Category

Retail

How to Implement a Program that Makes Compliance a Part of the Culture.

By | Audits / Brand Consistency, Restaurant, Retail

Several food safety scares in the 1990s, prompted franchisors across the world to pay more attention to better compliance. During this time, Sonic’s Chris Galuskin helped roll out a food safety initiative that was so successful, that health safety authorities in some regions allowed crew members to skip wearing gloves. We talked to Chris about the “20/20 rule” that he helped Sonic implement, and how people today could roll out something similar.

What was your role at Sonic and what is it today?
Chris:
“At the time I was a Franchise Consultant and it was the greatest job that I ever had. Sonic is a great company and I had a lot of fun. I eventually wound up becoming a Director of Operations. Later, I worked for franchisee out of Louisiana as a Director of Operations. Today I do some consulting and connect with people across my ever-growing network.”

What interested you initially in the franchising community?
Chris: “I just love it. You’re dealing with people who are entrepreneurs – they are always thinking outside the box. I love seeing people become successful, especially when they either use your idea entirely, or they adapt bits and pieces from it. Sometimes it is about helping them see what is right in front of them and that look in their face of “wow, I didn’t even know that”. Those things are really energizing for me.”

Thinking back to that time, of the late 90s, what prompted the renewed interest at Sonic about Food Safety?
Chris:
“We had this initiative, which was a national drive, and we really adopted it and made it our own. That was the ServSafe testing and certification. We really ran with it and our passion was to get everybody that was running a shift in the brand was to be ServSafe Certified.

“The first thing was to get our internal staff to be certified and train others, so it was a “train the trainer” model. That’s what really drove our interest and we started to really dig down deep into what Food Safety really was, and what that meant to us. We wanted to put a stamp on the brand. “

According to the ServSafe website, “the ServSafe Food Safety Training program leads the way in providing current and comprehensive educational materials to the restaurant industry. More than 4 million foodservice professionals have been certified through the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Exam, which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Conference for Food Protection (CFP). “

Stef: How would you describe your program?
Chris:
“The program was called the “20/20 rule” which was where the company empowered the franchisees and their staff to wash their hands every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. It caught on with our franchise network and their teams. We would set a timer and we would put people in on the schedule and we would write a number or a letter next to that name. Participants knew that when the bell went off for group “A”, they washed your hands. We tried to pattern it around the fact that everyone could physically wash their hands every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.

“That program became so popular with the local health departments in some counties that they allowed us not to use gloves because we were washing our hands continuously. They were so impressed with it that we became the “poster child” for food safety.”

At that time, how many locations did Sonic have?
Chris:
“When we began, we were probably just short of 1,000 units. By the time I left, I physically opened the 2,500th unit on the outskirts of Jackson Mississippi. It was a time of dramatic growth.”

How did you communicate that program and roll it out in a way that it worked at so many locations?
Chris: “
One of the great things about Sonic is that they communicated very well. Through our ServSafe training, we physically had 75-80% of the brand rotating through this program. It was a topic discussion in every class we had. That in-turn got back to the unit-level and they shared that information as well.

“We also challenged them to share what the impact was for their people and we wanted them to communicate that back to us. This was shared in some of our publications that we have within the system.”

When you mentioned the communications, is that something that GMs of the restaurant would see, or did you have a publication that went out the front-line staff?
Chris: “
The GMs would get to see it, and they would post it on their communication boards. We had small posters that were put up next to the hand-washing stations that communicated that to front-line staff as well.”

What challenges did you have in terms of the program?
Chris: “Any time that you are dealing with humans, they always “buck”. They think it is different and they resist the change. But some of those challenges are good because some people come up with creative ideas to complete their tasks. People who are like that and are very curious and eventually they see the results for themselves. They understand why it works.

“Once you get enough buy-in, it becomes contagious. That was one of the things that Sonic was so great at, and still is today. They’re a very happy-go-lucky culture. It is a finesse that reflects in their commercials. They do this Dr. Pepper Sonic Games where they all come together and compete.

“If you are communicating, repeating, enforcing and following up, things become culture. It is part of who you are. It is in your DNA. That particular program eventually became their mantra for food safety.”

Do you think that having that happy-go-lucky culture helped with trust between the franchisor and the franchisee?
Chris:
“That is one of the reasons why I loved working for Sonic. They had a sense of allowing you to be empowered for the change in the brand. Your voice meant something. Patty Moore was the President at the time; she was very influential in instilling that type of culture. She was able to talk to the dishwasher and the CEO in the same breath – she connected people.  It is a very humble brand. “

If someone was to do something similar, what advice would you give them based on your experience in this program?
Chris:
When we did the program, it was labor intensive. It was the most untechnical application that you could imagine, using pencil, paper and egg timers. Today “there is an app for that”. Also – don’t be afraid to ask for help.  That is my experience with networking and asking questions. You will be surprised by the answers that you get!

For every Battle Tested Strategy, we do a series of “fun” questions. Enjoy! 

What new behavior or habit adopted in the past 5 years has most positively impacted your life?
Chris: “
Connecting with people who are like-minded – and it does not have be foodservice or retail. It is finding out what makes them tick and what drives them to do what they do. I think if you get a tidbit of that information, it makes you better. It becomes a “brain rolodex”; it is in there somewhere. You can pull back that information and remember “I talked to someone the other day.””

What is a purchase less than $100 that has most improved your life?
Chris:
“A couple of things: One is having the right cord for the right technology. It is priceless, and it is only $10. I am an Apple user and integrating it with other things can be excruciating. The other purchase is getting the best router that you can find. I don’t know if it is because I have become impatient with technology, or because my processes are dragging so much more broadband. But, man I love my router!”

What would you put on a billboard?
Chris:
“Learn something new today.”

What book have you gifted the most to other people.
Chris:
“It is Andie Andrews The Travelers Gift. It is the best read I have ever had – I literally get goosebumps when listening to the audio version.”




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Liberty Tax Services Inc. Makes a Greater Commitment to Brand Consistency

By | News, Press Releases, Retail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – BUSINESSWIRE 

Liberty Tax Services Inc. Makes a Greater Commitment to Brand Consistency

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. July 26th, 2018: In an ongoing commitment to its core mission, Liberty Tax is employing mobile-friendly technology giving KPI data needed at a glance for their 4,000 locations. Liberty Tax is dedicated to offering the flexibility of a personal tax consultant with the security of a large, established company – a mission furthered by this investment in technology.

Supported by FranchiseBlast’s Brand Consistency tools, Liberty Tax Services is enhancing its ability to track the metrics of success that each location relies on to thrive. FranchiseBlast, a Canadian technology firm, provides a comprehensive suite of tools for franchisors looking to streamline their field coaching processes. With this in their arsenal, the franchisor not only ensures operational compliance but also coaches franchisees to improve their performance.

“We pride ourselves on the total level of support that we offer our franchisees,” said Martha O’Gorman, Chief Marketing Officer at Liberty Tax. “Keeping a brand consistent across all locations is a big part of the value that we provide.”

The tools will not only help from a Marketing perspective; the operations team will also benefit.

“A franchise coach’s time is much better spent actually connecting with people, rather than punching in numbers and copy-pasting,” said Dean Hatzitheodosiou, Sr. Director of Sales of FranchiseBlast. “Our tools make these processes more efficient, so coaches can get back to doing what they do best.”

The software company traces its roots back to the food service industry, but it is more than that today – they offer solutions for a diverse array of industries including Financial, Home Care, Fitness and Education. A tailored version of FranchiseBlast’s Brand Consistency suite is expected to roll out to all Liberty Tax Services locations by the end of 2018.

About Liberty Tax, Inc.

Founded in 1997 by John T. Hewitt, Liberty Tax, Inc. (NASDAQ:TAX) is the parent company of Liberty Tax Service. During tax season 2017, Liberty Tax prepared over two million individual income tax returns in more than 4,000 US/Canadian offices and online. Liberty Tax’s online services are available through eSmart Tax, Liberty Online and DIY Tax. Liberty Tax also  supports local communities with fundraising endeavors and contributes as a national sponsor to many charitable causes. For a more in-depth look, visit Liberty Tax Service and interact with Liberty Tax on Twitter and Facebook.

About FranchiseBlast

Since 2007 FranchiseBlast has helped franchises in their quest for operational excellence. With 13,000 locations from over 90 brands, FranchiseBlast combines elegant usability with turn-key quickstart programs. FranchiseBlast’s clients include brand aggregators such as Focus Brands and individual franchise brands such as Tide Dry Cleaners, Pita Pit and Tropical Smoothie Café among many others.

Contact:

Stefania Sigurdson Forbes
Sr. Marketing Director, FranchiseBlast
877-567-5282 x709
ssigurdsonforbes@franchiseblast.com

See Businesswire Submission

Digital Disruption in Restaurants – Franchise Growth Trend Hunter

By | Franchise Trends, Restaurant, Retail

Industry folks are talking a lot about digital disruption in restaurants these days. According to Steve DeSutter, CEO of Focus Brands, “The industry is changing […] One of the challenges I’ve put in front of my team is, if we are not innovating and remaining relevant to our loyal customer, we’re losing.”

The focus brands umbrella includes: Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, the Schlotzky’s sandwich chain, Cinnabon, Carvel and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. And more than ever, offering customers enhanced choice and improved speed are the ways to define your restaurant franchise.

Driving this paradigm shift (and so many others) is the ubiquity of mobile phones, and their access to the marketplace. To put it in perspective, most people would rather lose their wallet than their phone — that’s how important they’ve become! Positive reviews have always been great for business but now they’re becoming essential. In fact,  33% of Google searches include starred reviews, and they’re no longer a “nice to have” — they’re a need to have.

We live in a noisy world – there are a lot of brands are clamoring for our attention. According to Steve Jobs, “Marketing is all about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about. “

The retail transformation is here. According to Forbes, “e-commerce and shopping platforms such as Amazon — where 43% of all U.S. online retail sales are coming from.” With that in mind, let’s look at three franchise brands that are managing digital disruption beautifully.

To see the first two installments of our “Franchise Growth Trend Hunter” series, go to:

Off-Premise
Sustainability

Dunkin’ Donuts

Units: 12,435

Overview: Dunkin’ Donuts has long been at the forefront of mobile marketing in response to digital disruption in restaurants. Since the beginning of the digital era, they have been capitalizing on its ability to connect with consumers. As such, the company’s DD Perks program boasts 8 million members.

They are also considering a rebrand, removing the word “Donuts” from its name to appeal to modern, health-conscious consumers. But that’s only the very beginning.

Dunkin’ is trying to make their strategy even more future-thinking, with steps that include the following two strategies according to AdAge: “Use the face recognition on the iPhone X to see whether someone looks tired and suggest a coffee delivery if so, Weisman suggested. It is exploring an integration with Outlook that could suggest ordering food and coffee when someone schedules a meeting.”

They also have a new “concept store” which allows mobile orders to go in a different line, going right to the front, accelerating the process for customers willing to dive in digitally:

Bottom Line: Embracing mobile technology holistically is a big part of connecting with today’s consumer – it does not stop at a rewards program.

McDonald’s

Units: 36,899 Restaurants Worldwide

Overview: McDonalds has kept pace with digital transformation through their partnership with UBEREats in 10,000 restaurants and their mobile app, which offers a pay option.

They call this transformation “Experience the Future”. According to Diginomica: “(2018 is) set to be a year of massive investment in new digital platforms, with most of $300 million of savings elsewhere being pumped into technology spend.”

There is also an in-store component to the initiative, for those who still like to go into the restaurants. According to the same article:

“In many of our markets we’ve scaled the Experience of the Future platform providing our customers a more seamless, personalized and enjoyment experience with digital menu boards, self-order kiosk, greater hospitality and a modernized look. They are telling us they like the new McDonald’s better. They are rewarding us with more frequent visits and they are spending more on average when they do. We deployed Experience of the Future in about one-third of the restaurants in the McDonald’s system, including nearly 3000 restaurants in the US.”

Bottom Line: Digital transformation will be on the fast food menu in many different forms. Taking a multifaceted approach helps follow the consumer’s new habits, while hanging on to the basics such as friendly service and delicious food.

Dominos

Units: 9,285

Overview: In an interesting “parting shot” as he left his role at Domino’s, outgoing CEO Patrick Doyle said that Domino’s is on the path to go from 60% to 100% digital.

Pizza has lead the way in terms of home delivery. But as others catch up, they are now needing to be even more progressive. Domino’s is doing a lot, including a digital assistant named DOM who can take phone orders, similar to Amazon’s Alexa.

Part of their innovation is to have digital “hot spots” which have no traditional address for food lovers who want pizza at the beach or in the park. There will be 200,000 locations created, maximizing access for their customer base.

According to Doyle:

“The ability to now deliver to spots without a traditional address and other rather unexpected sites will not only continue to drive incremental orders in the near term, but it is yet another meaningful step on our mission of industry-leading convenience; and the ability to order from us anywhere, anytime. This is thanks to outstanding technology helped by continued aggressive investment, sound operations, which are vital to making the Hotspots process work and proper execution participation at the store level, a nod to our terrific franchisees, managers and drivers.”

Bottom Line: Innovative franchisors can still focus on “what is next?” An investment in innovation now, can help manage the digital transformation of the future.

Conclusion: As the digital and mobile technology continue to disrupt the restaurant industry, savvy business are leveraging new technology to connect with their customers in unexplored ways.

At the forefront of this movement are major chains like Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds and Dominos, all who have shown themselves more than capable to remain at the bleeding edge of innovation.

By maintaining the old-school ideals of quality products and expedient service, these companies and those like them can increase profitability and customer satisfaction by leveraging the latest digital technology available.

How FranchiseBlast Can Help

As things continue to evolve, you want to make sure that your operations are still strong, and that your service is at a high standard. FranchiseBlast’s Auditing and Performance tools help organizations stay on track and evolve with the times.

Detecting Franchisee Fraud

By | Fraud, Retail

stop franchisee fraud Do you suspect that your franchisees are misrepresenting their sales in order to pay less royalties? Or are they ordering from unauthorized third parties to reduce costs? While more prevalent in some franchise systems (where they are indicators of a larger systemic problem), fraudulent franchisees can be found in any system. Here are a few ways you can leverage data to preparing yourself for “the talk” – or worse: legal action.

The core requirement: collecting data

The techniques suggested here rely on having access to information. If you don’t have any information, you’ll be flying blind. Data lets you paint a more accurate picture of the situation. Most of this information should come from the operational solution that your franchisees use on a daily basis. Here’s some of the information you should be collecting – they don’t apply to all franchise concepts, but having more is better:

  • Real-time sales data from the point of sale.
  • Cost of goods sold from the point of sale.
  • Purchase orders from all the primary suppliers
  • Quotes from your customer relationship management tool
  • Schedules from your scheduling calendar

The core technique: benchmarking ratios

Noticing that a franchisee’s sales are substantially lower than your expectations doesn’t get you very far. All you have is a hunch. To validate that fraud is actually occurring, you need to compare two data points. Why? If you want to reduce royalties, it is easy to simply misrepresent top-level sales. Franchisees can “forget” a few transactions paid in cash or entered in a separate system.

What is much harder is to fudge two different indicators that are heavily correlated.

Restaurants

Benchmark the Purchases/Sales ratio across the system. When two locations have comparable sales but one buys much more raw product that the other, it means either they are highly inefficient, that there is some kind of theft going on (by the franchisee or by the employees) or they are purchasing goods from an unauthorized supplier. Instead of looking at the top level ratio, savvy franchisors drill-down to the specifics such as “Chicken purchases” / “Sales of all items containing chicken”. By looking at the ratios for certain proteins, they get a better idea of the store’s behaviour.

Retail

Retail systems allow you to track specifics on an item-per-item basis. For each item, you can compute the percentage of missing items as a (Purchased – Sold – In Stock)/Purchased. These items have either been stolen by customers or sold via some external system. By benchmarking ratios against a large number of locations, you’re able to pinpoint the most probably root cause.

Service franchises

In the service industry, one often cannot use the above ratios because no physical items are transferred between the franchisee and the customer. In these cases, two other ratios can prove helpful. First, the percentage of quotes accepted can be benchmarked across the system. Second, the percentage of time the franchisee (or one of their employees) is busy is also a good indicator. In both of these cases, low rates indicate a poorly performing franchisee and not necessarily a fraudulent one. However, if you drill-down to the root causes you’ll be able to determine if lost jobs (or jobs from other sources) are actually being secretly performed.

The silver-lining: improving performance

What’s interesting is that having access to this information and being able to benchmark these ratios across all locations can serve a broader purpose than just identifying fraud: it is a great way to improve performance across the system. The exact same indicators let you drill down into a unit’s weaknesses, giving you insights on what they need to do to improve.



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