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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:

Zero Tolerance: The Ramifications Of Harassment On Your Business »

By Timothy Bednarz

The role of the leader is to create a smooth operating and empowered organization that frees employees from obstacles and barriers to their personal productivity. The presence of harassing behaviors and those who would use them against their fellow employees destroys any and all empowerment and organizational cohesiveness a leader builds.
Harassment in any form humiliates and frustrates not only the victim but the employees forced to witness these behaviors on a consistent and regular basis. A "conspiracy of silence" typically develops that creates an organizational tolerance of harassment even when corporate policies are in place to prevent harassment in any form from occurring.
While harassment may not be tolerated at the higher levels of management, it can be present in the lower echelons of the organization...

Feature Story:

Rapid Growth: Tony Lutfi Goes From 52 To 134 Units In Three Years »

By Kerry Pipes

When Tony Lutfi was asked back in 2009 where he'd like to be in five years, he said 100 units. At that time he had 52. Boy does he mean business. Today his MarLu Investment Group operates 134 franchise units including Arby's, Church's Chicken, Jack in the Box, Little Caesars, Sizzler, Sears Appliance Showrooms, and Sears Hardware & Appliance.
"We accomplished that goal in three years," he says today, "in part because we keep the same focus on culture that has kept us in business and away from trouble." Lutfi's culture promotes teamwork and cross-functionality with a sense of ownership. His managers treat the business as if they own it and, he says, that has been the driving factor behind their cost controls and the real engine for their growth...

Feature Story:

Avoid These Common Hiring Mistakes: 10 Ways To Hire The Wrong Person Every Time--guaranteed! »

By Mel Kleiman

In my 20-plus years of teaching and consulting with business owners and hiring managers about how to "hire tough so they can manage easy," I've discovered there are 10 commonplace mistakes almost everyone makes that are guaranteed to result in bad hiring decisions and waste untold time, money, and effort. Thank God I've never had a client who's made all these mistakes at once, but it really only takes two or three to sabotage your efforts to hire great people. Are you guilty of any of the following?

Feature Story:

Mr. Hospitality »

By Debbie Selinsky

"If you're not hospitable, you're in the wrong game."

If President Obama decided to name an Ambassador of Franchising, John "JD" Draper, with his dapper attire, mile-wide smile, and booming voice would surely make the "short list" of top candidates. At least someone in Washington is listening: Draper was just voted onto the board of the IFA Educational Foundation's Diversity Institute.
Draper has been a student of franchising since his first job out of Wayne State University. "I went to work straight out of college as a shift manager for a Burger King in Detroit. I made $1.75 per hour," he says. Today, as president of operations for V&J Holding Companies in Milwaukee, he is responsible for 125 units, 6 brands, and 4,000 team members in 6 states (Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, and Massachusetts)...

Feature Story:

From Tasks To Individuals: Making The Transition From Manager To Leader »

By Timothy Bednarz

Managers are often task-oriented, and not necessarily focused on their employees. Leaders on the other hand are people-oriented; they work through and motivate their employees, utilizing their resources to perform assigned tasks in the most productive and profitable way possible.
Many managers confuse management with leadership, and feel they are automatically leaders because they occupy a position of higher responsibility. While this assumption is often true, many fail to display active leadership qualities. The roles leaders fulfill are different than those of managers, although sound management practices are complementary to effective leadership.
While some individuals are natural leaders, most managers must evolve into leaders both by investing time and effort in developing their abilities and by adapting their management roles to a more flexible, effective leadership style...

Feature Story:

Shipping Out Service: Navy Veteran Jo McCabe Succeeds With Mr. Handyman »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

You might assume that Jo McCabe has a background in home repairs. The co-owner of Mr. Handyman and the system's 2010 Franchisee of the Year, serves the Prince William and southern Fairfax counties in Virginia. But it's her background in the military that has helped her succeed in franchising.
McCabe attended the U.S. Naval Academy and received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and then furthered her education with an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. She worked as an aircraft maintenance officer in the U.S. Navy and served in the Reserves. McCabe spent eight years in physical security, overseeing the Navy's northeast region and eventually managing 1,500 people.
She graduated from the Naval Academy in 1991 and served until 1996, then joined the Reserves...

Feature Story:

Future Certain: Third-Grade Wish Comes True »

By Kerry Pipes

When Brandon Jones was in the third grade, his teacher asked the class to write about what they wanted to be when they grew up. "Most kids said things like 'Be a policeman or a firefighter,'" says the 33-year-old today. "I wrote 'Own a bar with my dad.'" It may have sounded funny to his teacher, but that's exactly what he went on to do.
Jones grew up in La Porte, Ind., a town of about 22,000. He was a hard-working kid who was throwing newspapers by age 13, earned enough money to buy his own moped at 14, and stayed busy doing various jobs when he wasn't on the athletic field or in the gym. When Jones was still a toddler, his father converted an old house into a small tavern, and it was here that Jones would finally fulfill his third-grade desire...

Feature Story:

Processes And People: Time To Renovate And Retrofit Your Customer-Focused Culture »

By Lisa Ford

Creating a customer-focused culture requires strategy and constant review. Each year you should review your goal setting and organizing efforts. Take the time to apply these same disciplines to your customer focus. I suggest going as far as renovation and retrofitting.
I encourage you to look at two areas - processes and people - to strengthen your customer focus.
Organizations' processes and systems can get complicated. Too often businesses have an internal focus that can create hassles for the customer. Customers want ease, simplicity, and responsiveness. No matter how the customer contacts your business, hassle free is their desire. Look at your website, social media, call center, phone handling, and in person contact. Where are the interaction points that can cause glitches, delays, and frustration? Evaluate how hard it is for the customer to reach you and get a timely response...

Feature Story:

Key Drivers: Motivation Must Be Personal To Be Effective »

By Timothy Bednarz

All employees are unique in what motivates them to perform to their capacity and excel in their profession. Most will do what is expected of them, but the motivated employee will go to great lengths to exceed expectations. The key is for managers to discover what truly drives their people. Once their motivation is understood, leaders have the power to get the most out of their employees.
Managers often feel there is no need to motivate their employees as long as the pay is adequate. Yet research has demonstrated that the majority of personal motivation is based upon a host of other significant factors such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, personal growth, and advancement.
Compensation is certainly a motivating factor, but it is often linked to these more prime motivators...

Feature Story:

Family Dynasty: The Saxton Group Is The Largest McAlister's Deli Franchisee »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Kelly Saxton remembers his very first job flipping burgers at his grandfather's diner in South Hutchinson, Kansas. "I guess that means that I've been in the restaurant business my whole life! I come from several generations who have worked either in restaurants or in the food industry."
Today he is founder and executive chairman of The Saxton Group, a Dallas-based company that is the largest franchisee of McAlister's Deli, and operates 50 of the fast casual restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, and four Pinkberry frozen dessert locations in the Dallas area. Recognized by Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business as one of the top Dallas companies for dynamic growth, the company has earned McAlister's Deli Franchisee of the Year and Developer of the Year awards numerous times...

Feature Story:

Good At Multi-plication!: Multi-Concept Franchising Continues To Grow »

By Kerry Pipes

When one brand just won't do, growth-hungry franchisees add new ones. And why not? Operating multiple concepts provides power in numbers--units, brands, territories, and cash flow--plus the additional security of spreading risk across different brands and territories.
But as experienced multi-brand operators will quickly tell you, it takes an efficient infrastructure to successfully manage more than one brand. Their organizations have talented people at all levels who know how to work well together to benefit the company, its employees, and its customers. Then there's the leverage multi-brand franchising creates, the economies of scale in advertising, market penetration, and buying power, to name just a few areas.
We've again asked FRANdata for their latest data on multi-brand franchising...

Feature Story:

Let's Ride!: Navy Vet And EagleRider Franchisee Rolls On »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Jay Staggs is sailing high these days with his EagleRider motorcycle rental franchise in Washington, DC. The former Navy submariner has faced his share of challenges over the last five years he's been in business but his hard work, determination, and military background have seen him through.
Staggs served in the US Navy from 1983 until 1989 receiving two years of training in electronics and serving seven tours on SSBN class submarines. This military training and experience helped launch his carrier in management, electronics, and software development. Following his time in the military, he worked for NASA and several software companies before transitioning into the financial services field where he rose to the level of vice president of information technology...

Feature Story:

Hiring: Finding The Best Employees »

By Mel Kleiman

Does your system screen out the best and hire the rest?

When it comes to recruiting and selecting new hires, it's amazing how many astute business owners and managers repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot.
I've made hundreds of best practice hiring system presentations, and whenever I ask if anyone in attendance has hired "the employee from hell," without fail, at least 20 percent of the audience will raise their hands. (And those are just the ones brave enough to admit it in public.)
Most of these hiring mistakes are the result of two behavioral tendencies that seem to be part of our all-too-human nature: 1) resistance to change, and 2) an inclination to take the easy way out.
When it comes to change, no one in their right mind would deny it's an entirely different world today than it was even a short 10 years ago...

Feature Story:

Engineering Value: From Engineering To Burger King And Beyond »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Just a couple of years ago Tom McDonald was a Burger King franchisee worried about the brand's need to keep up with the times. But he felt like no one was listening to his concerns. Then in 2010, global investment firm 3G Capital acquired the brand and the new management was interested in what he and others had to say.
McDonald had been a franchisee since 1986 and was among a select group of executives, franchisees, and suppliers assembled to evaluate every facet of Burger King's fare, which ultimately led to the rollout of a slew of new products in 2012 as part of a multi-faceted strategy to reimage the chain.
"I have always been an advocate of giving good value," says McDonald, who operates 35 restaurants, and recently completed a six-year stint on the national Burger King Marketing Advisory Council...

Feature Story:

Brothers In Arms: Two Brothers Make The Switch From Military To Franchising Operations »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Richard Martinez and his brother George served together during the first Gulf War. Now the two are serving together in a different kind of endeavor - franchising. The two brothers are busy putting the finishing touches on their new Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen location in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Richard Martinez served in the US Air force from 1983 to 1989 where he was stationed in the US as well as overseas in Korea. George served in the US Marines from 1988 through 1994. He was in the first Gulf War with the 2nd Marines.
The two vets have undergone a smooth process in preparing to open their business. They received a Small Business Administration bank loan and jointly invested their own money in order to open their franchise.
"If this Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen does well, then we will open up several more franchises in Oklahoma," says Richard...

Feature Story:

Tuned For Growth: Former Electrical Engineer Now Oversees 93 Precision Tunes »

By Kerry Pipes

David Grimaud grew up in the car repair business. His father, Joe, operated a Midas shop in Alexandria, La., where David spent many days working as a teenager. "It really taught me a lot about budgeting and business management," says the 52-year old today. Grimaud, however, had a passion for electronics that led him to earn a degree in electrical engineering from LSU and begin a career in Dallas in the mid-1980s.
Grimaud soon realized that he liked "being the boss" and that he wanted to operate a business of his own. In 1987, his father, who was overseeing 37 Precision Tune Auto Care franchises in South Carolina, welcomed his son into the family business with open arms and a few new responsibilities--like expanding the territory and growing the number of units...

Feature Story:

Game Time: Don Copus Is Part Of The "team" At His Hungry Howie's Stores »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Don Copus likes to roll up his sleeves and get in the game with his employees, literally. At least a half dozen times a year, he gathers his Hungry Howie's employees for a corporate outing where you may find the Berkley, Mich.-based franchisee batting for one softball team, pitching for the other, or manning the grill. No matter how you slice it, Copus, named 2012 Hungry Howie's Franchisee of the Year, is an employees' employer.
"I want them to know that I am approachable," says Copus. "I want them to realize that I'm no different from them. I started out with less than most of them, but worked hard to get where I am today. I want them to know that I'm willing to mentor them."
A native of Indianapolis, Copus, who operates 25 Hungry Howie's in Michigan, Indiana, and Utah, grew up in a family of eight in a 900-square foot home, made cozier by parents who welcomed any neighborhood child in need of a meal or bed...

Feature Story:

Married With Franchises: Couple Goes From Military Life To Franchising Life »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Kevin and Laurel Wilkerson are Marco's Pizza franchisees in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. They like to do things together. Before starting their careers in franchising they were both in the US Army.
Kevin spent 24 years as an Army infantry officer before retiring in 2005 as a full colonel. Laurel served on active duty with the Army as an attorney for over 20 years before retiring in 2008. The couple has seven advanced degrees between them including a law degree and a Harvard masters.
Following his military career, Kevin worked for Lockheed Martin as a consultant and he and Lauren started a mergers and acquisition firm to help small business owners buy and sell businesses. When he learned of the opportunities with Marco's Pizza he decided to try out his entrepreneurial skills...

Feature Story:

Family Business: Not Child's Play! »

By Michele Chandler

Three families succeed where many have failed

Operating a successful franchise business is challenging enough. Add in family members and things can get really interesting. Who's the favorite child? Who gets to be CEO, president, COO? When does the founder let go of the reins (and what if he won't)? Issues such as control or favoritism can sink an otherwise healthy enterprise. And then there's the problem of taking the business home or leaving it at the office. Here are three stories of family-run franchises showing that potential problems with family dynamics not only can be overcome, but can be the source of unique strengths that can be channeled into building a prosperous, healthy enterprise--and family.

His three sons
Ever since his sons can remember, Matt Holker has been an entrepreneur...

Feature Story:

Growth Overdrive: Tony Lutfi Exceeds His Own Goals In Just Three Years »

By Kerry Pipes

In 2009 we profiled Tony Lutfi and asked him our routine question about where he'd like to be in five years. At the time he had 52 units and told us he would like to be at 100. Goal achieved... and then some! Today his MarLu Investment Group operates 134 franchise units including Arby's, Church's Chicken, Jack in the Box, Little Caesars, Sizzler, Sears Appliance Showrooms, and Sears Hardware & Appliance.
"We accomplished that goal in three years," he says today, "in part because we keep the same focus on culture that has kept us in business and away from trouble." Lutfi's culture promotes teamwork and cross-functionality with a sense of ownership. His managers treat the business as if they own it and, he says, that has been the driving factor behind their cost controls and the real engine for their growth...



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