The Market

by Simon Lord

last updated 24/11/2016

Franchise Awards 2016 RESULTS
- learning from experience

by Simon Lord

last updated 24/11/2016

12 November 2016 – The top titles this year have gone to franchises with decades of experience - and home-grown franchises took the majority of the honours
Congratulating the Supreme Franchisee of the Year. From left: Brad Jacons, Chairman of FANZ; Hon. Paul Goldsmith, Minister for Commerce & Consumer Affairs; Michael Ash of Mister Minit St Lukes; Steve Atkinson, Westpac Head of Specialists Commercial

The Mister Minit team celebrate another successful yearYou can’t beat experience – and the winners in this year’s Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards certainly have plenty of that. The top awards might both have gone to first-time winners but the names on the trophies have been around in New Zealand for decades.

The new Supreme Franchisee of the Year has owned his own business for just four years, but has been with Mister Minit for sixteen years. As training manager, Michael Ash taught others to run their Mister Minit franchises but now, as a franchisee, he’s running his own and making quite an impact.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Franchise System of the Year is a home-grown brand that dates back to 1983. Signature Homes has worked hard to develop a genuinely world-class system to support both its franchisees and customers, and they are reaping the rewards.

The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards for 2016/17 were presented at a gala dinner in Auckland before an audience including Hon. Paul Goldsmith, Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs.



Winner – Michael Ash, Mister Minit St Lukes

The team at Mister Minit St Lukes - the Supreme Franchisees of the Year for 2016/17. Amanda and Michael Ash are on the right.


Four years ago, 2012 was a big year for Michael Ash –­ in June, he got married to his partner, Yanting (Amanda) Han Ash, in September he took ownership of the existing Mister Minit at Westfield St Lukes, and by December the store was ranked 1st in New Zealand and fifth out of 225 Mister Minit outlets across the whole of Australasia.

‘In our first year at St Lukes, we fixed over half a million problems, thousands of keys, and hundreds of shoes and watches,’ recalls the West Auckland father of five. ‘We served over 40,000 customers in our first year, and the number has gone on growing ever since.’

It’s typical of Michael that he should know exactly how many customers his team (including Amanda) serve every day. Having worked for the Mister Minit franchise since 2000, latterly as training manager, he knows the franchise inside out – even when he went to Shanghai for a family wedding, he found himself helping to train a local franchisee there. Changing from employee to franchisee was still a big step, though, as he shared on Facebook just a month before taking over. ‘Cashflow, profit & loss projections, business plans... Arrrgh what have I done!’

It’s a sensation that will be familiar to many new franchisees, but Michael got on with it and put that nervous energy to positive use. By 2016, his outlet was named not just Mister Minit’s NZ Franchise of the Year and Total Service Champion, but also the overall Franchise of the Year for the whole of the New Zealand, Australia and Asia region. While he and Yanting were away in Canberra accepting the award, his store put in a record week, showing the importance he places on team culture. Now he’s topped it all off by being named as Westpac New Zealand Supreme Franchisee of the Year for 2016/17.

According to the judges, some of the key strengths of Michael’s business are his openness to input from his loyal team members, his creation of an open workplace culture and his focus on environmental challenges. Combined with his impressive results, these were enough to tip the balance over the other category winners.



Winner ­– Signature Homes

Signature Homes is one of New Zealand’s oldest-established home building companies.


Founded by Fletcher Challenge in 1983, the company was sold in 1995 to Gavin and Anneta Hunt, who had been involved with the business right from the start.

In 2000, Signature Homes set its sights on being New Zealand's premier branded home design and building group, a vision developed in conjunction with its franchisees. Signature Homes then began to introduce a world-class franchise system to support its network of builders around the country. The company joined the Franchise Association of New Zealand, going on to win the Business Leadership title at the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards in 2002.

In the same year, The Ministry of Education appointed Signature Homes as their preferred builder of early childhood centres in New Zealand – Signature has since built over 100 of these centres covering the length of the country, and continues building them today through its Early Childhood Centre Design & Build Service.

Maintaining a positive reputation in the traditionally boom-and-bust building industry takes strong leadership and good management, as was evident in 2008 after the Wellington Signature franchise failed for a second time. The company responded by launching an independently-bonded building guarantee programme that guarantees completion of a client’s home as set out in the building agreement. Signature Homes says this gives clients more protection than any other available in New Zealand, covering not only home completion but other aspects including weather tightness, structural and non-structural defects.

Today, there are 14 Signature Homes franchisees around the country and the company is still led by Gavin and Anneta Hunt with the support of a strong management team. The 2016/17 Westpac Supreme Award marks their first time on the top of the podium.



Awards were presented for Best Franchisee and Best Franchisor in each of four categories:

  • Business Services
  • Home Services
  • Lifestyle Services
  • Retail, Food & Beverage

The Supreme Awards winners were selected from these winners.




Best Franchisee
Winners – Russell and Therese Boniface, Fastway Couriers Wairarapa

Russell Boniface took ownership of the Fastway Couriers regional franchise for Wairarapa in October 2011 and soon added various family members to the team. His sister-in-law Anne joined to assist with sales and customer relations, his wife Therese left her corporate banking job to take over the financial management side, and his son Grant became responsible for sales and courier management. 

‘We work really well together because, while we each have a defined role in the business that matches our particular strengths, everyone gets stuck in across all areas at peak times,’ says Russell. ‘Our focus is to ensure our customer needs are met no matter how high the volumes are, and we will each do whatever needs to be done to achieve this. Our goal is to continue to grow our franchise by providing a service to our customers that is second-to-none.’

The judges appreciated the way the family works in partnership with staff, customers and stakeholders. ‘Through this they have achieved their key focus of providing a perfect customer service whilst customising it to their customer groups and communities.’

Highly Commended:
Atul Patel, Paramount Services Wellington
Jignesh Soni, Paramount Services Christchurch


Best Franchise System
Winner – Paramount Services

Paramount Services, last year’s Supreme Franchise System of the Year, is another long-established franchise with a family feel. Started in 1979 by Suzanne and Galvin Bartlett, the company is today one of New Zealand’s largest commercial cleaning operators and has successfully expanded into Australia. The business appeals to New Zealand-born and immigrant entrepreneurs alike, and has made a particular point of helping new franchisees integrate into both the business and New Zealand life.

The judges noted that a particular strength of this franchise was the range of processes that appear to be embedded in the system. This, coupled with the extensive range of business data available, enables them to monitor performance and continuously improve.

Category sponsored by Crowe Horwath




Best Franchisee
Winner – Vogue Homes Signature Homes Bay of Plenty Craig & Debbie Williams

Craig and Debbie Williams established their own home building company in the Bay of Plenty in 1996. After building many unique and award-winning homes around the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel regions, they joined the Signature Homes franchise in 2007. Given the success of their own brand this was a difficult decision to make, but the couple felt that the combination of strong systems and group buying would give them the basis to go on growing.

Craig and Debbie have since built Signature Homes Bay of Plenty into one of the most successful home builders in the region, and one of the highest performing Signature Homes franchises in the country, winning numerous awards along the way.

One of the company's most impressive attributes is their track record in customer satisfaction, winning the Signature Homes National Client Survey Award an incredible six years in a row from 2008.

The judges commented, ‘The growth achieved by this business since joining a large franchise is a great testament to the systems and processes they have become part of.’


Best Franchise System
Winner: Signature Homes

Signature Homes notched up a first win for a building company in this category and went on to take the Supreme Award. The company was an early adopter of cloud-based technology, launching its own business management tool The Signature Way back in 2005. The judges said, ‘This company’s recognition that long term sustainability is the key to continued success reflects its success in a highly competitive market. They continue to grow through review and improvement of their processes and systems.’

Category sponsored by Franchise New Zealand media




Best Franchisee
Winner – Just Cabins Northland Ben & Jan Wood

Just Cabins have made this category their own in recent years, with franchisees from Waitakere, Canterbury and West Coast proving that a good franchise can succeed anywhere with the right people. This year, it was Ben Wood, a retired hotelier and orchardist from Northland, and his wife Jan who stood on the top step, having originally found their franchise in the pages of Franchise New Zealand magazine.

According to the judges, ‘A great and unique product along with effective business systems are the reasons behind these franchisees’ success. They pride themselves on providing excellent customer service and this, combined with the quality of the product, has seen business growth with loyal customers providing a growing source of referrals.’


Best Franchise System
Winner – Just Cabins

Just Cabins has achieved a unique record in winning the Best Lifestyle Franchise System title five years running. Its franchisees rent out portable cabins as extra rooms, offices or on-site accommodation through 46 territories around the country. As the judges noted, the franchise has been so successful that it has now reached capacity in New Zealand.

‘Just Cabins is a great success story as in its short operating time it has managed to become fully subscribed by areas available for purchase by franchisees,’ said the judges. ‘The addition of a country manager has greatly enhanced the franchisor’s ability to implement improvements through the franchise system.’

Category sponsored by Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre



Best Franchisee
Winner – Michael Ash, Mister Minit St Lukes

Mister Minit franchisees make a habit of winning the Retail category, having taken the title for the last four years – a remarkable record.

This year proved to be no exception, except that winner Michael Ash went on to take the Supreme Award –­ the first time a retail franchisee has achieved this feat since 2010.

Highly Commended:
Raj Ram, Mister Minit Glenfield
Maninder Singh, Mister Minit Te Awa Hamilton


Best Franchise System
Winner: Mister Minit New Zealand

Mister Minit is one of the oldest and best-known franchise systems in New Zealand, having been operating here since 1971. The company provides a variety of essential services such as shoe repairs, key cutting, engraving and watch repairs in malls throughout New Zealand.

Mister Minit has made the Retail Best Franchise System award very much its own in recent years, having won the title four years in a row. The company has also been a regular winner in Australia.

The judges saw the key strengths of this organisation as a focused strategic framework driven by a sound model for success; commissioned independent research on customer feedback; comprehensive measurement and analysis of supply chain, KPIs and customer data; a comprehensive set of processes that are utilised to manage core products; and functional systems in marketing, HR, Health, safety & well-being, supply chain, property and finance.

Category sponsored by Franchise Accountants & Franchise Infinity


Further Awards were made in a number of specialist categories. The categories were:

  • Best Emerging Franchise System
  • Master Franchisee of the Year
  • Export Achievement Award
  • Service Provider of the Year
  • Community Involvement, Franchise System of the Year
  • Media Campaign of the Year

These winners were not eligible for the Supreme Awards.


Best Emerging System Award
Winner – Zones Landscaping Specialists

Zones Landscaping Specialists are specialists at designing, building and landscaping outdoor living spaces. A relatively new franchise system with eight franchisees so far, Zones is the sister franchise of the highly successful Refresh Renovations – winner of the Best Emerging System award last year. Just like home renovations, the landscaping market is huge and fragmented, with no national provider of specialised design-and-build landscaping services. In the same way that Refresh was created to service a massive but under-valued market, so Zones has been launched to professionalise an under-serviced industry.

According to the judges, ‘While only a young franchise system, a main strength of this franchise is its sister franchise and parent organisation from which it will gain the majority of its systems. This will give it a definite head start.’

Category sponsored by MYOB


Master Franchisee of the Year Award
Winner – Lawrence & Erica Pereira, Oporto New Zealand

Although Oporto has been operating in NZ since 2001, Lawrence and Erica only took over the master franchise for New Zealand in August 2015. The couple have considerable retail and media experience.

Oporto currently has 11 stores in New Zealand and over 160 globally. The judges note that, ‘They have positioned themselves in the fresh/premium end of fast food and are currently working on the reimaging of the brand.’

Category sponsored by McDonald’s New Zealand


Export Achievement Award
Winner – Dream Doors

From his beautiful if unlikely base of Wanaka, franchisor Derek Lilly has built a New Zealand-wide franchise that is now making inroads into the Australian market with 22 franchisees already established there. Dream Doors, which carries out the design, manufacture and supply of made-to-measure kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, specialises in renovation rather than replacement.

Dream Doors has made good use of technology to support its sales, customer satisfaction, manufacturing, marketing and management systems. ‘Through their development of advanced systems for the capture of organisational data, and the subsequent use of this data, this organisation has been able to quickly export and deploy their franchise to Australia,’ said the judges.

Highly Commended: Link Business Broking

Category sponsored by Stewart Germann Law Office


Service Provider of the Year Award
Winner – MYOB

This service provider has been helping franchisors and franchisees in New Zealand since 1991, and has recently expanded its commitment to the franchise sector with the appointment of a specialist franchise business development manager. MYOB offers not just accounting and payroll software but also a range of add-on solutions covering aspects from point-of-sale to KPI management.

‘MYOB works in partnership with a number of large and small well-known franchise operations,’ the judges noted. ‘Over the last three years they have invested heavily in cloud-based services for the SME environment which shows a distinct commitment to customers in this market.’

Highly Commended:
Franchise Accountants
Franchize Consultants (NZ) Ltd

Category sponsored by: Jani King


Community Involvement, Franchise System of the Year
Winner – Fastway Couriers

Fastway has a proud history of community involvement; supporting local charitable and community based organisations across New Zealand. The company’s involvement with Heads Up For Kids brings together courier and regional franchisees to collect and deliver over 12 tonnes of old decimal and pre-decimal New Zealand and foreign currency to the Lions Club to assist in the funding of education programmes and scholarships for New Zealand youth.

The judges say, ‘This organisation has learned over the years the value of both its employees and customers, and how they all come together to make a community. They have shown an ongoing commitment where they can to both national and regional initiatives, and to help others less fortunate or in great need.’

Category sponsored by Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre


Media Campaign of the Year Award
Winner ­– The Coffee Club

The hospitality sector is getting more competitive, with customers more interested than ever in new flavours and ideas. The Coffee Club’s gourmet brioche burgers offered a range to tempt the tastebuds with its tempura fish, BBQ pulled pork and beef & caramelised onion.

The judges said, ‘Overall, this was a very successful campaign with all of the key objectives being met and targets exceeded. The offer was attractive and the campaign creatively well executed. It was broadly promoted to ensure a wide audience reach which is reflected in the results of the campaign.’

Category sponsored by ABC Business Sales




The Field Manager of the Year Awards recognise the work of those individuals who are the first point of contact for franchisees, helping them set goals and develop their businesses, and enforcing standards when required. Entries were divided by category and turnover.

Business Services – over $500,000
Winner ­– Sangeetha Shaikh – Paramount

This is the second time Sangeetha Shaikh has won this category. She has worked with Paramount Services since 2006, attaining ever-increasing responsibility till becoming a key account manager for this company’s two largest clients in 2016. In her previous role as Auckland Operations Manager she has received countless accolades from all stakeholder groups with which she has contact (Paramount leadership, client leadership, franchisees and employees).

Category sponsored by Crowe Horwath

Home and Lifestyle Services – under $500,000
Winner – Sofia West, Green Acres

With only 18 months under her belt as a franchise support manager for Green Acres, Sofia has shown positive performance metrics covering the 87 franchisees she has responsibility for. ‘Of considerable note is the 77 percent reduction in franchisee debt,’ said the judges.

Category sponsored by Franchise New Zealand media

Home & Lifestyle Services – over $500,000
Winner: Brad Hay, Signature Homes

Having come from outside the building industry, Brad faced considerable challenges. As GM Sales & Marketing, he has brought his experience to bear, working with various staff and franchisees to improve processes and make effective and consistent use of them.

Category sponsored by Franchise New Zealand media

Retail, Food & Beverage – over $500,000
Winner: Greg Hoar, Super Liquor

As National Operations Manager for Super Liquor, Greg has 123 franchisees across the country under his wing. He is involved with sales/supplier performance, category management, business development, store layout, rebrand roll-out, marketing and compliance. He is currently working towards completing the re-brand of 90 stores nationally.

Highly Commended: Stan van der Ham, Mister Minit New Zealand

Category sponsored by ABC Business Sales

All the winners of the Field Manager Awards also received a free place on the two-day Field Manager Bootcamp being run by the Franchise Relationships Institute in Auckland next year. Read more about what field managers really do.

About the Awards

The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards are promoted by the Franchise Association of New Zealand, and entry is only open to its members.

The Awards are recognised as having some of the most rigorous criteria in the world. Entrants go through a comprehensive four-stage process and evaluations by the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation based on the internationally-recognised Malcolm Baldrige criteria, a system that is used by more than 25 countries as a standard for quality awards.

Steve Atkinson, Westpac Head of Specialists Commercial, said, 'Franchising is a key driver of growth in New Zealand and an important part of our economy. As the industry has got more sophisticated, we've used events like tonight's to identify the strongest franchise systems for our business customers and to create marketing opportunities for our franchisor clients. It's a real tribute to the industry that so many franchises have entered the Awards this year, with all the categories hotly contested.'

The event is also when new members are inducted into the Franchising Hall of Fame and new Life Members of the Association are announced. There were two new appointments this year - read more here.

The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards 2016/2017 were presented at a gala dinner at the Grand Millennium Hotel, Auckland, on 12th November 2016.

Results from previous years are available here: 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

We welcome links from other websites to this article. Please note that this article is copyright © Eden Exchange NZ Holdings Limited, Franchise New Zealand magazine and Franchise New Zealand On Line. While it may be downloaded for personal use, no part may be reproduced on any other website, in electronic or printed form or in any other form whatsoever.

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