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Feature Story:

NLRB Ruling Hits Home With Husband And Wife Franchisee »

By Djenane Bartholomew

Every day my husband and I make decisions that affect the lives of 450 people and their families. It's a lot of responsibility but above all a labor of love. It is all part of being local franchise owners and living our American dream. The franchise model has been a gateway for millions of people over the years to achieve small business ownership, many of them from racial or ethnic minority groups. It is important to not only preserve, but to strengthen this business model.
My husband came from Grenada and worked for the UPS for over 20 years. As a young man, he had the foresight to invest in a property in Brooklyn that grew in value over the years. Blessed with some money when we sold it, we considered how to invest our good fortune into a new livelihood and soon discovered that franchising was the way to go for us...

Feature Story:

5 'Best Ways' To Build Your Sales Team »

By Steve Olson

If you are a young franchise company or in the midst of a turnaround effort, you have choices for developing a high-performance franchise sales program. I don’t promote one avenue over the other, because there simply is no single “best way” for all concepts. The type of business, franchise program, corporate resources, leadership philosophies, and other extenuating circumstances will influence which road to take. Here are your choices:

1) Do it yourself. This is still the most popular approach, but it requires the ability to free yourself from old thinking that may no longer work in the current market. For start-up companies, I strongly recommend that the founder is a) coached by a franchise sales consultant, and b) personally involved in the initial franchise sales process...

Feature Story:

Gary Grace Shines Bright During 35 Years Of Success »

Gary Grace is no stranger to franchising...and no stranger to success. He has been named the top franchisee in the country by Inc. magazine. He worked with Supercuts to open 86 salons in the New York metro region, including 6 in one day, establishing the brand in a new market. He's been featured in industry trade magazines. And he has served as chair of Franchise Update's Multi-Unit Franchising Conference.
But in the world of franchising, what he's done for Supercuts--and the people who have worked for him--shines the brightest. During his career, he's instituted or enhanced employee benefit programs, including performance incentives for all employees, a management evaluation program, increased education and training at all levels including quarterly workshops for stylists, an annual awards event, and more...

Feature Story:

2015 AFDR Highlights: How MUFs Find New Brands »

By Eddy Goldberg

This newsletter will present an ongoing series of highlights from the 2015 Annual Franchise Development Report (AFDR). The report is based on responses from 139 franchisors representing 36,313 units (32,693 franchised and 3,620 company-owned). This week: How multi-unit franchisees find new brands.

It's no secret that for most franchisors, experienced multi-unit operators are the gold standard. Their track record of success, along with their solid organization and infrastructure, makes them a safe bet - and a good one. Where these savvy operators go to look for new brands to expand their portfolio should be of utmost importance to expansion-minded franchisors seeking to connect.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) said they attend trade shows to find new opportunities...

Feature Story:

Transparency Ahead!: Prospects Are Demanding New Levels Of Information »

By Paul Wilbur

Prospective franchisees have lots of questions: How do I purchase a unit? Can I buy more than one? What will my territory be? How much does it cost? What are the royalty payments? How much training and ongoing support should I expect?
These are questions franchisors are accustomed to addressing and that regulatory documents confirm, but they are not the most important questions on the minds of prospects: How much can I reasonably expect to make? What is the likelihood I may lose my investment?
Franchisors find lots of reasons to justify not answering these two questions. That won't go on much longer. The market is rapidly requiring changes that will force franchisors to confront these questions. I offer three recent trends that clearly demonstrate a new level of transparency is moving to the forefront of the franchise business model...

Feature Story:

The Power Of Customer Insights: Understanding The Power Of Fact-Based Marketing »

By Jack Mackey

"Insight is a new configuration of knowledge that breaks the existing pattern of thinking in an unexpected way." This definition of insight comes from Luke Williams, professor of marketing and innovation at the NYU Stern School of Business. In short, insights drive intelligent marketing decisions that, when executed well, drive growth. Williams spoke at the Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference in Atlanta in June.
There it was also my pleasure to host part of a wide-ranging panel discussion on marketing strategy, planning, execution, results, and measurement. Executives contributed their insights obtained in diverse industries from child education to senior services. Retailers, personal service providers, and restaurant operators all shared surprising lessons...

Feature Story:

Building A Billion-Dollar Brand: Wingstop's Global Growth Appears To Be Unstoppable »

By Kerry Pipes

Charlie Morrison wasn't looking for a new opportunity. He was already at the helm of Pizza Inn and was the driving force behind the brand's innovative Pie Five concept. But in June 2012, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to take the reins at Dallas-based Wingstop, which he says offered him the chance to run a larger, growing company in an expanding market space.
Wingstop now has more than 650 restaurants worldwide and signed commitments for more than 500 more, the most in the brand's history. In 2013, the company notched its 10th consecutive year of same-store sales increases (9.9 percent), and domestic AUV rose to $974,000.
"In fact, over the past 2 years, our same-store sales have grown 23.6 percent," says Morrison. "That is almost unheard of in the fast-casual segment and certainly for chains our size, and we expect the strong momentum to carry forward this year...

Feature Story:

Collaborate, Communicate, Grow: Franchise Relations Come To The Fore »

By Eddy Goldberg

Franchise relations are in the midst of powerful, fundamental change. Driven by the maturity of franchising, the rise of large multi-unit operators, the after-effects of the recession, and, most recently, external regulatory and political threats to the franchise model itself, franchisors and franchisees are working together more than ever before--and looking for ways to do it better.
In our conversations with multi-unit franchisees and franchisors, we found three overriding themes: collaboration, communication, and having a structure in place to facilitate them. Here's how some are working together for mutual gain.

Collaboration
In his 35 years in franchising as a franchisee of Great American Cookies, Doc Cohen has seen the brand trade hands from its founders to a private equity firm, sold to its chief competitor, and then sold twice more to private equity firms...

Feature Story:

Check Your Franchise Agreement Before You Sell »

By Scott A. Augustine

Franchisees around the country are breathing a collective sigh of relief as the post-recession rebound officially sets in. For many who weathered the economic downturn, earnings have increased, profits are up (thanks to strategic management decisions), and potential purchasers are again lining up to enter the market with finances in hand. And for others, fair market value for the business has reached a point where it may make financial sense to sell, particularly for those who held on to see a better day.
But before you make plans to sell the franchise, whether now or in the next few years, there are a few simple steps that you should take to prepare and avoid unwanted surprises. After all, preparation enhances the value of your business; surprises cost money and time...

Feature Story:

BrightStar Care Husband-and-Wife Make A Perfect Team »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Jeff Tews and Susan Rather first met on a Multiple Sclerosis charity cycling ride. They immediately hit it off. Marriage came next and the couple had only been married for about a year when they entered a new venture as franchisees in the home care field. Together they own five BrightStar Care locations through their Madison, Wisc.-based company, which consistently performs at the top of the brand's franchise chain.
"We knew we had great communication, but we sure didn't want to mess anything up," says Rather. "We went in with eyes wide open. The advice we got from other couples was to clearly define who is going to do what. Over the years, we have melded that a bit."
Tews, after 33 years in the banking and telecom industries, was seeking a change of pace from the corporate world...

Feature Story:

Pinterest Isn't Working For Marketers - Yet »

By Gavin O'Malley

While Pinterest's ad strategy is taking shape, analysts remain on the fence about the pin-based social network, and its near-term marketing potential.

"Many marketers just can't seem to find success on Pinterest," Forrester analyst Nate Elliott writes in a new report. "Barely one-half of top brands maintain branded Pinterest boards - and those that do are unsure what to post, collect few followers, and see little user interaction."

Coca-Cola, for example, has fewer than 5,000 Pinterest followers, while its last 50 pins have been repinned an average of just 11 times each.

After eight months in beta, Pinterest officially launched its Promoted Pins program, at the beginning of the year.

Yet the new program doesn't give marketers enough web-based targeting criteria, according to Elliott...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: Feb 24, 2015 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Local Search Marketing Tips for Franchisees
Search marketing poses particular challenges for franchise businesses, who need to find ways to differentiate themselves from other franchisees online, as well as from the national brand, which can swamp their listings in local search rankings. Creative use of search engine marketing makes all the difference, but the best approach involves collaboration and coordination between all local franchise owners, and good support from the national brand. Rachel Lindteigen, senior director, SEO for PM Digital, writes on Search Engine Land, "Several years ago, I worked in the marketing department of a children's franchise organization, and we ran into several challenges. All of our franchise owners were essentially targeting the keyword have a presence there (58% of U...

Feature Story:

Challenge The Pros: What Do You Look For In A Salesperson? »

Franchise Update

What do you look for in a salesperson, and what are the critical elements to building a great sales and development team?


Larry Flaherty
Director of Franchise Development
Pet Supplies Plus

If you ask five different franchise development professionals this question you'll get six different answers. When recruiting salespeople, I look first and foremost to their integrity. I want a team I can trust to do the right thing, make the right decision, and not simply make a sale. I expect our sales team to look at each candidate and anticipate how they may or may not fit within our pet-centric culture. I look to them to provide me with their honest recommendation based on their observations. Next, I look for someone who has all-around sales qualities, such as a strong sense of urgency, and assertive personality, and who looks for solutions, not problems...

Feature Story:

CMO Roundtable: Identifying Your Ideal Customers And Target Them Effectively  »

Franchise Update


"How do you identify your ideal customers, and how do you target them effectively with your marketing initiatives?"


Melissa Conner
Marketing & Operations
Kidcam Camps

Kidcam Camps has 17 company-owned and franchised summer camp locations for children ages 3-13. Although we plan for our summer business year-round, we heavily market to our prospective customers for only about 5 months. Each location is treated a little differently, but there are a few initiatives we have found effective regardless of location.
Even though our business is all children, it's the parents making the decisions, and we know our customers choose us primarily on location. How close are we to their home or work? We look at a lot of reports in our off-season telling us where our campers attend school, where they live, and how they found out about us...

Feature Story:

The New Old Chicago: Transforming A 37-Year-Old Brand »

By Mike Mrlik

In the restaurant world, if you survive 3 years, you have essentially beaten the odds. Before rebranding to Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom in 2013, Old Chicago Pizza & Pasta had a successful 37-year history that served three generations of guests. The neighborhood restaurant, founded by a few buddies in Boulder, Colo. steadily grew to 96 restaurants in 22 states.
The brand made a lot of loyal friends along the way, but though longtime pizza lovers enjoyed the familiar comfort of the traditional beer and pizza combo, the American food scene was quickly evolving. Diners were becoming more knowledgeable about food and drink, and they were hungry for more upscale options with an emphasis on artistry and a passion for all things craft.
In November 2010, Old Chicago evolved into part of CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, the nation's largest brewery restaurant...

Feature Story:

Information Retrieval: FDDs Need More Useful, Actionable Detail »

By Darrell Johnson

When evaluating a brand, experienced operators have two big advantages over first-time prospects. First, they know what questions to ask. Second, most of the time they know what a good answer looks like.
The first advantage really isn't all that much of an advantage. Common sense leads prospects to ask many of the most relevant questions. In addition to how much they will be asked to invest and how much can be made from that investment, some of the more frequently asked questions include: the franchisor's financial position, the experience of the franchisor's management team, the amount of training and support, brand marketing efforts, and the performance of units and franchisees.
The second advantage is usually considered the big one...

Feature Story:

David Gronewoller On His People-Centered Formula »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

David Gronewoller is president of GC Partners, a Winston-Salem-based company that operates 12 Golden Corral locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. You might consider him an employees' employer. With more than 20 years of franchise experience, he believes "more in the man than the method" in overseeing his family-style restaurants. This people-centered formula for success has spilled over into the neighborhoods his restaurants serve.
Gronewoller's commitment to the community is far-reaching: in 2013, his restaurants served and delivered 1.1 million fresh meals to senior citizens in five counties. It's also personal: when his mother was battling pancreatic cancer under home hospice care, Meals on Wheels delivered food to the family's Colorado home...

Feature Story:

Can Energy Management Systems Really Work? »

By James Walton

Energy management systems (EMS) are great in theory but often prove problematic in practice for many multi-unit franchise owners. The reasons tend to vary but a common theme centers on the administration of the intelligent thermostats, the pre-conceived cost of installation and complexity to ascertain, analyze, and effectively apply the data.
All of these are valid points against EMS for entrepreneurial multi-unit franchisees who operate in environments with razor thin margins and who may have limited internal resources. These owners simply don't have the bandwidth or dedicated staff to effectively administer, monitor, and analyze the fire hose of data associated with energy management systems.
As a result, multi-unit operators often discard the notion of embracing energy management systems and the significant financial benefits and operational efficiencies they provide...

Feature Story:

Building An Effective Multi-Unit Strategy »

By Marc Kiekenapp

Editor's note: Marc Kiekenapp passed away prematurely in December at the age of 62. This column, from 2012, along with the accompanying "In Memoriam" piece, are our attempt to thank Marc for his many contributions to franchising over the past three decades, and to keep his memory fresh and alive in our minds and hearts.

Most franchise systems would like to attract quality multi-unit franchisees and enjoy the benefits of having fewer franchisees operating more units and reap the efficiencies gained in support, marketing, and training. Here are some tips for deciding if a multi-unit program is right for your concept.

Most franchise systems organically grow a single-unit owner into their first multi-unit owner without having proper systems or training in place for multi-unit operators...

Feature Story:

Marc Alan Kiekenapp: April 11, 1952 - December 15, 2014 »

By Gary Gardner & Therese Thilgen

The Franchise Update Media team joins us in sharing with the franchise community our sadness at the untimely passing of Marc Kiekenapp, our longtime columnist and friend.

Over the past 20 years, we, along with so many others in the franchising community, have had numerous occasions to do business with Marc and have always respected and appreciated his expertise, knowledge, and willingness to help. That relationship turned into a friendship we will always cherish, and miss. Marc had a solid reputation, and an honesty and dedication to everything he did both personally and professionally. We appreciate his best practices column, "Sales Smarts," which he contributed to the pages of Franchise Update magazine for the past six years...



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