last updated 28/11/2018
NZ Franchise Awards 2018 - Results - IT’S BUSINESS TIME
last updated 28/11/2018
10 November 2018 – Business-to-business franchises proved there’s more to franchising than burgers when they took out the top titles at the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards. Once again, winners came from all round the country.
A Taranaki business has been named Westpac Supreme Franchisee of the Year. Kevin Jones, a former IRD man, and his wife Sheryl opened their Speedy Signs in 2008 ‘just two weeks before the GFC hit’ and despite a challenging start built a thriving family business in New Plymouth with their son and daughter. This was the first time they had entered the Awards and now they’re New Zealand’s top franchisees!
Meanwhile, another business-to-business franchise, Paramount Services, was named Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year for the third time, having previously won the title in 2008 and 2015. The commercial cleaning company was also named Best Business Services Franchise for the seventh time, while Paramount’s Sangeetha Shaikh won a coveted Field Manager of the Year award for the third time in recognition of the support she gives franchisees.
The Awards recognise businesses from all around the country. With many people choosing to escape the city, it was particularly interesting to note that none of the winning franchisees comes from Auckland – or Wellington, or Christchurch. Instead, the top performers came from Hamilton (twice), New Plymouth, Wanganui and Richmond near Nelson. Even the newly-crowned Emerging Franchise of the Year, Epiphany Café, comes from Hamilton. A sign of the times?
Westpac Supreme Franchisee of the Year
Winner: Kevin and Sheryl Jones, Speedy Signs New Plymouth
Speedy Signs New Plymouth is very much a family affair, with Kevin and Sheryl supported by son Matt (an experienced signwriter) in Production and Design, while daughter Wendy is in charge of Accounting and Administration. The busy business also employs three staff.
Kevin, whose previous career included 30 years with the IRD and 8 years as Academy Manager for Taranaki Rugby Union, is quick to credit the franchise for their success. ‘We now have a very solid business,’ he told Franchise New Zealand. ‘Looking back, I sometimes think the only thing I really understood about business ownership before joining the franchise was accounts, but Speedy Signs has taught me so much about the other aspects – and especially about building a profitable business. As for working with family, well – we’re all still here and haven’t shot each other!’
According to the judges, ‘From the first page this application provided the evaluator with a clear indication of what the business was about and what the franchisee wanted to achieve.
There are clearly laid-out systems in place to capture and provide accurate data to management and staff, and what appears to be a very well set-up training and development programme for staff which is designed to exceed minimum industry requirements. The results presented by this franchisee show strong comparative data against national averages and competitors.’
Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year
Winner: Paramount Franchise Services
This is Paramount’s third time on the top step of the podium, having previously won the Supreme title in 2008 and 2015. Founded by Galvin and Suzanne Bartlett in the 1980s, the company now has 167 franchisees servicing 2,400 clients including banks, cinemas, offices, industrial sites and all sorts of workplaces right around New Zealand. It launched into Australia in 2012, where it operates under the Paraserve brand.
Paramount makes things easy for its franchisees, many of whom have English as a second language, by arranging contracts, billing and collection for them and guaranteeing payment. Although starting small, many franchisees have gone on to build sizeable companies of their own with 15-20 employees.
Paramount has thrived on its multi-cultural mix, with the franchisor team speaking a variety of languages to help franchisees learn, communicate and grow. The franchise retains a real family feel (Galvin and Suzanne are still involved) with a genuine concern for its people, and it is no surprise that quite a few of its new franchisees have been recommended by their friends, while others are former employees of the company.
This concern for people also extends to the environment, with the company leading the way in areas such as recycling, non-chemical cleaning and electricity-saving schemes for clients.
In naming Paramount Services the Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year for 2018, the judges said: ‘The application provided by Paramount highlighted their longevity as a franchisor in this industry. Strengths of this franchise are its ability to leverage its diverse workforce through well-designed processes, the capture of mission critical data, and the ability to transform that data into organisational improvements and continued results.’
Awards were presented for Best Franchisee and Best Franchise System in each of four categories:
- Home Services
- Lifestyle Services
- Business Services
The Supreme Awards winners were selected from these winners. No Awards were made in the Food & Beverage category this year.
Winner: David and Prue Kimber, Poolwerx Hamilton
David and Prue Kimber have proved the success of the pool and spa maintenance franchise’s model time and time again, having won this category several times before. Over the past 12 years, their business has grown from a single van to six servicing the greater Waikato region. In 2014, the couple also opened their first retail outlet.
It was Poolwerx’s opportunities for growth that appealed to David. ‘I was in the automotive industry, where I worked in middle management. I wanted to have more control over my financial future and start making money for us, rather than for other people,’ he recalled.
The judges said, ‘Poolwerx Hamilton makes good use of Poolwerx’s integrated business management system in pursuit of data-based process improvements and enhanced customer communications. It has seen increases in transaction value, customers, sales and profitability, as well as high staff retention and satisfaction levels.’
Finalists: Paul & Yvonne Kelly, Exceed Taranaki; Raymond Ngere, Green Acres Hokianga
Best Franchise System
Winner: Exceed Franchising
Exceed was founded in 1990 by David and Karen Dovey, specialising in the repair and maintenance of aluminium windows and doors. The company has 24 franchisees and 2 agents around the country, and has recently expanded into Australia where it operates as the creatively-named Lock&Roll.
The Exceed franchisor team combines craftsmen with many years’ operational knowledge with experienced leadership and a youthful marketing and development team. The company was recently named Employer of the Year in the LinkT Young People in Business Awards.
The judges said, ‘There is a culture of knowledge sharing, demonstrating integrity and team work. Introduction of a cloud-based platform has empowered a move to using 21st century ways of working which includes more social ways of acquiring, retaining and engaging customers. By being passionate proponents of best practice and remaining responsive to the day-to-day business, the franchisors have built a leading-edge franchise system.’
Category sponsored by MYOB
Winners: Steve and Margot Langford, Just Cabins Nelson Marlborough
From Rookies of the Year in Just Cabins’ internal awards in 2016 to Lifestyle Services Franchisees of the Year in 2018, the husband and wife team of Steve and Margot Langford have been on a steep and highly successful learning curve in running their own business. They follow in the footsteps of last year’s Supreme Award winners, Judi and Earl McWhirter of Just Cabins Otorohanga.
Just Cabins Nelson Marlborough provides leased mobile accommodation made up of three different-sized cabins to residential, commercial and business clients in the Tasman district. Steve and Margot manage their franchise using contractors and are fully integrated with the franchisor, sharing best-practice approaches and success measures.
According to the judges, ‘The team operate a robust business plan and set key success factors which are regularly measured and reported on through achieved results. The values that underpin Just Cabins activities are ‘Service, Motivation, Working Together and Quality’, and Margot and Steve consider their customer focus and always striving to exceed customer expectations to be the keys to their success.’
Finalist: Wengheng Wong, Pukeko Rental Managers Auckland
Best Franchise System
Winner: Just Cabins
Just Cabins is a national franchise whose product is a range of moveable trailer-mounted cabins that provide rental accommodation solutions in the residential and commercial sectors. 31 franchisees own and operate 48 areas across New Zealand.
In recent years, Just Cabins has made this category its own, winning the Lifestyle Services Franchise System of the Year award seven years in a row. Last year, they also won the Supreme Award, completing a rare double of Supreme Awards for both franchise system and franchisee.
This year, the judges said, ‘The key strengths exhibited by Just Cabins are a clear vision for their franchisees, a competitive advantage brought about by being the first to register the cabins as a vehicle due to their being built onto galvanised trailers, and a large amount of data captured on all aspects of the business which allows franchisees to continuously improve the business.’
Category sponsored by Franchise Accountants
Winner: Maninder Singh, Mister Minit Centre Place & The Base, Hamilton
Maninder Singh was back on the podium as winner of the Retail Franchisee of the Year in 2018 – he previously won in 2015, when he had just the one store. Having been a Mister Minit franchisee since March 2013, he has now added a second outlet in Centre Place to his empire.
Mister Minit’s vision is, ‘By fixing people’s problems, we will be the most trusted brand in household and personal services throughout Asia and the Pacific,’ and Maninder and his teams work hard to live up to this. In line with the franchise system, he uses a range of templates and methods to communicate business plans, establish and monitor performance expectations, and identify improvement opportunities. He also actively seeks feedback from team members to provide input into these processes, and offers incentives for the achievement of targets.
‘Perhaps most significantly, the Mister Minit Centre Place and The Base teams have an abiding focus on customer relationships,’ said the judges. ‘They implement a range of mechanisms to determine customer requirements and ensure they’re consistently met.’
Finalists: Asif Mansoori, Mister Minit Richmond; Glen Gaskell, Mister Minit Palmerston North
Best Franchise System
Winner: Mister Minit
Mister Minit currently has 38 franchisees throughout New Zealand and is one of the oldest-established franchises in the country, having been trading here since 1971. Stores provide a wide range of essential products and services including shoe repairs, key duplication, engraving, watch servicing and phone repairs.
Mister Minit stores are primarily located in larger shopping centres where there is high customer traffic and, of course, higher rental costs. This is allowed for in the business model, which has seen the franchise win this category on four previous occasions.
Reviewing the performance this year, the judges said, ‘The key strengths of Mister Minit are their collection of actionable data through surveying and benchmarking of franchisees and end-user customers to ascertain the engagement of staff and where there could be areas for improvement.’
Finalists: Night’n’Day Foodstores; Just Cuts
Category sponsored by Streamline Solutions
Winners: Kevin and Sheryl Jones, Speedy Signs New Plymouth
With nearly 1,000 outlets in 40 countries, Speedy Signs is part of the world’s largest sign franchise. Speedy Signs New Plymouth is a family-owned, full-service, one-stop-shop sign business which services the wider Taranaki area. The company is very much part of the local business community in New Plymouth, and has also done work for corporate clients such as Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Novotel.
The business has a flat structure which Kevin and Sheryl believe enhances communication, and promotes a family-based culture which underpins the business.
The judges noted, ‘This business presented a well-documented application with a clear Vision, Mission and Values Statement of which the processes described supported the achievement of performance. Many of the figures presented had comparison data from competitors along with targets of performance they had set for themselves to achieve, demonstrating a maturity of business processes.’
Kevin and Sheryl went on to be named Westpac Supreme Franchisees of the Year for 2018.
Finalists: Gaman Lala, Paramount Wellington; Evonne Lal, Paramount Auckland; Gary Camoin, Paramount Christchurch; Lily Wang, Paramount Auckland; Craig Hausman, Fastway Couriers Northland
Best Franchise System
Winners: Paramount Franchise Services
Paramount’s vision is ‘To be the leader within the service industry through the development of individual business units.’ It’s a vision that clearly reflects the importance and value of the franchise model to a company that has grown from a small business to become a major player in a highly-competitive industry.
‘We started out employing people, like any other cleaning company, and that was quite successful 20-30 years ago,’ said founder Galvin Bartlett. ‘But getting commitment, reliability and contribution from people requires a greater level of involvement, so we developed the franchise system. We found franchisees bring a whole new range of interests and skills to the company and the business really took off.’
According to the judges, ‘Paramount are a well-established and proven franchisor with good continuity of structure. Their strengths lie in a clear vision based on being a leader within the service industry, their development of short-term business plans which are based on constant learning through feedback from systematic reporting, and their careful selection of potential franchisees or business opportunities.’
Finalist: Business Franchise Group (Speedy Signs/EmbroidMe)
Category sponsored by Crowe Horwath
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
- Media Campaign of the Year
- Digital Innovation
- Community Involvement
These winners were not eligible for the Supreme Awards.
Best Emerging Franchise System
Winner: Epiphany Café
Several well-known international brands have tried to bring donuts to New Zealand without a great deal of success – but Epiphany Café has created a home-grown version with the X-factor. By combining pillow-soft, artisanal gourmet donuts with creative toppings, quality coffee and other fresh drinks in a full café setting, they have achieved what others couldn’t.
At Franchise New Zealand, we knew they were on to a winner when one of our team visited their first store and brought back a 6-pack of donuts, not one of which actually made it into the office … A later fact-finding mission by the editor was more successful when he started with 12.
Launched in Hamilton just over two-and-a-half years ago by business partners Jeths Lacson (an engineer by training) and Mark Epifanio (a foodie), Epiphany Café has since expanded to eight franchises, with a further seven due to open by mid-2019.
Epiphany owns and operates a production warehouse, is half-owner of a new coffee roasting company and operates three models of business – a mall kiosk, a light cooking café and a full café – with a total of 20 staff. It also has plans for master franchising to replicate the production facility in other parts of the country.
Epiphany’s vision is to become the most irresistible artisan donut and coffee destination for celebratory time-outs through outstanding quality and service. ‘Its core values support this; Epiphany Café proactively improves its operating processes to meet changing demands,’ said the judges.
‘Epiphany has grown vertically to guarantee the supply of all its major products and key performance indicators for all its critical finance measures are exceeding their 2017/18 targets.’
Finalist: Propertyscouts NZ
Category sponsored by Smart Pay
Regional Master Franchisee of the Year
Winner: Graham Clarke, Fastway Couriers Wanganui
Graham and his wife Denise operate the Fastway’s regional master franchise servicing the wider Whanganui area. The couple first joined the company as courier franchisees in 1993 and soon realised the business offered a lot of potential for growth, so made the step up to the next level in 1999.
As a regional franchisee, they provide business services and support to courier drivers, as well as providing depot, sales, office, customer service and administration support to Fastway customers throughout their territory. There are currently six courier franchisees operating under the Fastway Couriers Wanganui banner. ‘They are an integral part of the business as they represent our brand in a competitive market and help to grow the business by providing reliable and efficient pick-up and delivery services,’ says Graham.
Among the strengths of this business identified by the judges are:
- A customer relationship management approach based on personal contact and attention to details to deliver services which meet the expectation of the customer.
- A comprehensive documented ‘bible’ that details the operations involved in meeting customer expectations.
- Key technologies for tracking deliveries for franchisor, franchisees and customers.
Category sponsored by Crombie Lockwood
Service Provider of the Year
Winner: Franchise Accountants
The Service Provider of the Year award recognises those many businesses which specialise in helping franchisors and franchisees to maximise the potential of their business. This marks the fourth time that Franchise Accountants has won the title, following previous wins in 2011, 2015 and 2017.
Franchise Accountants is New Zealand’s only Chartered Accounting practice that focuses exclusively on the franchise sector through the delivery of specialised accounting and advisory services to a wide range of franchise clients.
Though located in two offices in Auckland, Franchise Accountants serves clients nationwide, with smart use of technology enabling it to communicate and advise new and existing clients efficiently and effectively.
‘Franchise Accountants utilises a structured, inclusive approach to its vision and planning, with closely aligned strategic objectives and a variety of lead and lag KPIs,’ the judges noted. ‘This provides Franchise Accountants with a range of high-quality results, levels and trends.
‘The business also deploys a variety of tools and mechanisms to gather and analyse information through which to improve customer satisfaction. The effectiveness of these processes is borne out by positive customer satisfaction results and consistent customer referrals.
‘Franchise Accountants also benefits from positive staff satisfaction, resulting from the organisation’s focus on flexible hours and celebrations for achieving success.’
Category sponsored by Oporto
Media Campaign of the Year
Winner: Exceed Franchising
Winner of the Best Franchise System title in the Home Services category, Exceed see their point of difference as ‘the understanding and respect they provide while in the customer’s home, and the customers’ perception of this service.’
The company has recently expanded into the sale and installation of retractable insect screens on to glass doors and windows to provide a higher margin product and further growth opportunities for franchisees.
The media campaign which won the Award had very clear objectives, including increasing sales and improving the way the service was marketed. It also provided the opportunity to engage a digital marketing professional and, under their guidance, experiment with the use of new marketing channels.
As a result, a robust media campaign was deployed that included search engine marketing, search engine optimisation, email marketing, social media and video content, lead magnet web pages, television advertisements, flyer drops and home show exhibits.
The reported objectives were achieved with a 42.8 percent increase in product sales across the whole group, an increase in lead conversion of 9.13 percent and a 26 percent increase in website traffic generated from social media advertising.
Category sponsored by ABC Business Sales
Digital Innovation of the Year
Winner: Exceed Franchising
Exceed picked up its third Award for the night in the Digital Innovation category. One of Exceed’s strategic objectives is to become a paperless business by 2019, which will provide greater security of information, flexibility for staff and franchisees and enable ongoing management as the franchisor team operates on both sides of the Tasman.
This initially required digitising all the company’s compliance-related information, starting with the information contained in their mandatory health and safety forms. This innovation served to increase mindfulness around safety across its residential and commercial operations and saw a 5 percent increase in the number of property managers approaching Exceed franchisees for commercial jobs. The judges commented, ‘This increase was wholly attributable to the streamlined and digitised health and safety reporting process, which has become a key marketing opportunity for Exceed.’
Category sponsored by Green Acres
Community Involvement Franchise System of the Year
Winner: Safe Kids in Daily Supervision
sKids is a provider of out of school care for primary age children with more than 170 locations throughout the country, providing out of school care for 6,500 children.
Franchisees are consequently heavily involved in the communities they serve in all sorts of ways, and these activities are augmented with Community Involvement programmes on a national basis. In the last year, these have included FoodStorm – a programme which gives children the opportunity to learn to cook simple meals – and the Big Hoot Arts Trail, which supports the Child Cancer Foundation.
As well as sponsoring the Arts Trail, sKids encouraged franchisees to get kids involved with colouring competitions, a competition to record a charity single (with an appearance on TV programme What Now), and resources for sKids children to design ‘Big Hoot’ merchandise to sell online.
The judges were impressed. ‘The key strength of sKids Community Involvement Programme is that it directly relates to their market and creates something more than the transactional relationship of providing after-school care. These programmes engage the children and their families in a way which directly involves the community in the sKids business while creating a positive public profile for the organisation.’
Finalists: Epiphany Café; Fastway Couriers
Category sponsored by Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre
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 franchisee turnover.
Winner: Tony Burnette, Exceed Franchising
Yet another title for Exceed Franchising – their fourth of the night – pointed to their commitment to excellence across all aspects of franchising, including the personal as well as the digital.
As a field manager, Tony Burnette’s key tasks include the coaching and mentoring of franchisees. This starts at the initial stages when a new franchisee first comes on board and is routinely followed up with training, talking to clients and ensuring that the service delivery is up to Exceed standards. Additionally, he supports franchisees with sales, revenue monitoring, culture and teamwork, communications and customer service training.
The judges said that improvements directly attributable to Tony’s efforts are increased customer satisfaction, increased franchisee knowledge, development of high performing teams, better knowledge of Xero and other tools available to franchisees, and development of franchisee work/life balance.
Winner: Sangeetha Shaikh, Paramount Franchise Services
Supreme Award-winner Paramount Services relies upon its franchisees and their teams to deliver a quality service every time at thousands of locations around the country and, as a Key Account Manager, Sangeetha Shaikh plays a major part in that. She is specifically involved with two nationwide bank clients, involving nearly 130 franchisees in more than 300 sites.
Sangeetha spends a great deal of time visiting franchisees and clients and leveraging the fully-computerised management systems to support their operations. She also prepares monthly reports for her clients based around financials, quality assurance, complaint resolution, security, and health and safety.
‘Sangeetha demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the processes required to meet contract and client expectations and has demonstrated a high level of expertise in managing the needs of high-security clients,’ said the judges.
Her commitment to excellence is clear from the fact that this is the third time Sangeetha has won the Field Manager category – she was also named in 2015 and 2016.
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.
Introducing the Awards, FANZ Chairman Dr Callum Floyd said, ‘The judging criteria for these awards are challenging, so I applaud the individuals and organisations who have entered. The investment in time and effort is considerable, and when you compete it means opening yourself up to critique and the possible disappointment of not being a winner on the night. It can be nerve-wracking.
'Most importantly, these organisations are on a journey of learning and improving, which is such an important leadership characteristic in today’s environment. You need to be crystal clear on who you are, what you want to achieve, and what you need to do to get there. These awards capture all of those elements, as well as the processes that underpin them, and, most important, measure how you’re doing.’
Daniel Cloete, National Franchise Manager for Westpac, said, ‘The franchise industry is an impressive economic powerhouse, and is critical to business growth and employment across New Zealand. At Westpac we’re all about helping our customers succeed financially in order to grow a better New Zealand. These awards not only celebrate the growth, resilience and success of franchisees and franchisors, but also inspire others.
‘A huge thank you to all the people here tonight who have put in the effort to participate in these Awards. You have demonstrated a real passion about your businesses and your brand.’
The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards were presented at a gala dinner at Alexandra Park, Auckland, on 10th November 2018.
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