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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:

Baptism By Fire: Dunkin's West Pioneer Learns To Thrive Despite The Economy »

By Debbie Selinsky

Multi-unit franchisee Jason Duffy may only be 38 years old, but he could write a book about being successful in business during tough economic times. After all, "that's all I've known as a franchisee, since I opened my first Dunkin' Donuts store in Phoenix on Aug. 15, 2008, during the worst economic times in 60 or 70 years," he says.
Having survived his baptism by fire and come out ahead, Duffy, recently named one of the 40 Under 40 to watch by the Phoenix Business Journal, now has 51 Dunkin' Donuts stores in four western states.
His path to franchising began with a fateful meeting nearly 20 years ago with John Luther, who would later become president, CEO and chair of Dunkin' Donuts. A 19-year-old Duffy, who was working his way through college back east in Amherst, started a gutter-cleaning business...

Feature Story:

Against The Odds: Steve Baliva Helped His Community Through Hurricane Sandy »

By Debbie Selinsky

Steve Baliva knew Hurricane Sandy was on its way and headed for the New Jersey coast. So he huddled with team members from his area T.G.I. Friday's restaurants to prepare for what many forecasted to be the storm of the century.
"We knew it was coming and thought that we had five restaurants in the path of it," says the Tom's River, N.J., resident. "Turns out we had seven--five in Jersey and two on the border of the Pennsylvania side. We were laying up plans to close down on Sunday, Oct. 29, since we knew we'd lose power."
Baliva, T.G.I. Friday's 2011 Franchisee of the Year and vice president of restaurant operations for Metz Culinary Management, lives within 10 minutes of several of the restaurants. So on Tuesday he headed out to check on things...

Feature Story:

Dominate Your Competitors: Focus On A Customer Service Strategy »

By John Tschohl

If your company thinks "customer service" is limited to greeting a customer and dealing with their complaints, you're missing the big picture - and tremendous profits.
The reason most companies are weak on customer service is because they don't understand the financial impact a strategic customer service plan can have on the bottom line.
Make no mistake about it: The customer experience is the one true way you can dominate the market, crush your competitors, and have money flow from the sky. It is the only strategic weapon that cannot be copied - and you'll have a 10-year lead time before your competitors figure out how to duplicate your success.
For example, many companies overlook customer service and take the easy way out...

Feature Story:

Employee Cross Training: How ELearning Can Double Employee Value »

By Nate DaPore

Here's a scenario. You are looking to hire a new team member. You've reviewed applications, held interviews, and narrowed it down to two candidates. They both had strong interviews, have the same availability, and will take the same hourly salary. The only difference is that one has experience in the role, and the other has experience in the role, as well as training in other areas that could be useful.
Who do you chose for the position? The candidate who can fill more than just one role seems like a no-brainer. Right?
If an applicant with the ability to handle more roles seems like the obvious choice, then why isn't cross training employees common?

Why Companies Shy Away
Many businesses worry that cross training is too time and cost prohibitive...

Feature Story:

Failed Forward »

By Debbie Selinsky

Golden Corral Franchisee Leverages ‘hard Knocks’ Into System’s Biggest Success Story


By Most Anyone’s Definition, Eric Holm Is A Business Success Story. The Winter Park, Fla., Man Owns 30 Golden Corral Restaurants, Bringing In $155 Million In Annual Sales And Providing Jobs For More Than 3,000 Workers In Georgia And Florida.
But When You Ask Him About His Life And Career, Holm Is Just As Likely To Tell You About His Two Bankruptcies Or The Time His Independent Restaurant Fell Into A Sinkhole As He Is To Tell You That He Is The Most Awarded Franchisee In Golden Corral History.
“i’ve Been Broke Two Times In My Life And I Didn’t Enjoy Either One Of Them,” He Says. “but I Didn’t Hang Out And Have A Pity Party...

Feature Story:

Pathway To Success: Spencer Smith Follows The System And Gets Results »

By Debbie Selinsky

Spencer Smith may be quiet and unassuming but don't let that fool you. On the inside he's a savvy business operator who has been successful with multi-units and multi-brands and has earned his success by following "the program" and the Golden Rule. The 2013 winner of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Role Model MVP Award, he says following the program is a simple, yet powerful concept.
"Years ago, I read an article about franchising and some of the mistakes people make," says Smith, who opened 39 Aaron's and two Big O Tires stores across 8 western states--all in under 9 years. "I gleaned from that article that when you buy into a franchise, you're buying into doing business that particular way. If you have to be a maverick and reinvent the wheel all the time, both you and the franchisor will be frustrated...

Feature Story:

Dominant Theme: Six Multi-Unit Operators Tell How They Take Territories And Own Them! »

By Kerry Pipes

Domination is the battle plan. In this issue we once again take a look at franchisees intent on being the big boy, leading the pack, or simply, market domination - and where they do it. We've identified 6 multi-unit franchisees (two we've spoken with before). These franchisees aren't interested in just opening a store, they want to be the player in their cities and territories. If that means opening more stores, then that's what they do.
We took them to ask on why they chose the brands they did, how they took on their territories, how they've strategized their growth, and what lies ahead in their plans. They are tactical, savvy, and love attacking challenges.
Every time we put together this annual issue it's amazing to discover the tales of business discovery, determination, turnaround, shakeouts, and bare-knuckle expansion...

Feature Story:

Head West, Young Man: Danny Sonenshine Conquers California And Heads For The Pacific Islands »

By Kerry Pipes

Danny Sonenshine clearly remembers his father encouraging him to look into franchising back in the early 2000's. The elder Sonenshine had experienced his own successful career in the restaurant business and he had always been an important influence on his son.
"There weren't many Wingstops around southern California at the time," recalls Sonenshine, "but my dad saw the potential of the brand and how getting in at the beginning could be a great move." At the time Sonenshine was slogging it out as a litigator and transactional attorney with a major law firm in Orange County - and he was unhappy. "I didn't like working for someone else," he says. "And I didn't like not having any control over my schedule."
So he heeded his dad's advice and although he didn't know much about franchising or restaurants, he had heard that a couple of Wingstops in California were doing good numbers and that the franchisor was looking for franchisees...

Feature Story:

A Good Feeling: William Bruce Is Pickin' Up Good Vibrations...and His Community »

By Kerry Pipes

When we first got to know William Bruce late last year (MUF 2012, 4th Quarter issue) it was clearly apparent that he values people. The COO of American Fork, Utah-based Abundant Brands values his family, customers, his employees, and those in need in his community. His dedication to these important groups of people is one of the reasons he was selected as Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Noble Cause MVP Award winner for 2013.
Bruce remains dedicated to his company and the empire of more than 250 Subways and 16 Costa Vida Mexican Restaurants...and The Rescue Missions of Salt Lake City. Together they distribute the excess rice, beans, pork, tortillas, and other food flavors into a seven-layer burrito dish. These days, the regular delivery of 400 meals is known on the streets as "Costa Vida Thursday," says Bruce...

Feature Story:

Maximize Your E-Sources: Using Social Media As A Recruiting Tool »

By Nate DaPore

"Google," which became a verb in June 2006, is among many new verbs that have transformed the way we speak--and interact. Today we "friend" someone on Facebook, "bookmark" a website, "blog" an article, and "text" from our phones. Social media is rewriting how we connect with each other--and it's happening in every aspect of our lives. Twitter transformed how we get our news; Groupon revolutionized how we consume; Foursquare revamped how we "check-in"; and now, social media is redefining how we hire.
More than a decade ago, HR saw the emergence of job boards that allowed employers to reach an expanded talent pool with the click of a few buttons. Since that time, virtual hiring portals have dominated candidate sourcing. As social media infiltrates everyday life, franchisees must leverage these resources to connect with both their consumers and candidates...

Feature Story:

Young Gun: 25-year-old Opens 10 Red Mango's In Under Three Years »

By Debbie Selinsky

It only took Samantha Goldsmith less than three years to open 10 Red Mango locations on her native Long Island. That makes her the system's youngest franchisee, largest multi-unit owner, and Long Island the single largest market for the brand. That's quite an accomplishment, even for a veteran franchisee. But Goldsmith is just 25 and has been in the business for only three years.
Her list of accomplishments, punched up by multiple Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts, is the reason Goldsmith is something of a rock star at her store grand openings and the recipient of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's 2103 MVP Influencer Award. "It's great when young people come to the manager and ask if I'm there because they want to talk to me about being successful in business," she says...

Feature Story:

Youth Movement »

By Debbie Selinsky

Red Mango's youngest (and largest) franchisee is a brand ambassador

In less than three years' time, franchisee Samantha Goldsmith opened a whopping 10 Red Mango locations on her native Long Island.
That's quite an accomplishment, even for a veteran franchisee, but Goldsmith is a bit of a prodigy since the 25-year-old woman has only been in the business for three years. She is currently the healthy yogurt system's youngest franchisee and largest multi-unit owner, and has made Long Island the single largest market for the brand.
That list of accomplishments, punched up by multiple Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts, is the reason why Goldsmith is something of a rock star at her store grand openings and the recipient of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Influencer Award...

Feature Story:

Ideas And Innovation: Joe Hertzman Has Both At His Three Brands »

By Debbie Selinsky

As the father of four attending sporting events with his children, Joe Hertzman noticed that when they ordered ice cream they always requested waffle cones. So when Rally's decided to add new Cold Creations items to the brand's menu, Hertzman had a suggestion.
"I said, 'Look guys, why don't we put the ice cream in waffle cones and we can get another buck on the transaction and make another 80 to 85 cents?'" he recalls. "Around the office, we jokingly call it the JoeCone.'"
That kind of innovation over the years is what earned Hertzman the Franchisee of the Year Award from Rally's/Checkers and the 2013 Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine Innovation Award.
"Rally's has great brand relevance, and we truly appreciate their leadership...

Feature Story:

Maximize Your E-Sources: Using Social Media As A Recruiting Tool »

By Nate DaPore

"Google," which became a verb in June 2006, is among many new verbs that have transformed the way we speak--and interact. Today we "friend" someone on Facebook, "bookmark" a website, "blog" an article, and "text" from our phones. Social media is rewriting how we connect with each other--and it's happening in every aspect of our lives. Twitter transformed how we get our news; Groupon revolutionized how we consume; Foursquare revamped how we "check-in"; and now, social media is redefining how we hire.
More than a decade ago, HR saw the emergence of job boards that allowed employers to reach an expanded talent pool with the click of a few buttons. Since that time, virtual hiring portals have dominated candidate sourcing. As social media infiltrates everyday life, franchisees must leverage these resources to connect with both their consumers and candidates...

Feature Story:

Follow The Leader: Spencer Smith On His Simple But Powerful Strategy For Success »

By Debbie Selinsky

Sometimes leaders gain followers by being flashy and charismatic.
And sometimes role models are people like Spencer Smith, the soft-spoken Colorado multi-unit, multi-brand franchisee who has earned his success by "following the program" and the Golden Rule.
The winner of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Role Model MVP Award describes "following the program" - also known as Franchising 101 - as a "simple but powerful" concept. "Years ago, I read an article about franchising and some of the mistakes people make," says Smith, who opened 39 Aaron's stores in eight years and nine months and also owns two Big O Tires.
"I gleaned from that article, that when you buy into a franchise, you're buying into doing business that particular way...

Feature Story:

Happy Values: NBA Co-Owner Shares His 5 Tips For Staying Happy »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In his years as a successful entrepreneur creating and selling corporations to the likes of Coca-Cola and Kimberly-Clark, Richard Jaffe, one of the owners of the Phoenix Suns, found a few constants to guide him in business and in life.
"Love myself; live my values, and learn to give back," says Jaffe, who gained respect as an inspirational leader.
The most important of these and the key to happiness, he says, is learning to love himself. It's a recurring theme in the poetry he's been writing for decades and recently published in, Inner Peace & Happiness: Reflections to Grow Your Soul www.richardjaffe.net.
"I've found that loving myself is fundamental to my happiness," he says. "The one person I have a relationship with for my entire life is myself, so it's essential to make that relationship my priority...

Feature Story:

Going Big: One Time Ski Coach Races To Top-Earning Status In Franchising »

By Debbie Selinsky

Jim Fitlow is a lifelong skier and as he loves to say, “Turning is highly overrated.”
Now the former ski racing coach and his partner Mike Allen are applying that same “go big or go home” philosophy as multi-brand, multi-unit franchisees for Re-Bath, Floor Coverings International, and HomeStory Doors & More, all in Utah and Colorado.
Fitlow, born in Florida, was raised in Michigan where the ski bug bit him at a young age. He met Allen later, in college at Montana State University. When Fitlow got out of ski race coaching—“I enjoyed it and had some success with that for a few years,” he says—he began to look around for something that would keep him in Salt Lake City.
Fitlow and Allen knew a local Re-Bath franchisee, a retired plumber they’d swapped jobs with on occasion...

Feature Story:

Tri-effective: Joe Hertzman Wins With Three Brands Over Three Decades »

By Debbie Selinsky

Joe Hertzman is always thinking.
When the Louisville, Kentucky, father of four attended sporting events with his kids, he noticed that they always requested waffle cones when they ordered ice cream. So when Rally's decided to add new Cold Creations items to the brand's menu, Hertzman had a suggestion.
"I said, 'Look guys, why don't we put the ice cream in waffle cones and we can get another buck on the transaction and make another 80 to 85 cents?'" he recalls. "Around the office, we jokingly call it the 'JoeCone.'"
That kind of innovation over the years is what has earned Hertzman the Franchisee of the Year Award from Rally's/Checkers and this year's Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine Innovation Award.
"Rally's has great brand relevance, and we truly appreciate their leadership...

Feature Story:

Diversification Strategy: Longtime Papa John's Franchisee Consolidates And Grows »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Ricky Warman was a Prudential Securities investment manager who chucked the corporate life to take a stab at franchising in the early 1990s. He's created a successful operation over the past two decades and lately he's been strategically consolidating his business to Southern Florida.
At one point in recent years he had 53 Papa John's locations throughout Florida. Over the past four years, however, he sold off all the units outside his core areas of Miami, Dade, and Broward counties and redirected his focus to the remaining 31 units.
"I like to be near the stores and be able to concentrate on doing things really well right here in my own backyard," he says. But with his Papa John's territory now maxed out, and his desire to grow propelling him, he's turned his attention to additional brands...

Feature Story:

Division Of Duties: Retired Husband And Wife Vets Leverage Discipline And Know-How To Franchise Success »

By Debbie Selinsky

When Kevin and Laurel Wilkerson, winners of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Veteran Entrepreneurship Award, came to Marco's Pizza from the military using the IFA's Vetfran program, they were pretty sure their total of 44 combined years in the U.S. Army stood them in good stead.
"What I enjoyed most about the Army was the variety of things I did every day: decision-making, analysis, operations, logistics, training," says Kevin Wilkerson, who retired in 2005 after 24 years as an infantry office in the Army. "Franchising, especially multi-unit franchising, tends to be similar to that. When you look at what a multi-unit franchisee does in a typical day, you're talking about the fact that we can apply ourselves to lease negotiations, site selections, hard and soft science, construction, sequencing, marketing, operations, business analysis, personnel, training...



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