by Simon Lord
last updated 16/11/2013
Franchise Awards 2012/2013 - Star of Bethlehem shines at franchise awards
by Simon Lord
last updated 16/11/2013
November 2012 - New Zealand's top franchisee comes from Bay of Plenty as The Coffee Club takes both major titles at the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards.
Ivy Joe of The Coffee Club in Bethlehem, Tauranga, has been named Supreme Franchisee of the Year in the 2012/2013 Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards. Her combined café, bar and restaurant is situated in the largest outdoor shopping centre in the Bay of Plenty.
Ivy says that she’s shy, so when she was called up on stage to receive her first award as Food & Beverage Franchisee of the Year, she took Bhwana Magan with her. Bhwana is someone she knows she can rely on – as business development manager for The Coffee Club, she visits Ivy’s café every six weeks or so to review progress, talk over any problems and share new ideas. ‘Bhwana works hard with me, so she deserved to come up too,’ Ivy smiles. It was a moment that reflected the true partnerships that make good franchisees and franchisors so successful.
Just 90 minutes later, Ivy was the centre of attention again as she won the Supreme title – only this time she had Emmanuel Kokoris, the founder of The Coffee Club himself, for support along with NZ master franchisees Brad Jacobs and Andy Lucas. The celebrations doubled when The Coffee Club was also named Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year – the first time that the same brand has won both major awards since 2001.
WESTPAC SUPREME FRANCHISEE OF THE YEAR
Winner - Ivy Joe, The Coffee Club, Bethlehem Tauranga
Ivy Joe and her husband William are originally from Guangzhou and had hospitality experience before joining The Coffee Club, having owned a Chinese restaurant and a lunch bar in New Plymouth. ‘We had worked long hours every day for 10 years and then decided to make a change,’ Ivy says. ‘We wanted a business that had good systems which allowed us to work on the business, not in the business all the time. We liked The Coffee Club because it wasn’t just a café, it had the bar and restaurant side as well with a proper kitchen. It had good systems in place and we thought it was worth paying a franchise fee to get the marketing and support and all that experience to help you.’
They opened The Coffee Club Bethlehem in October 2007 and Ivy now runs The Coffee Club herself as her husband focuses on his other business interests, spending a lot of time in China. The couple have two boys, Jordan (13) and Jacky (11).
Although the Bethlehem shopping centre is still only 60 percent full, Ivy says her own business is growing by 8 percent every year. She explains her recipe for success simply: ‘We look after our customers and our staff and do lots of marketing. We have 16 staff and this award is really because of them – I couldn’t do it without them.’
And Ivy is having to get over being shy – winning the award has made her famous, with radio and newspaper interviews, comments from customers and suppliers and even complete strangers coming up in the street to congratulate her and her team.
WESTPAC SUPREME FRANCHISE SYSTEM OF THE YEAR
Winner – The Coffee Club New Zealand
The Coffee Club originated in Australia, and was brought to New Zealand in 2007 by master franchisees Brad Jacobs and Andy Lucas. Brad knew the franchise well, having worked in one of the outlets since he was 16, and the pair brought a combination of experience, youthful enthusiasm and a passion for planning to the role. ‘We produced a 40 or 50 page business plan to convince The Coffee Club we were serious and that reflected what we’ve actually achieved pretty closely,’ says Andy. ‘We reckoned on having 30-odd stores after 5 years and we’ll actually have 40 open by Christmas. We had confidence in our background work and knew how good the system and the brand were, so I guess that being young we just dived in head first and hit the ground running.
‘It was quite difficult to get people to believe we could do what we said. Some other Australian companies had struggled here so they thought we were being over-ambitious, but we found a few supporters and suppliers who had faith in us and we’ve stuck by them ever since.
‘For me, what marks The Coffee Club out as special is our support and our systems. That’s why people join the franchise and our ethics are, if you say you’re going to do something you have to deliver. To have Ivy win the Supreme Franchisee award, then win the Supreme Franchise System award ourselves, was amazing – especially in front of Emmanuel. We’re still having to pinch ourselves!’
Awards were presented to franchise systems and franchisees in each of four categories (there were no finalists in the Business Services category this year). The winners of the Westpac Supreme Awards were then chosen from the category winners. The four categories were:
- Home Services
- Lifestyle Services
- Food & Beverage
Franchisee of the Year
Winner – David & Prue Kimber, Poolwerx Hamilton
David and Prue Kimber may be the only PoolWerx franchisees in New Zealand but they are regular winners at the Awards. According to the judges, ‘A particular strength of this franchisee is the area of business planning which enables them to quickly recognise and respond to the potential impacts of the economic environment. Poolwerx Hamilton has implemented changes to differentiate the business from its competitors, allowing David and Prue to continue successfully developing their franchise.’
Other finalists: Hire A Hubby, Kapiti; V.I.P. Home Cleaning, Auckland; V.I.P. Home Cleaning, Tauranga.
Franchise System of the Year
Winner – Select Franchising
Select Franchising operates lawnmowing, cleaning and car valeting franchises. They were finalists in this category last year and owners Mark and Mary-Anne Gilbert also won the Master Franchisee of the Year title in 2011. This year, they impressed the judges with a detailed presentation including significant supporting information. The judges said, ‘Select clearly understands its business and has well-documented systems. They show great use of data and information to monitor performance well. These approaches are delivering some good results for Select.’ Accepting the Award, Mark thanked the judges from previous years for their feedback, saying 'It's been incredibly useful.'
Highly Commended – V.I.P. Home Services
V.I.P. Home Services NZ master franchisees John and Estelle Logan took a break from entering the Awards for a couple of years but they were back in 2012 and proved they were still on top form. ‘This is a high-quality franchise system with effective systems and processes in place,’ was the judges’ verdict. ‘This allows V.I.P. franchisees to deliver consistent, quality services to their customers. They have continued to achieve sound steady growth despite the challenging economic environment.’
Other finalists: Green Acres; Hire A Hubby; Refresh Renovation.
Franchisee of the Year
Winners - Faisal & Faieka Abrahams, SKIDS Remuera, Bayfield, Anchorage Park, Auckland
The after-school care SKIDS dominated the franchisee sector of this category again, but the positions were reversed. Husband and wife team Faisal and Faieka Abrahams were highly commended last year but won the title this year by demonstrating a sound business supported by good planning with very clear key business objectives. ‘Their strong focused approach to customers and marketing, along with good management of key processes, has resulted in continuous quality improvement and has delivered a comprehensive range of very good results.’ A tearful Faieka accepted the Award, thanking her husband for his love and support and 'our two beautiful daughters for keeping me grounded.'
Highly Commended – Clare & Eugene Williams, SKIDS Willowbank and Sancta Maria, Auckland
2011 category winners Clare & Eugene Williams has to settle for highly commended this year but were delighted by their fellow franchisees’ success. According to the judges, ‘These franchisees have a clear focus on delivering a professional, quality service to its customers using an innovative and sustainable approach to staffing. With effective marketing and robust processes in place, the franchise is achieving good results against its business targets.’
Other finalist: SKIDS Mangere/Jean Batten, Auckland.
Franchise System of the Year
New entrant Just Cabins made an immediate impact by winning the Franchise System of the Year title in the Lifestyle Services category. A very different franchise from SKIDS, Just Cabins franchisees rent out portable cabins as extra rooms, offices or on-site accommodation. There are 21 franchisees operating 31 areas around the country, with a total of 763 cabins. The result is an effective, well-run franchise system that impressed the judges. ‘With good planning, systematic processes and continuous improvement based on excellent two way communication with both franchisees and customers, they have achieved impressive results.’
Franchisee of the Year
Winners – Jeff Milligan, Mr Minit Northlands, Christchurch
Jeff Milligans’s Mr Minit outlet in Northlands might be compact but it impressed the judges. ‘Jeff maintains very good business practice and has a large investment in professional development. Overall, effective management of the business, coupled with excellent service, expertise and innovation, has enabled Mr Minit Northlands to achieve very good results despite the effects of the Christchurch earthquakes on their franchise.’
Highly Commended – Sh’vaughn Perret, Mr Minit, Riccarton, Christchurch
Another store affected by the earthquakes was Mr Minit Riccarton, but that didn’t stop the Cantabrians cleaning up in the Retail category. ‘Mr Minit Riccarton is operating an effective business model and providing excellent service to its customers,’ said the judges. ‘Pro-active use of the information provided by the Franchisor, together with sophisticated in-depth analysis and benchmarking, has resulted in significant business growth and improvement.’
Other finalist: Mr Minit, Sylvia Park & Pakuranga.
Franchise System of the Year
Winner – Mr Minit NZ
Shoe repairs, key cutting, engraving & watch repairs aren’t the glamorous end of retailing but Mr Minit provides a variety of much-needed services on the spot in 34 locations throughout New Zealand. Mr Minit is one of the oldest franchise systems on New Zealand, having been operating here for 55 years. According to the judges, ‘This is a mature organisation with the leadership, clearly defined systems and processes and good business performance indicators to support the on-going growth of the franchise system.’
Other finalist: Plumb’In Bathroom & Kitchen Factory Shop.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
Franchisee of the Year
Winner – Ivy Joe, The Coffee Club, Bethlehem Tauranga
Ivy Joe has had to be creative and focussed to achieve success. The judges found that she has a clear understanding of the business, the customers and the competitors. ‘With excellent performance, innovative thinking and community involvement, The Coffee Club Bethlehem can be proud of what they have achieved,’ said the judges. ‘There are effective, systematic processes consistently deployed across the business resulting in excellent organisational performance levels. They really do live their vision of providing good food, great service and excellent coffee to their customers.’ Ivy went on to be named 2012/2013 Westpac Supreme Franchisee of the Year.
Other finalist: BurgerFuel, Bay of Plenty
Franchise System of the Year
Winner – The Coffee Club Franchising (NZ) Ltd
The Coffee Club originated in Australia and has just celebrated seven years in New Zealand. The company ‘has a very sound business model and processes which they use to effectively manage their business and to positively support all of their franchisees,’ the judges said. ‘They have strong leadership with a clear sense of direction and have clearly demonstrated very good results across most aspects of their business.’
The judges commended their ‘outstanding systems and processes’ and noted, ‘The Coffee Club’s clear understanding and professional management of their business has resulted in continued growth since they established the franchise. This, combined with the outstanding support they provide to their franchisees, sees them well-positioned to attain their vision of being a global leader in retail food, coffee and franchising.’ The Coffee Club was also named 2012/2013 Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year.
Other finalist: BurgerFuel
Special Awards were also made in each of the following categories. Winners of these awards were not eligible for the Supreme titles.
- Master Franchisee
- Franchise Export
- Service Provider
- Media Campaign of the Year
Master Franchisee Award
Winner – Richard & Sheila Logan, V.I.P. Home Services, Bay of Plenty
Awards run in the family for the Logans – Richard is the brother of V.I.P’s John Logan. ‘This is a very well-run master franchise demonstrating excellent business goals, processes and support system,’ say the judges. ‘They have a sound strategic understanding of how their results link to the implementation of their processes. Their hard work has paid off with V.I.P. Bay of Plenty achieving strong growth over the past three years in customers, franchisees, royalties, revenue and gross profit.’ Sheila Logan paid especial tribute to their franchisees, saying they had grown because of the good people that had come on board 'believing in the franchise and what we do.'
Other finalists: Green Acres Lawn & Garden Care, Canterbury; Select Lawn Mowing, Auckland; SKIDS Mangere & Manukau East
Franchise Export Award
Winner – Burger Fuel
Burger Fuel is a modern, forward-thinking, innovative organisation. Starting with a single outlet in Auckland's Ponsonby Road in 1995, the brand is now expanding throughout the Middle East and beyond. It franchised to fund its national expansion in New Zealand, then went public to give it the muscle to go global. The company has made a virtue of its Kiwi roots in markets where American brands are not necessarily popular. The judges were impressed that Burger Fuel is no longer just selling high quality, gourmet products; rather it has developed into a specialist exporter which, where possible, sources its raw materials in New Zealand to ship internationally.
Highly Commended – Select Franchising
Following the establishment of franchisees throughout NZ, Select carried out careful research before entering Australia. Select has successfully established its franchise model in Australia and current growth predictions indicate it may more than double in size there next year. The company is now expanding into China using a pilot business run by a Chinese national who has worked in the Select system in NZ. The judges were impressed with this innovative, research-based approach to exporting the Select brand.
Service Provider Award
Winner – Franchize Consultants
Franchize Consultants is the country’s longest-established specialist franchise consultancy, and has won this award four times since 2006. According to the judges, ‘the strength of Franchize Consultants is their strong leadership, their people and their high-profile client list.
Their thorough understanding of their business, coupled with robust performance indicators, enabled them to see at an early stage the potential impact of the GFC on their business. They have developed an excellent strategy for the future and are achieving good results.’
Media Campaign of the Year
Winner – Super Liquor Holdings
Super Liquor Holdings cleverly redeveloped an existing campaign by extending its Super Bucks promotion to enable customers to pay for taxis over the Christmas period. For every $50 spent at Super Liquor, customers received a $5 Super Bucks voucher to use with a participating TaxiCharge taxi firm or to redeem in-store. The promotion made good use of PR and targeted editorial contacts to get its message across. While the promotion had clear financial goals, the judges praised the social responsibility of the campaign in making ‘Don’t drink and drive’ more than a message.
About the Awards
The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards entries are independently evaluated and judged under the internationally recognised Baldrige criteria for business excellence and administered by the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation. The Media Campaign award is determined by media judges.
Management consultant Peter Garnett MBE, who was head judge again this year, commented, ‘The judges were impressed by the quality and calibre of the applications submitted by all of this year’s entrants, from both franchisors and individual franchisees. It was great to see a number of new entrants this year, and to see the progress that returning entrants have made. Congratulations to FANZ for adopting very robust criteria for the Awards; as a result, the Association assists you as members to improve the effectiveness and profitability of your businesses. New Zealand’s franchising sector can be very proud of its commitment to customer service, the implementation of sound business systems and processes, and for the excellent results being achieved despite the challenging economic climate.' He told the audience at the Awards Dinner, 'All of the finalists this year are genuine contenders for the Awards and it was very close between winners and highly commended in several categories.'
Speaking on behalf of principal sponsors Westpac, Gina Dellabarca (Regional Manager, Business Banking Northern) said, ‘Our committed involvement with the franchise industry is long-standing. The last few years have been challenging, both in NZ and globally, but we’re very proud that Westpac made the strategic decision to stay “open for business” over this time. By ensuring our customers remained confident of our support, they have been able to focus their energy towards guiding their business through these challenging times.
Minister for Small Business, the Hon John Banks, thanked FANZ for the opportunity to speak at the awards and reflected on the passion and enthusiasm of people involved in the franchising sector. He acknowledged the importance of franchises to the New Zealand economy, and affirmed the Government’s commitment to supporting small business. He also shared his own rules for business success:
- Do what you say you're going to do.
- Have an obsession with customer service.
- When you stuff up, front up.
- Go out of your way every day to make one of your customers feel special.
David Foster, Chairman of FANZ said, ‘In entering the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards, each entrant opens up their business to the scrutiny of evaluators and judges. Through this process entrants learn more about their business, its strengths and its weaknesses to enable them to chart the directions for their business to follow for ongoing success.’
The Association also took the opportunity to present Lifetime Membership to David McCulloch, the first chairman of the Franchise Association of New Zealand in 1996 and a long-time supporter of franchising and the franchise community. David and his wife Laurel were founders of the Arano Juice franchise and are both still involved in the sector - David as a consultant and Laurel as a broker.
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