by Simon Lord
last updated 27/11/2017
Franchise Awards 2017 RESULTS
- CABIN FEVER
by Simon Lord
last updated 27/11/2017
Just Cabins pulled off a momentous double to win Supreme Franchise System of the Year and Supreme Franchisee of the Year tonight. It’s only the third time in the Awards’ 23-year history that any brand has won both Supreme titles in the same year, and it’s the first time that a non-food franchise has managed the feat. For franchisor Fenton Peterken, it marked the climax of a journey that started back in 2010 when he first bought a Just Cabins franchise in West Auckland. He was so taken by the concept that he ended up buying the whole business from the franchisor and selling his chartered accounting business so that he could put all his energy into it.
Since then, Just Cabins has been a regular Awards entrant, winning the Lifestyle Services category for five – now six – years in a row. Now they are on the top step as Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year.
Meanwhile, the Westpac Supreme Franchisee of the Year title went to a retired couple who proved that age is no bar to success and some of the best opportunities in business lie outside our biggest city. Judi & Earl McWhirter are Just Cabins franchisees for Waipa, Otorohanga & King Country. In fact, three out of the five category Awards for franchisees went outside Auckland, and even the Digital Innovation Award went to a franchise system based in Wanaka.
The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards for 2017 were presented at a gala dinner in Auckland before an audience of over 300 people.
WESTPAC SUPREME FRANCHISE SYSTEM OF THE YEAR
Winner – Just Cabins
Just Cabins rents out self-contained units for individuals and companies to use as extra rooms, offices or accommodation. The carefully-designed units come in three sizes and are complete with built-in lighting and power, insulation, carpets, lockable ranch-slider and window, all on a steel-framed trailer base which can be easily towed by a four-wheel drive. They need no planning permission, making the franchisees’ job simple – find the client, deliver and set-up the cabin, then receive the weekly rent as long as the cabin is needed. Once the cabin is no longer required, it can be moved on to the next customer.
Originally founded by a project manager from the construction industry, Just Cabins really took off in 2010 when franchisee Fenton Peterken took over the company. A Chartered Accountant by profession, Fenton brought a financial mind-set to the task of building a business that would truly deliver to both customers’ and franchisees’ needs. ‘Cash flow is excellent and, as portable buildings are classified as depreciable items by the IRD, there’s much more to put back into the business to fund continued growth,’ he told Franchise New Zealand in 2013. In 2014, the company was ranked at number 14 in the Deloitte Fast 50.
With all the franchise territories sold in New Zealand, Fenton has been quietly working on expansion of the concept to other countries. This year’s Awards double will no doubt help to increase interest.
In naming Just Cabins the Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year for 2017, the judges said: ‘Just Cabins presented a clear understanding of their customers and their requirements, and a systematic process for reviewing these requirements. They have been working on environmentally-friendly products and have this linked into a systematic process for evaluating their suppliers.
‘It was very clear from this year’s entry that Just Cabins’ mindset has moved to another level. By embracing the full Criteria for Performance Excellence, which is the internationally-moderated and recognised framework, Just Cabins have set their benchmark even higher.’
WESTPAC SUPREME FRANCHISEES OF THE YEAR
Winner – Judi & Earl McWhirter,
The 2017 Supreme Franchisees of the Year, Judi and Earl McWhirter, are living proof that there’s no perfect age at which to start your own business as long as you choose the right franchise to go with.
The proud grandparents had little business experience before joining Just Cabins. Judi (64) has a PhD in Statistics and spent much of her working life as an academic at Waikato University, while Earl (68) is a retired teacher. After running a bed and breakfast, the couple took on the local Just Cabins franchise nine years ago and have since achieved considerable success, winning the company’s internal award for exceptional business growth in 2016.
The semi-passive income offered by the Just Cabins franchise has enabled the couple to live their dream. Judi and Earl, who have been married for 45 years, told the Franchise Awards judges that their personal drivers are ‘spending more time together and travelling the country.’ The judges reported that, ‘Essentially, they are growing the business to provide for this lifestyle and following a robust and successful franchise system that embraces a clear vision, key processes and business planning.’
Awards were presented for Best Franchisee and Best Franchise System in each of five categories:
- Business Services
- Food & Beverage
- Home Services
- Lifestyle Services
The Supreme Awards winners were selected from these winners.
Winners – Dan Pariachi & Madhu Mala, CrestClean Dunedin
Dan and Madhu immigrated to New Zealand from Fiji in 2008, but starting a family meant Auckland became too costly on a single income so the family moved to Dunedin. With Dan working full-time, Madhu looked for a business that offered additional income with flexible working hours. She joined CrestClean in 2013 and Dan joined her the following year. Their initial hard work paid off and they were able to start looking for a house within 18 months – a previously unimaginable dream. They now employ six staff and, earlier this year, Dan was appointed an Assessor for the Master Cleaners Training Institute.
The judges said, ‘CrestClean Dunedin impresses with its challenging target-setting, and reaching those targets by focusing on customers and people. Of particular significance for the judges was the way Service Level Agreements are developed with the client and used as the basis for the provision of a consistent level of service which is adhered to by all employees.’
Category sponsored by Crowe Horwath
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Winner – Shiraz Hajee, Jesters Mt Wellington
Shiraz Hajee is no stranger to the Awards – back in 2005, he won the Supreme Franchisee of the Year title with his Jesters Pies franchise after an inspiring rise to success. Never afraid of a challenge, he decided to enter to see how far he had come in the last 12 years and proved that his pursuit of excellence is as strong as ever.
This is the third Jesters outlet that Shiraz has owned over the last 14 years, and the efficient and effective way in which he runs his business is proven in the results he’s achieved. ‘Shiraz is adept at effectively using fact-based information in managing, thereby achieving smooth cash flow in an otherwise competitive market,’ said the judges. ‘He is also successful because he is prepared to try new and innovative strategies in a local area where he has competition from most of the fast food outlets.’
Best Franchise System
Winner: The Coffee Club
This is the fifth time that The Coffee Club has won the Food & Beverage category, in an impressive run that has seen the franchise win 2 Supreme Franchise System titles for its franchise system and 3 Supreme Franchisee Awards over the past 10 years. There are now 63 outlets of The Coffee Club in New Zealand.
The judges commented, ‘The Coffee Club shows its ability to continuously improve through the use of good processes, measurement and analysis. The Coffee Club presented a lot of information, and this information was well supported during interview. They were also able to clearly describe their systematic process for planning, with annual reviews and inputs from many sources to assist with strategy development and business planning.
‘The majority of the results that were presented had targets providing evidence of positive levels over the trend periods provided. In some cases, results data was presented against that of competitors. The applicant actively reviews competitors’ results and products.
Category sponsored by Franchise Accountants
Winner – Adrian Kay, Dream Doors Christchurch
Adrian Kay gave up a six-figure salary with a global electronics company to join the Dream Doors franchise, and he doesn’t regret a thing. He started his Christchurch kitchen renovation business in April 2012 and has been in constant growth mode ever since. His was the first Dream Doors franchisees to break the $1 million mark, and has gone on to build a multi-million dollar business which now employs three full-time installers as well as two part-timers in marketing and administration.
After the ups and downs of the post-Earthquake rebuild, Adrian’s focus is now on smoothing out the workflow and enabling him to work smarter, not harder. Dream Doors’ new management software, which won the Digital Innovation Award (see below), is playing its part in that.
In their comments, the judges noted that Adrian’s experience and effectiveness have made him ‘The go-to independent advisor to prospective franchisees from the soon-to-be-launched US arm of the Dream Doors franchise.’
Best Franchise System
Winner: Select Franchising
Select Franchising operates three divisions: home cleaning, car valet and lawnmowing. Winners of this category in 2012, Select has consistently used the Awards process to test itself against others and measure improvements over the years. Today, Select has 160 franchisees in New Zealand and another 130 in Australia. Select Valet Auckland’s Frank Ye was named Regional Master Franchisee of the Year, and the company also won the International Franchising title (see below).
‘Select’s reporting systems and processes provide them with a strategic insight which is continuously used to improve their business,’ said the judges. They found that Select’s key strengths were their on-going training & support; establishing a ‘one supplier’ relationship for all required products with an outcome of zero returns or complaints; a dedicated online CRM system allowing all involved to monitor day-to-day business activity; and a highly-motivated and supportive franchisor willing to do what it takes to assist the system in becoming more successful.
Category sponsored by Franchise Infinity
Winner – Judi & Earl McWhirter, Just Cabins Waipa, Otorohanga & King Country
Judi and Earl McWhirter are long-standing franchisees of Just Cabins. Judi and Earl’s experience, coupled with their hard work and passion for the business, has seen them achieving their targets far earlier than predicted in their business planning cycle. According to the judges, ‘Key results were provided in relation to customer satisfaction and growth, financial performance, and business processes, and these have marked them out as a business on a strong growth trajectory.’
The McWhirters went on to be named Westpac Supreme Franchisees of the Year at the climax of the evening.
Best Franchise System
Winner – Just Cabins
Ultimate winners of the Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year title, Just Cabins first took out the Lifestyle Services category – something they have achieved for six years straight.
The judges said, ‘Just Cabins submitted a well presented and comprehensive application that showed a solid approach, which is well deployed. Lessons learned throughout the organisation are fed back to improve the system through the planning stages.’
Category sponsored by Microsoft
Winner – Michael Ash, Mister Minit St Lukes
Last year’s Supreme Franchisee of the Year winner, Michael Ash, was pipped at the post this year by the King Country franchisees from Just Cabins, but not before he had taken out the Retail category again. As the judges said, ‘Mister Minit St Lukes continues to set the target for other franchisees in this category.
‘Mister Minit St. Lukes provides evidence of a number of systems and processes to support the effective management of the business. A particular strength of this business is how they manage their people from recruitment, with a focus on there being a good match with the company, through to staff being kept fully informed in a timely manner of any changes to process. This also includes comprehensive training systems being in place for employees.’
Maninder Singh, Mister Minit The Base, Hamilton
Best Franchise System
Winner: Super Liquor Holdings
Having won the Media Campaign Award in 2012 and one of the Field Manager Awards in 2016, Super Liquor entered the main category this year and was rewarded with a win. Founded in 1995, the brand has 140 stores around the country and is New Zealand’s leading liquor store franchise.
Super Liquor has a flat management structure with a support office staff of 15, in addition to two franchisee sub-committees for Marketing and Point of Sale.
‘Super Liquor Holdings provided evidence of a number of systems and processes to support the effective management of the business,’ said the judges. ‘A particular strength noted was effectiveness of their management of the range of information and analysis to support their franchisees in their business activities and in making business decisions, which enable Super Liquor Holdings to deliver the service they were incorporated for.’
The judges noted that it was a very close race between the entrants in this category, with Super Liquor pipping last year’s winners, Mister Minit, at the post.
Category sponsored by Streamline Solutions
Further Awards were made in a number of specialist categories. The categories were:
- Best Emerging Franchise System
- Regional Master Franchisee of the Year
- Service Provider of the Year
- International Franchising
- Digital Innovation
- Community Involvement
- Media Campaign of the Year
These winners were not eligible for the Supreme Awards.
Best Emerging Franchise System
Winner – Zones Landscaping Specialists
Zones Landscaping Specialists are specialists at designing, building and landscaping outdoor living spaces. The company won the Best Emerging System Award last year and repeated the feat in 2017. Zones have replicated the franchise structure that has been used for their sister company Refresh Renovations, which explains how mature they appear as an organisation despite being an emerging franchise.
A key aspect in the maturity of their system is the ability to appraise franchisees’ individual capabilities and, where required, assist with the recruitment of staff in specific areas. This combines to create an organisation that is well on its way to becoming an effective system.
‘Zones Landscaping has leveraged the learnings gained from its parent and sister organisations to good effect, and this was well presented in their entry,’ the judges said.
Category sponsored by MYOB
Regional Master Franchisee of the Year
Winner – Select Valet Auckland
Select Valet Auckland is a mobile car wash service. It impressed the judges with its ability to focus on the customer and constantly update its methodology for seeking feedback from them. ‘Select Valet applies various tools and approaches responsive to their customers. These are used to determine and ensure the franchise model and services meet potential franchisees and end customer requirements. The entrant also implements tools to build and manage end customer relationships to increase repeat business and retain loyal customers and increase customer engagement.’
They noted, ‘A number of processes are used for gaining feedback and assessing satisfaction from both franchisees and end customers. The results of these are used to initiate follow-up processes to address concerns. These processes together support their approach to leverage off satisfied franchisees and end-customers to increase referrals in order to increase franchise and customer sales.’
Select Lawn Mowing Auckland
Category sponsored by Crowe Horwath
Service Provider of the Year
Winner – Franchise Accountants
The Service Provider of the Year Award is a coveted title among the professional firms who specialise in helping franchisors and franchisees make the right choices and maximise the potential of their businesses. It was therefore a special achievement for Franchise Accountants to win it for the third time, following previous wins in 2011 and 2015.
Franchise Accountants is the only chartered accountancy practice in New Zealand that exclusively focuses on franchising, and has worked with both franchisors and franchisees of a large number of franchises throughout the country. The judges said, ‘Franchise Accountants stood out for their ability to show their processes in simplified flow. This organisation has a range of comprehensive business processes – rather than product procedures. Franchise Accountants delivery processes are backed up by a strong suite of leading and lagging metrics that show continuous improvement in their results.’
Category sponsored by: Oporto
Winner – Select Franchising
Select has 160 franchisees in New Zealand and another 130 in Australia.
According to the judges, ‘Select Franchising presents good levels and trends of growth in income using franchisee numbers in Australia (with comparisons over five- and six-year periods) as key indicators of financial performance and business development. Select Franchising shows a net return for New Zealand of growing levels of foreign exchange as a result of the Australian base having now grown to just over a third of the total business.’
Category sponsored by Fastway Couriers
Winner – Dream Doors
With digital innovation and digital disruption being key talking points in business, this new Award attracted a high calibre of entries, according to the judges. There were diverse examples of how digital innovation can benefit a franchise system, including delivering a paperless restaurant experience, improving customer loyalty and insights, and implementing franchise management systems.
‘Embarking on these sorts of initiatives takes a lot of courage,’ the judges said. ‘It was great to see the leaders in each organisation very involved – something which heavily influences overall success.’
The winner of the Digital Innovation Award was Wanaka-based Dream Doors, which used the failure of a franchisee several years ago as the springboard to revise its processes and systems to better protect and serve its customers, suppliers, franchisees and brand reputation. Dream Doors worked with a management consultancy to develop criteria and evaluate a number of off-the-shelf management systems. These relied heavily on financial reporting without measuring customer and supplier experience. Dream Doors therefore developed its own Franchise Management System (FMS).
FMS has brought the planned benefits, increasing supplier and customer confidence while helping franchisees optimise their business, increase sales and reduce costs. It has also generated some unplanned advantages, with franchisees competing to have the best customer and supplier ratings, and becoming a selling point for prospective franchisees. The system has attracted very positive comments in the US, where Dream Doors is now expanding.
Category sponsored by Green Acres
Community Involvement, Franchisee of the Year
Winner – Shiraz Hajee, Jesters Mt Wellington
The Franchising New Zealand 2017 survey revealed that almost a quarter of all franchises in New Zealand contribute over $100,000 to the community every year. The Community Involvement Award recognises franchisees and franchise brands that help make a difference.
As well as winning the Food & Beverage category, Shiraz Hajee also won the franchisee Community Involvement Award. His Jesters Pies outlet is highly involved in the community, supporting a number of schools particularly within the Mount Wellington area via the sale of pies for school lunches and events with a percentage contribution to schools.
Shiraz also supports the Salvation Army, Mt Wellington food banks, and the City Mission, with donations of pies. Within Jesters he provides a free mentoring service to fellow franchisees who are new to the business or experiencing difficulties. He also sits on the brand’s Franchisee Advisory Committee.
Shiraz’s philosophy is summed up by this quote from him: 'Community involvement is not a matter of choice, but a way of life.'
Community Involvement, Franchise System of the Year
Winner – Fastway Couriers
Fastway Couriers NZ is involved in the community at a national level in several areas, such as Red Nose Day for Cure Kids, Daffodil Day for Cancer Society, and Heads Up For Kids, which provides education funds for children. The Head Office and Auckland Region also support Purple Heart Fun Day and Camp Quality for families living with cancer. The company has had many years of involvement with these charities.
Fastway mainly uses its expertise in logistics, labour and resources in its support activities: for example, it freights tonnes of obsolete and foreign coinage donated by Kiwis around the country to the Heads Up for Kids office every year. The franchise also contributes to charities financially through sponsorship and collections from staff.
Fastway will also provide support in emergency situations, such as couriering items to Auckland airport for dispatch to Vanuatu for hurricane relief.
At a local level, franchisees are encouraged to support local activities from sports teams to bird rescue centres and school fundraisers.
Category sponsored by Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre
Media Campaign of the Year
Winner – Muffin Break
Marketing is key to the success of any franchise, and creating a campaign that will benefit all franchisees throughout a large system is always a challenge. Muffin Break set out with the clear intention to build loyalty scheme membership and address sales fluctuations over the Easter period when regular customers amend their family, work or leisure habits.
Rather than use a high-tech digital promotion, the company chose to use an approach that would attract and engage customers on the spot. The Scratch for Cash campaign was launched in April 2017 and offered an opportunity for customers to win $10,000 or a free coffee or muffin. Giving a customer a free scratch card with every coffee purchased created excitement and a sense of fun. The campaign was promoted via point-of-sale, posters, local newspapers and social media.
Muffin Break achieved all its objectives and vastly exceeded its member growth target in the loyalty scheme. Franchisees reported that it helped customer engagement and brought back some old faces. The judges noted, ‘Muffin Break executed the campaign professionally. All the elements are consistent visually and tonally and deliver the message clearly.’
Category sponsored by ABC Business Sales
FIELD MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
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 turnover.
Winner – Stephen Brown, Columbus Coffee
Stephen Brown has been with Columbus Coffee since 2015, after working with Burger King and McDonald’s. Columbus takes franchisee development very seriously, and Stephen showed the judges that the processes he has put in place to coach and support the franchisees have led to improvement in overall organisational KPIs. He uses a systematic and consistent approach to franchisee engagement, and demonstrates a consistent and constructive level of transparency across the franchisee group. KPIs are strong across the three reported markets and portfolio financial results also reflect growth.
The judges said, ‘Stephen demonstrates an effective, systematic approach responsive to the overall business requirements and his approach is well deployed. A fact-based systematic evaluation and improvement process is in place and good performance levels are reported in some areas of importance.
Category sponsored by Franchise New Zealand media
Winner – Caylee Brown, sKids
Caylee has had 11 years in the early childhood industry and this shows in her versatility and ability to assist franchisees across the board with problems ranging from behaviour guidance, child protection, health & safety and compliance with government mandates.
In her role as Franchise Support and Compliance Manager, ‘Caylee has actively ensured that issues of compliance are addressed by sKids, as well as reviewing processes that are associated with compliance to ensure that continuous improvements are made. Assisting Caylee in this is her close working relationship with the staff at the Ministry of Social Development, which ensures sKids remains on track. There was strong evidence of developmental support for franchisees.’
Julie Griffin, CrestClean
Category sponsored by Franchise New Zealand media
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.
The event is also when new Life Members of the Association are announced. There were three new appointments this year - read more here.
The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards 2017 were presented at a gala dinner at Alexandra Park, Auckland, on 11th November 2017.
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