FOCUS Brands Sets its Sights on Best-in-Class Hospitality through Technology

By | Press Release, Restaurants

Franchising Giant Empowers Thousands of Franchisees through FranchiseBlast

For Immediate Release: PRWeb

Toronto:

FOCUS Brands including Cinnabon®, Schlotzsky’s®, Moe’s Southwest Grill® and McAlister’s Deli® use FranchiseBlast Brand Consistency and Planning tools to delight both customers and franchisees alike. The best-in-class iconic, global foodservice brands will empower local restaurants through industry-leading mobile tools.

“We drive both hospitality and excellence for our brands,” said Steve Roach, CIO of FOCUS Brands. “That is done by getting thousands of little details right for our guests, which this technology will help us achieve.”

FranchiseBlast’s Brand Consistency software will allow Focus Executives and operations teams to identify and recognize top performers within the franchise network. Further, these tools assist with continued coaching and support for franchisees that require more attention including standards which need to be improved, audit averages, outstanding tasks and more.

At the same time, the brand is investing in Business Planning tools, enabling the franchisees and their business coaches to work together to set goals and achieve them.

“FOCUS is already a leader in the franchising community,” said Dean Hatzitheodosiou, Sr. Director of Business Development at FranchiseBlast. “We have had a fantastic working relationship over the past few years. These tools will help them maintain their elite position in our rapidly changing business environment.”

Embodying the entrepreneurial spirit, restaurant managers will also have the capability to self-assess their performance, rather than waiting for a franchise business consultant to do it.

“Our culture is all about equality, diversity, innovation and growth,” said Roach. “These tools will help us codify excellence in everything that we do.”

FOCUS Brands will continue rolling out new uses of FranchiseBlast’s extended suite of coaching tools into 2020. FranchiseBlast is also utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide actionable insights to the brands based on their operational excellence evaluations.

About FOCUS: Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands Inc. (“FOCUS Brands”) is a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands. FOCUS Brands, through its affiliate brands, is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,000 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shoppes and bakeries in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and over 50 foreign countries.

About FranchiseBlast: FranchiseBlast’s Scorecards, Franchisee Field Audit App and collaboration tools empower franchisors to achieve operational excellence and brand consistency across locations. Their user-friendly apps help strengthen and connect the franchise organization and are used by over 100 brands including Ballard Brands, Recipe Unlimited and Pita Pit.



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5 Franchisee Coaching Tips for the Busy Holiday Season

By | Franchise Coaching, Franchise Engagement

The holiday season is upon us and it is a fantastic time for family get-togethers and celebrating traditions closest to our hearts. Surprisingly, holidays can be a good time for franchisee coaching as well. It is a way for you to connect and engage the franchisees that you work with.

It is well known that social connections at work promote all kinds of positive things including:

  • Increased happiness
  • Less stress
  • Increased engagement and loyalty
  • Healthier life

Social connections and relationships with franchisees create even more of what they need to succeed, including motivation and adherence to the system.

1. Celebrate Accomplishments

The end of the year is a time of reflection. If you have a franchisee who has made a major accomplishment, why not recognize it? “Celebrating” can be a strong word for it, because recognizing accomplishments can be as simple as picking up the phone and saying “I just realized that you had your best year ever, congratulations.” Then, when the person is at the friend and family get-togethers, they will bring that feeling with them or maybe let the people around them know how good their business is going! You can also hand-write it in a card, or bring up an accomplishment on a group call.

2. Inspire Positivity

The holidays can be that breath of fresh air during a difficult period as a franchisor. This is an opportunity to turn that situation around. Model positivity in your demeanor and communications for the holiday, and the warm fires of holiday kindness could melt the coldest of hearts.

3. Cultivate Connections

Holiday get-togethers are a great way to create community. Although many franchise organizations are remote, you can encourage franchisees in the same region to meet, then share pictures with everyone else. You can also meet locally with the folks in your backyard.

4. Encourage Giving Thoughtfully

Secret Santas are an office tradition. Did you know that there is now the capability to do remote Secret Santas as well? Applications like Elfster can simplify exchanges like this, making it easy to manage, and create surprising connections. Having group goals to raise money for charity, with a matching promise from the head office for every dollar that the franchisees raise can also be a way to give thoughtfully.

5. Utilize a Wellness Challenge

Franchisors across the spectrum are embracing wellness challenges to bring people together. Typically done around the New Year, this can be a creative and motivating undertaking. This is not just something that your franchisees can be a part of, but staff and crew can be in it too. There are many ways to do wellness challenges, but here are a few examples:

  • Do a “step” contest where participants wear pedometers for a set amount of time.
  • Have a “menu” of activities that people can do to qualify, getting “points” for each one. For example, an activity can be walking up three flights of stairs, going to the gym, or having a salad for lunch.
  • Encourage walking clubs for sedentary workers. Have a “team prize” for the most dedicated group, such as gift certificates to their neighborhood athletic store.

Last Word

The holidays are full of rituals that differ by both family and tradition. But, the thing that all of them have in common is bringing people together. Creating these holiday initiatives with your franchisees can become holiday traditions before you know it!


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FranchiseBlast has been Selected by Best Life Brands

By | Press Release, Senior Care

FranchiseBlast technology will help Best Life Brands leaders empower franchisees

For Immediate Release: BusinessWire

Toronto, ON: FranchiseBlast, a complete franchise management solution, was recently selected by Best Life Brands, a multi-brand organization that includes ComForCare Home Care, At Your Side Home Care, CarePatrol and Blue Moon Estate Sales.

Best Life Brands will use FranchiseBlast’s mobile technology for coaching and planning tools, allowing the entire network to benefit from a greater emphasis on unit level economics. This means a focus on franchisee performance from both a top-line revenue perspective, and a bottom-line profitability standpoint.

“Forward-thinking franchisors want their field teams to be coaches, not cops,” said Jason Kealey, President and Co-Founder of FranchiseBlast. “Collaboration is the name of the game in 2020 and going forward.”

FranchiseBlast’s collaboration and planning tools are accessible via mobile device, and address a major pain-point across the franchising community. Best Life Brands believes this will create a nurturing environment for their franchisees and will foster healthy growth.

“Collaboration between franchisor and franchisees matter,” says Sean Kajcienski, CRO and COO of Best Life Brands. “These tools will help us create business plans together with the franchisees, and work collaboratively every step of the way.”

Best Life Brands will roll out the technology in early 2020.

About FranchiseBlast: 

FranchiseBlast’s Scorecards and Franchisee Field Audit Apps empower franchisors to achieve brand consistency across locations. The apps can be used by the franchise business coaches during their field visits or directly by franchisees themselves via self-assessments. Their user-friendly apps are used by over 100 brands including Focus Brands, Liberty Tax Service and Pita Pit.

For more information, contact Stefania Forbes at ssigurdsonforbes@franchiseblast.com or 647-971-7524.



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Global Franchise: KPIs in Franchising

By | KPI, News
Global Franchise Logo

We are pleased to be featured by Global Franchise Magazine to discuss KPIs in Franchising.

In today’s business environment, which is both highly competitive and data rich, KPIs (key performance indicators) in franchising are becoming a must-have to succeed worldwide. The management style connected with KPIs is especially important in franchising. You are working with entrepreneurs, not employees. An entrepreneur, worth their salt, will be motivated to succeed and will draw on the “I’ll do what it takes” mentality. This situation sets the stage perfectly for managing via KPIs.

Traditional management talks about “the carrot or the stick” as the two sides needed to lead effectively. In terms of the carrot, KPIs motivate, especially when they are displayed together with leaderboards. Having regional leaderboards in a global organization can be especially powerful.

Read more now…



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Clean Juice FranchiseBlast Testimonial

By | Customer Testimonial, Franchise Operations

Chris Hammond, VP of Operations for Clean Juice recently sent us this amazing success story about their experience with the FranchiseBlast team for integrations with new systems to enhance operations as a whole. Thanks for the kudos Chris! We are so happy to work with a forward-thinking brand like you!



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5 Effective Franchise Satisfaction Survey Goals

By | Franchise Engagement
Franchise Satisfaction Survey Goal

Many franchisors do have a Franchise Satisfaction Survey, but often those surveys are simply repeats of previous years and lack survey goals, with a few extra questions peppered in there for good measure. As a result, the Franchise Satisfaction initiative can be a lot of busy work, with few results. While some opt to use a professional service such as Franchise Business Review  to stay current, others are actively exploring the process, which is likely why our Franchise Surveys Done Right post holds such wide appeal, it consistently being one of the most popular posts on this website.

The first step to changing how you survey, is to have a goal. 

If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, Any Road Will Get You There

Starting your survey process without a survey goal, is like going on a long journey without a destination. In a franchisor’s very real world of limited resources, this approach simply makes no sense. It is okay for a survey goals to be broad.  According to SurveyMonkey, “Keep these top research questions in mind—they’re too broad to give you actionable information, but they’ll give you a good idea of how people feel generally. You’ll form more specific survey questions to ask about narrower topics.”

If You Don't Know Where You Are Going, Any Road Will Take You There.

Good questions to ask during the goal-setting process are quite straighforward. Sometimes it is a case where the answer is so obvious, it is hard to see.

  • What are we trying to figure out with this exercise?
  • Why do we need to know this?
  • What do we hope to do with this data once we are done?

Getting answers to this can also help you with getting responses, since you will ask the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) for the franchisees. Although goals differ by organization, it can be helpful to see sample goals to kickstart the process.

1. Measure franchisee satisfaction and compare it to previous years or benchmarks.

This is the franchisee satisfaction survey after all, so this is an obvious sample goal. Comparing it to previous years means that you will have to have some common questions, so you will not be starting from ground zero. Additionally, if you are part of a wider organization that owns a number of franchise groups, you may want to create some comparisons with sister or brother companies to create a benchmarking exercises and later trade best practices. There is a difference between robotically copying questions of others for no reason, and intentionally selecting specific questions for comparative purposes.

2. Establish a positive relationship with your franchisees.

When you open lines of communication in this way, it shows that you value what your franchisees have to say. Transparently showing your franchisees the results of the survey through an annual conference presentation by a senior leader, or a webinar will demonstrate to them that you have a real commitment to collaboration.

3. Receive feedback regarding the support services head office provides.

Some of the hardest working people are within the franchising community. But, sometimes we are so hard at work, that we have little time to see the impact that our work is having. Busy work is not the same as effective work. If there is a lot of effort going into something with little business value and little value to satisfaction, it may be time to discontinue it. Conversely, you may be surprised to see some more obscure initiatives creating a lot of satisfaction so it could be a good idea to explore those, and find more like them.

4. Learn more about what your franchisees want, need and like.

This goal is subtly different from the goal above as it takes a more global perspective on your franchisees. You are thinking about their entire experience, rather than only looking at the one head office provides. For example, their biggest need may be around local competition or recruiting in a hot economy. Head office could help with introductions to a franchisee who has had success already overcoming this problem, rather than creating an elaborate program.

5. Determine how flexible franchisees are and what supports they need for a planned change

A difficult reality of working in a franchise head office environment is that you cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube again. If you have rolled out something difficult and it has created frustration and even anger among franchisees, it is hard to reverse course. Understanding sentiment before-hand can help you see how flexible franchisees are to change and what supports that they need. Whether it is renovations or a new product line, sometimes change is inevitable. But rolling it out with appropriate supports, such as training and feedback loops, can make a huge difference.



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Ballard Brands Adds FranchiseBlast’s Mobile Tools to the Field as a Strong Catalyst for Growth

By | KPI, Press Release

Tools Empower Franchisees in 30 States and Three Countries

For Immediate Release: BusinessWire

Ballard Brands, whose portfolio includes PJ’s Coffee, WOW American Eats, New Orleans Roast, The Original City Diner, Boardhouse Serious Sandwiches and Ole Saint, among many others, recently signed a deal with FranchiseBlast for mobile Brand Consistency and Performance tools. The deal will impact over 155 locations.

“We are headed for rapid growth in 2020,” said Bill DiPaola, Chief Operating Officer of Ballard Brands. “Our field team will be utilizing enhanced Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and quality assurance tools to support our growing units. We’re looking forward to duplicating our most highly successful onboarding procedures for new franchisees as they enter the system.”

It is exciting times for Ballard Brands, as franchising brands dramatically expand their existing footprint. Although growth is fantastic, naturally that also comes with challenges. Managing the scaling effort is what the Executive team at Ballard Brands is focusing on with this investment.

“Putting mobile tools in the hands of field auditors will help them leverage the processes provided by head office,” said Dean Hatzitheodosiou, Sr. Business Development Director of FranchiseBlast with a strong track record of supporting companies through growth. “Benchmarking tools also utilizes the natural spirit of competition among franchisees and helps set everyone up for success.”

Benchmarking reports, measuring top strengths and top locations, for example, helps identify and encourage top performers. Top weaknesses, help drive coaching and training initiatives so that they are evidence-based, rather than improvised.

“FranchiseBlast will be a great partner for us,” said DiPaola. “They use technology to operationalize the processes that we have great confidence in.”

Ballard Brands signed with FranchiseBlast on September 26, 2019 and plans to roll out the technology in subsequent months. FranchiseBlast’s experience with the specialized needs of brand aggregators helped differentiate them from other solutions on the market.

About FranchiseBlast: FranchiseBlast’s Scorecards and Franchisee Field Audit Apps empower franchisors to achieve brand consistency across locations. The apps can be used by the franchise business coaches during their field visits or directly by franchisees themselves via self-assessments. Their user-friendly apps are used by over 14,500 locations including Focus Brands, Liberty Tax Service and Pita Pit.

About Ballard Brands: Ballard Brands is a hospitality and food service business formed in December 2001 by brothers Paul, Steven, and Scott Ballard after success in operating retail beverage franchises, Smoothie King and PJ’s Coffee, in North Carolina and Louisiana. After starting the company with one restaurant and two coffee house franchises, the company now owns, operates, and manages restaurants and food and beverage concepts in 30 states and three countries.

Their brands collectively total nearly 155 locations in both traditional and non-traditional models and continue to grow. Ballard Brands also operates wholesale brand New Orleans Roast Coffee, which is sold in grocery stores and featured in an array of locations, including restaurants, hotels, airports and convenience stores. To learn more about Ballard Brands, visit http://www.ballardbrands.com.

Contacts

Stefania Sigurdson Forbes
ssigurdsonforbes@franchiseblast.com
647-971-7524

Emerging Franchisor Roundtables: KPIs for New Franchise Systems

By | Events, KPI

Event: Emerging Franchisor Conference
Dates: November 19-21, 2019
Location: Nashville, TN

Being an emerging franchise is an opportunity to use the latest metrics to help you grow. At this roundtable, we will discuss:

  • What KPIs franchisors are using.
  • What types of KPIs foster growth.
  • How to get KPIs from existing systems (POS, Reviews etc.)

Join us at this unique session to learn how to grow effectively. Learn more about Emerging Franchisor Conference now.

7 Strategic Franchise Questionnaires

By | Franchise Audits, Franchise Business Plans
strategic franchise questionnaires

Some franchises, when they start, have just one quarterly audit – often driven by legislation such as food safety instead of having multiple franchise questionnaires. But did you know that the average franchisor in FranchiseBlast has six different questionnaires in the system? According to Atul Gawand, author of the book, The Checklist Manifesto, “The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably.”

In a nutshell, this means that even in fields like aviation and medicine, checklists are needed to pool the collective knowledge. In the world of franchising, this is particularly meaningful because franchise owners are buying into a system because they want to tap into expertise. Let’s take a look at some of the common franchise questionnaires we find in our system, representing over 13,500 franchise locations. To keep it simple, we separated them out into Operations, Training and Marketing.

Operations

Most franchise questionnaires we utilize are within the Operations team. Although the stereotype is of the ops person as a checklist wielding intruder, there are many ways to make operations activities helpful and even collaborative. See some ideas below.

Quarterly or Annual Business Plan

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Business planning is a common questionnaire that is fantastic to build collaboratively with the franchisee, and one that you can come back to over and over again throughout the relevant period.

Pro Tip: Don’t make the common mistake of mistaking cash for profits. Profits is an accounting concept, while cash-in and out can make or break the business. See more business planning mistakes here.

Food Safety Audit

Food Safety is often driven by legislation thus is sometimes used standalone. Foodborne illnesses are preventable and safe food practices encourage longer lives, and a more resilient food industry.

Pro Tip: If you get your food safety assessed by a 3rd party such as Steritech or Noraxx, you can add it by integration to your Franchise Operations software. With this, you get the full picture of the franchise and create interesting comparisons such as cleanliness and customer service, for example, to gauge the customer experience as a whole.

Weekly/Monthly Phone Call Business Check-In

This is a simple audit, but helps you stay on top of communication with your franchisee. It simply records the call, and makes sure any follow-ups that you need get tracked in the Franchise Operations system.

Pro Tip: A picture can say a thousand words. Getting the franchisee to send photos for a phone check-in helps you know for sure that the topic of the call was actioned.

quick call audit

Training

Countdown to Opening Checklist

Taking a snapshot at a key time before opening will make sure new franchisees are set up for success. Countdown-to-opening is one of the most common terms in training but making it a clear checklist with follow-up tasks and built-in accountability means you won’t have surprises (negative ones!) on opening day.

Pro-Tip: Some franchisors like to take several “snapshots” such as 12-week, 6-week, 4-week and 2-week.

Trainer Arrival Checklist

Some franchisors choose to have trainers on-site for grand openings. To give customers the best experience possible, there are a lot of details to look after. While the food may be ordered, and the proper smallwares are ordered and sparkling, other details may be missing, such as giftcards at the cash or maybe employees are not able to clock-in yet.

Pro Tip: Seeing aggregate results of common issues found in openings, can help you emphasize certain things in in-class training for later groups. For example, if there is an issue across the board with franchisees not showing their grand-opening promotion in the window, you can emphasize the foot traffic that such a sign would bring.

Marketing

New Marketing Rollout Assessment

While it would be great to believe that as soon as the roll-out e-mail gets sent from the head office legions of franchisees march out and make the campaign happen, but in reality, that is not the case. Assessing a roll-out tells you about both perceived effectiveness of the marketing team from the franchisee side, and the compliance percentage from the franchisor side.

Pro Tip: When assessing a roll-out which requires specific training material on a recipe, for example, snapping a photo can act as a great proof point.

New Product Readiness Audit

When you are rolling out a new program, sometimes you need to assess the readiness of the team. This audit helps you assess where they are vs. where they should be.

Pro Tip: Training is the new marketing in many ways, as customers rely on reviews more and more for their food and entertainment options. Having training and a percentage of crew complete on your audit is a great best practice for a readiness audit.

Last Word

Once you have the right collection in place, you can build a franchise scorecard. Take a look at our Franchise Scorecard eBook here.



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MITCon Roundtables: Marketing Audits

By | Events
MITCon Marketing Scorecards

Event: MITCon
Dates: October 23-29, 2019
Location: Austin, Texas
Host: Dean Hatzitheodosiou, Sr. Director of Sales and Business Development

Franchisors are increasingly looking to Marketing Audits not only for brand consistency, but also to grow their franchises.

  • Why simply auditing signage is missing the mark.
  • How to audit franchise marketing campaigns to ensure seasonal consistency.
  • What is the “ultimate question” to help you grow your franchises.

Learn more about MITCon now.