Base Camp in Nepal. But back at home, it's still business as usual for the husband-and-wife team.
When we last chatted with Reitz, he had 7 Supercuts salons in the Jacksonville, Fla., area and had just opened his first Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant in his territory of Western Oakland County, Mich. (Reitz, who now lives in Florida, grew up in Detroit...

Feature Story:

A Perfect Match: Nurse Makes Transition To Interim HealthCare Franchisee »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Lynette Helling spent her first three years as a nurse working in a burn center. She worked 12-hour shifts and supplemented her time and income with staffing shifts from a local staffing company. Then one day she spotted a classified add for Interim Healthcare in her local paper.
So she applied with Interim for additional supplemental income and ultimately found her interest in the company growing. She began working for Interim as the director of HealthCare Services. A decade later the Lincoln, Nebraska franchise territory became available and Lynette and her husband, Mark, became franchisees.
Here's more of what we learned about Helling.


Name:  Lynette Helling, RN
Title: President
Company: Interim HealthCare
Location/Territory: Lincoln, NE
No...

Feature Story:

Overcoming Excuses: 6 Ways To Gain The Edge And Meet Your Goals »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Great people throughout history often fail, quite miserably, before finally reaching their goals, says international business strategist Dan Waldschmidt.
"Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime; Winston Churchill lost every public election until becoming prime minister at age 62; Henry Ford went bankrupt five times; Albert Einstein was a terrible student and was expelled from school; Sigmund Freud was booed from a stage," says Waldschmidt, author of Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success, (www.EdgyConversations.com).
"Ideas, brilliance, genius - they all mean nothing without the guts, passion, and tenacity necessary to make your dream a reality. But often, people fall back on excuses and give up on trying to reach their goals...

Feature Story:

Egg-ceptional Operators!: She Once Wanted Nothing To Do With Restaurants »

By Debbie Selinsky

Rose Colarossi, a high-energy multi-unit franchisee from Frisco, Texas, likes to open remarks about her franchising career with this question: "Which came first: the mama or the egg?"
In this case, the egg--as in The Egg & I--came first with Colarossi and her husband, Rob, who today own three in the North Dallas area. Recently, along with partners, they signed on as area developers for Mama Fu's Asian House. They opened their first unit last October and have committed to opening 13 more in Dallas and Collin counties in Texas.
Colarossi admits that she was a reluctant restaurateur at first. "When my son tried to tell me about his work at The Egg & I during college, I told him running restaurants is the hardest job there is and one that I, personally, wanted nothing to do with," recalls the New York native and former Curves franchisee, whose past includes working as a behavior modification therapist for autistic children and a marketing research coordinator...

Feature Story:

Simon Says: Grant Simon Keeps It Moving With Three Brands In Three States »

By Kerry Pipes

Grant Simon entered the world of franchising with Great Clips. That's where he had found success when we first interviewed him back in 2008.
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 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 purchased 10 more Great Clips salons in Florida and Alabama through new builds and acquisitions, bringing his total to 28 units...

Feature Story:

Re-Brand, Re-Model, Or Re-Train?: Improve Hiring And Training To Increase Sales »

By Nate DaPore

Over time, every brand evolves to stay relevant to its customers. You may not go through a corporate "rebranding" exercise to the extent that Wendy's, Burger King, or Arby's recently did, adopting a new logo, new store design, and/or new products. If you operate restaurants, think about it: at some point, did you add new items to your menu, redecorate your dining areas, or buy updated employee uniforms? All of these areas, along with your logo and name, combine into your unique brand. Changing just a few of these is a smaller version of rebranding.
Rebranding your franchise is expensive. The costs associated with designing, building, and rolling out a new logo, store design, signage, uniforms, packaging, and advertising (just to name a few) can cost large franchises millions of dollars and countless hours...

Feature Story:

Banking On Success: Retired Banker Opens 3-Brand Car Care Center »

By Debbie Selinsky

John Mulherin, a former investment bank CEO, likes to say he flunked retirement. "I believe that as people age, they have a decision to make," he says. "That decision is: Am I going to allow myself to be put on the shelf, or am I going to put myself in a position to stay engaged and challenged?"
After 35 years in financial services, banking, and money management, Mulherin, a Chicago native, retired in his 50s and moved south to South Carolina's Charleston area. Three years ago, he decided, "I'd like to learn a new industry," he says.
"I looked at consumer trends and observed that one of the most pervasive trends is how disappointed and challenged most consumers feel about the simple act of getting basic car service and maintenance...

Feature Story:

Brandmaster Jack: Food Court Pioneer Juggles Multiple Brands Masterfully »

By Debbie Selinsky

In 1996, Jack Hough was trying to figure out which restaurants to place where in a somewhat limited space at the North Georgia Premium Outlets mall.
"It was our first outlet, and space for everything was an issue," says the Alabama native. "So I said, 'Why can't we run nine separate concepts out of the same kitchen with one GM?' A few of my franchise friends had a fit because it had never been done before, but after I explained that it would not interfere with their menus and concepts, we were able to get it done."
Over the years, Hough has extended that consolidated food court model into 14 airports, outlet malls, universities, and other "non-traditional" settings across 12 states. Today his company, MSE Branded Foods, represents more than a dozen national franchise brands, including Arby's, Sbarro, Subway, Steak 'n Shake, and signature concepts such as JJ's Sports Bar & Grill and the Buckhead Grill...

Feature Story:

Fully Inspected: From Fortune 500 To Top AmeriSpec Franchisee »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Tom Sutko spent three decades in leadership roles with a Fortune 500 company. The years taught him a lot about management and operations. When his position was eliminated four years ago he went searching for new opportunities and franchising topped the list. His due diligence led him to AmeriSpec, the home inspection service franchise that works with homebuyers, sellers, and real estate professionals.
Sutko says he loves his new career and his results have shown it. He has been racking up the awards, including finishing 2013 as the system's top franchisee. He's also active within his community and makes philanthropy a major part of his operations.
Here's more of what we found out about Sutko.

Name: Tom Sutko
Title: Owner/President, AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service, Omaha, Nebraska
No...

Feature Story:

Branching Out: Young Operator Adds Sears To His Two Food Brands »

By Debbie Selinsky

Conventional wisdom says it makes sense for multi-unit franchisees with food brands to stick with food as they expand. Ahmed El-Hawary doesn't see it that way.
El-Hawary, who worked in his family's restaurant as a youth, operates four Firehouse Subs. When he opened his first 12 years ago, he was the brand's youngest franchisee. Last December, he opened his first Golden Corral restaurant, a $3.5 million project built from the ground up.
But when the 34-year-old--who also worked in his father's business selling glass doors, screens, and garage doors--had the opportunity to acquire eight Sears Outlets stores, he didn't hesitate.
"It was an opportunistic choice. We're the third franchisees to come in and do the Sears Outlets, which are now outside the Sears brand but still have that strong name behind them," he says...

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...



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