last updated 07/12/2023
NZ Franchise Awards 2023 Results
BATTLE OF THE BRANDS
last updated 07/12/2023
11 November 2023 – This year’s Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards were among the most hotly-contested ever, and it was fitting that there were two new names on the Supreme trophies from franchise brands that had never stood on the top step before
54 Finalists. 17 Awards. 2 Supreme Winners
After months of putting entries together, reading, judging and questioning, it all came down to this. On the night, some of the top names in franchising battled it out – and two were named the overall winners. One was an international brand, Jani-King, which was named Supreme Franchise System of the Year. The other was Hire A Hubby, a locally-owned company, with Auckland’s Craig Burrowes taking the title of Supreme Franchisee of the Year.
There were also category winners by industry, awards for excellence in topics from marketing to sustainability, and recognition for the service providers and field managers who lie behind every great franchise and franchisee. Winners from Coromandel, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury testified to the resilience of franchising in the face of disaster, and everyone had a story to tell.
In their 28th year, the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards once again celebrated true excellence and achievement, with over 300 people gathering to demonstrate the spirit of support and friendship that makes franchising such a successful business model. See photos of all the winners on the night at the bottom of this article.
Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year
When Jani-King was announced as winner of the Supreme Award, CEO Nick James couldn’t quite believe it. ‘We’d won the Business to Business category earlier in the evening, and it was only after that we realised we were in with a chance of the big one,’ he recalls.
‘As a first-time entrant, it was a wonderful surprise to be named. The whole table erupted, the champagne flowed and the celebrations went on long into the night. We were still ringing our regional managers to tell them at 1am. They didn’t seem to mind! From then on, we were fielding congratulations from suppliers, clients and franchisees. As one of our clients posted on LinkedIn, ‘Jani-King is not only king of cleaning, it is king of people, trust and building good relationships with franchisees and clients.’
Jani-King was founded in the USA in 1969 by Jim Kavanagh, who still owns the franchise. It now has over 120 regional support offices and 6,600 franchisees in 10 countries around the world. The brand came to New Zealand 25 years ago, and the local licence has been 100 percent New Zealand-owned since 2016. There are over 500 Jani-King franchisees servicing over 2,500 clients from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South, with the company having enjoyed massive expansion here in the last two years.
‘New Zealand is now one of the fastest-growing Jani-King regions in the world and we will be celebrating with our international partners,’ says Nick. ‘The Supreme Award has really cemented our place on the Jani-King map and shows that the Awards really do mean a lot.`
The Franchise Awards are judged by an independent panel of experts who bring together deep experience in the business and franchising fields. They said, ‘Jani-King’s exceptional focus on franchisees and high performance, along with innovation and a strong commitment to changing lives in a positive way, made this a stand-out entry.’
Westpac Supreme Franchisee of the Year
Winner: Craig Burrowes, Hire A Hubby, Mt Eden, Westmere, Grey Lynn
Craig Burrowes will never forget Awards night. ‘I can’t believe the energy that was in the room. There were hundreds of people there, all so enthused about the business they are in, all so vested in their business and their brand. I used to be in event management and this was so different from any corporate event. It was incredible – and then it got even better. We won! It was a bit of a shock, we were stunned and humbled.’
Back in 2011, when Craig Burrowes left his senior management position in the corporate world to put his practical skills to use as a Hire A Hubby franchisee, he probably didn’t expect to be building an empire of his own. One of his first jobs involved finding a way to stop turtles escaping from a customer’s pond (‘After all, who else would you call for a job like that but Hire A Hubby?’ he asked us a few years ago).
But gradually his project management skills, expertise in quoting, planning and strategy, and experience in leading teams, came to the fore. He found his ambition matched by Hire A Hubby’s own evolution into a project management company that can take on all sorts of building, repair and renovation services from maintenance to makeovers.
Today, Craig and his wife Sandy, along with eldest son Matt, run a sizeable company which has up to six staff plus a number of qualified sub-contractors – one for each trade. And when disaster struck a few months ago, after a serious motorcycle crash saw Craig airlifted to hospital with internal injuries and lots of broken bones, his team rallied round – especially Sandy, who swapped her creative role in a school’s resource department for the challenges of running a business. ‘She really stepped up, she was brilliant and I can’t thank her enough,’ says Craig.
But we learned our lesson and have since worked on making our systems better and better so the business doesn’t rely on me so much. Now we’re taking it to a new level, and when the time comes to move on, people will say, ‘Hey, here’s a good business to buy!’
The Awards judges commented about Craig, ‘This was an exceptionally strong and well substantiated entry, reflecting a very professional, planned and structured approach which is achieving outstanding performance.’
CATEGORY AWARDS & FINALISTS
Awards were presented for Franchisee of the Year and Franchise System of the Year in each of three categories:
- Retail & Hospitality
- Home & Lifestyle
- Business to Business
The Supreme Awards winners were selected from these categories, plus the Small Business Franchisee of the Year category.
Retail & Hospitality
Retail & Hospitality Franchisee of the Year
Winner: Sarith Thong, The Coffee Club, Takanini
Hospitality has bounced back after a few extremely difficult years when lockdowns, contactless delivery, staff shortages and inflation combined to hit the sector hard. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and that’s evident in the return of The Coffee Club, which took out both franchisee and franchise system titles in the Retail & Hospitality category.
Sarith Thong and his wife Helen Lin opened The Coffee Club Takanini as a brand new store in December 2013. In 2019, his first year entering the Awards, Sarith not only won the Retail & Hospitality category – he was also named Westpac Supreme Franchisee of the Year. Despite Covid, he was a finalist again in 2021, and now returns as category winner in 2023.
Sarith clearly values the way that entering the Awards forces him to analyse his business and present it for the scrutiny of the panel of judges. ‘It enables me to challenge myself and compare what we have achieved to other franchisees, and see how we can do better as a business,’ he said.
The judges noted that Sarith, ‘demonstrated a genuine passion for his business, and a deep understanding about how he achieves success, the outcomes of which are evident in his excellent performance.’
Rhiarna & Denise Russell, Caci Clinic, Taupo
Rohit & Pratibha Payal, Cobb & Co, New Plymouth
Shallendra Kumar, Mister Minit Sylvia Park & St Lukes
Rajnesh Ram, Mister Minit, Glenfield
Glen Gaskell, Mister Minit, Palmerston North
Retail & Hospitality Franchise System of the Year
Winner: The Coffee Club
The Coffee Club continued its impressive record in the Franchise Awards, winning the Franchise System title in the Retail & Hospitality category for the second time, having previously won the specialist Food & Beverage category five times. Oh, they’ve seen their franchisees win multiple titles too, including a record four Supreme Awards.
Founded in Australia, The Coffee Club was brought to New Zealand in 2003 by master franchisees Brad Jacobs and Andy Lucas, who still head the 65-strong chain here with the help of a dedicated and highly-professional support team. Such is the popularity of the chain, a recent NZ Opera production even included a scene set in one of The Coffee Club’s outlets – possibly a first for any franchise anywhere.
The judges said, ‘This franchise system evidences system excellence in its practices, along with a clear commitment to ongoing growth and outstanding franchisee support.’
Cobb & Co.
Category sponsored by Franchise Accountants
Home & Lifestyle
Home & Lifestyle Franchisee of the Year
Winner: Craig Burrowes, Hire A Hubby, Mt Eden, Westmere, Grey Lynn
Craig Burrowes won both this category and the Supreme Franchisee of the Year title. He was one of the first Hire A Hubby franchisees to take advantage of the ‘big business’ concept from Franchise Brands, which owns both Hire A Hubby and Green Acres. The model allows franchisees to employ people, spend less time on the tools themselves, take on bigger jobs and increase their profitability, turnover and business value.
Since joining the franchise in 2011, Craig has not only doubled the size of his original Mt Eden-based business, but has also taken on six North Shore territories which he services with a number of staff and trusted contractors. And he has given back to the brand that has made it all possible by helping to train new franchisees coming on board.
The judges were impressed by Craig’s well-considered and planned approach to business, coupled with a clear strategic direction.
Adrian Kay, Dream Doors Christchurch
Adam & Laetitia Jurgeleit, Exceed Palmerston North
Jacqui & Dean Anderson, Top 10 Holiday Park, Hanmer Springs
Home & Lifestyle Franchise System of the Year
Winner: Dream Doors
Dream Doors is a regular entrant to the Awards, using the process year after year to help drive improvement and measure progress within the franchise. The kitchen renovation business was brought to New Zealand in 2007 by Derek Lilly, one of the co-founders of the original UK franchise, and has achieved great success through its process of refacing and refurbishing kitchens rather than replacing them completely, thereby reducing costs and minimising waste. There are now 11 franchises around the country.
Dream Doors franchisees have regularly won Awards before, and the franchise itself has also been recognised for excellence in innovation and customer engagement. A finalist last year, Dream Doors was named Home & Lifestyle Franchise System of the Year for 2023 by the judges, who said, ‘This entrant has achieved exceptionally strong growth and expansion, while showing a deep understanding of their business, its franchisees and customers.’
BiForm Solid Composite Decking
Category sponsored by Ecomist
Business to Business
Business to Business Franchisee of the Year
Winner: Royce & Hannah Park, CrestClean Hawkes Bay
For Royce Park and his wife Hannah, family comes first. But having three young daughters hasn’t stopped them developing a highly successful CrestClean business servicing commercial clients throughout Hawkes Bay.
Originally from Korea, Royce worked as a retail manager before buying his franchise in 2018. ‘When I worked at the shop it meant I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my children,’ he says. ‘Now I can see my kids in the daytime before I start my work.’
It’s also proved a sound business decision which enabled them to achieve their goal of buying their own home in 2022. They now employ eight staff and Royce has upskilled through CrestClean’s own institute to offer hard floor care as an additional service. During times of crisis, like Cyclone Gabrielle and the Covid pandemic, they were part of the regional Korean leadership hub, offering support to both the Korean community and the wider Hawkes Bay community.
As the Awards judges said, ‘Royce and Hannah demonstrate that hard work, staff investment, customer connection, community engagement and adhering to the franchisor’s systems is a great formula for achieving goals.’
Toby & Hannah Blundell, Aramex, Wairarapa
Bin Yang & Mandy Xu, Paramount Services, Auckland
Ryan & Kirsty Trigg, Laser Electrical, Whangarei
Business to Business Franchise System of the Year
This is such a hotly-contested category, with three award-winning giants of the commercial cleaning sector going head-to-head with other major brands. This year, Jani-King came out on top, and they proved the quality of the contest by going on to win the Supreme title.
While the importance of hygiene was widely recognised after Covid hit, there’s also a focus in the sector on the use of environmentally-friendly cleaning products and sustainable practices. Jani-King has chosen to walk away from using harsh chemicals where possible, opting for probiotic-based cleaning products.
Jani-King has also been certified to Toitū Enviromark Diamond level in New Zealand, meaning its environmental management system has been independently verified as meeting or exceeding international standards and best practices. Franchisees are thoroughly trained in the use of both chemical and non-chemical products to meet the needs of a wide range of clients.
Judges commented that Jani-King, ‘Demonstrated a very clear focus and commitment to franchisees, supporting them and improving their system and processes to ensure excellent performance.’
Category sponsored by Bunnings Trade
Further Awards were made in a number of specialist categories, as follows:
Regional Master Franchisee of the Year
Small Business Franchisee of the Year
Excellence in Customer Engagement
Field Manager of the Year – over $500,000
Field Manager of the Year – under $500,000
Marketing Campaign of the Year
Excellence in Community Contribution
Excellence in Sustainability
Service Provider of the Year
Regional Master Franchisee of the Year
Winner: Viky & Nileshna Narayan, CrestClean
This Award recognises the achievements of Regional Master Franchisees, who are responsible for the recruitment, training and development of individual franchisees within their own areas.
Viky and Nileshna are Regional Master Franchisees for CrestClean in Auckland South, having joined the company in 2005. They oversee operations for 62 franchise teams, amounting to 175 personnel, who provide services to 360 customers. They have enjoyed previous success at the awards, having won Regional Master Franchisee of the Year in 2019, and Master Franchisee of the Year in 2015.
Viky, who is an accountant by profession, says that the most rewarding part of the success of his business has been the impact on others. ‘Franchisees earn a great stream of income with work/life balance, and for many of them it helps to purchase their first home.’
According to the judges, ‘This Regional Master Franchisee demonstrates impressive performance, clear use of the franchise system and tools, and a strong commitment to exceeding customer expectations.’
Award sponsored by Gaze Burt
Small Business Franchisee of the Year
Winner: Elaine Chan, Green Acres Christchurch
This Award recognises a small franchisee business with no more than 2 full-time employees, including the owner.
Elaine Chan joined Green Acres in 2021. She had previously worked long hours in hospitality but, with a new baby and a husband working as a chef, that was no longer an option: ‘I often didn’t see my husband for a couple of days because we used to work opposite hours from each other. I was wondering what to do, trying to be a mum, trying to work as well, I wanted to have more control in my life.’
After looking at buying a café together with husband Gary, she eventually decided to buy a Green Acres Home and Commercial Cleaning franchise. Just a year later, she was named Rookie of the Year for Green Acres, and now she has topped that with a win in the most prestigious awards of all.
The judges said of Elaine’s entry, ‘This submission presented strong detail and examples to substantiate the case of a small business delivering highly impressive results. Her energy, enthusiasm and drive are evident.’
Alistair Weir, Aramex, Canterbury
Romita Prasad and Vinel Kumar, Paramount Services, Auckland
Award sponsored by BDO
Excellence in Customer Engagement – Franchisee
Winner: Sheree & Grant Webster, Top 10 Holiday Park, Hot Water Beach
Sheree & Grant Webster have turned what once was a plant nursery into one of the top holiday parks in New Zealand. With the only campground in the area having closed down years before, they purchased the site in 2008. Four years later, they joined the Top 10 Group and the business has gone on growing ever since.
Hot Water Beach is an internationally-renowned attraction, so when the borders closed in 2020, they had to pivot smartly to serve the domestic market. Borders open again, the Coromandel was then affected by two cyclones and the Auckland floods, as well as DOC closing the Cathedral Cove track. 'If I ever hear the word 'resilience' again ...' threatened Sheree in her acceptance speech. But through all those trials, Grant and Sheree’s business has survived and thrived, with great reviews online. They credit their success to their staff, saying, ‘It is always a team effort.’
As the judges said, ‘They demonstrated an impressive and clear understanding of customer service, and how they deliver it to meet individual customer preferences.’
Adrian Kay, Dream Doors Christchurch
Award sponsored by HR Assured
FIELD MANAGER 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 into two categories by franchisee turnover.
Field Manager of the Year - over $500,000
Winner: Sandy Curson, Laser Group
Laser Plumbing and Laser Electrical are market leaders in trade services, having grown massively since their beginnings in West Auckland in 1983. The company started franchising in 1999, and expanded into Australia in 2004. It is now owned by the multi-national Belron Group.
Sandy Curson provides mentoring and support to Laser franchisees around the country. As a dedicated business performance manager, her role is to help identify areas and actions needed for growth and improvement to enable franchisees to achieve their business goals.
Her effectiveness was recognised by the judges, who commented, ‘Sandy demonstrated very clear objectives and well-run field visits. It was good to see franchisee feedback and Net Promoter Score results being measured, as well as the level of achievement. She uses excellent data analysis and reporting to franchisees.’
Callum Bircher, Aramex
Erin Gardner, Caci Clinic
Rajan Patel, Paramount Services
Dawn Cleary, Cookie Time
Field Manager of the Year - under $500,000
Winner: Tracey Kravitz, Green Acres
Green Acres is one of New Zealand’s largest and best-known home-grown franchises. It was founded back in 1991 at the very start of the home services boom which continues to this day.
Tracey Kravitz is one of Green Acres’ Business Advisors, charged with guiding franchisees through every phase of their business journey. A former hospitality franchisee herself with a couple of well-known brands, she brings to her role an understanding of both sides of the franchisor/franchisee relationship, and a focus on clear and well-communicated targets. IT systems strongly support the whole process.
Tracey advises 58 home cleaning, commercial cleaning and lawn & garden franchisees in Auckland and Northland. The judges found, ‘This was an outstanding submission from a field manager with very clear systems and processes delivering measurable outcomes that benefit the franchisees.’
Awards sponsored by Franchise New Zealand media
FRANCHISE SYSTEM AWARDS
Marketing Campaign of the Year – Franchise System
A regular entrant in the Franchise Awards, Exceed continues to be a winner under its new owners, Belron, who bought the franchise two years ago. The nationwide franchise specialises in fixing window and door joinery.
As the weather got increasingly wild, Exceed’s campaign Get Ready for a Cosy Winter focused on the heating and health benefits to be gained from proper maintenance. The campaign had very specific objectives and used analysis of previous campaigns to formulate strategy and maximise marketing spend across a variety of media.
The judges found that this was a very focused, well-run campaign, with strong levels of involvement from franchisees which was able to demonstrate considerable success.
The Coffee Club
Award sponsored by Op Central
Excellence in Community Contribution – Franchise System
Winner: The Coffee Club
The pandemic and subsequent economic turmoil had a huge impact upon many communities around New Zealand, with charities being especially badly hit as people needed more help while being less able to contribute.
Throughout it all, The Coffee Club continued to engage with its local and national communities, providing support where it could in a number of different areas. Their annual contribution to the SPCA’s Cupcake Day, which sees specially-decorated items made and sold nationwide, raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for the animal charity. Another high profile event has become a Christmas tradition with schoolkids around the country designing festive take-away coffee cups and napkins in support of the KidsCan charity. And, as well as getting involved with these national campaigns, individual franchisees are encouraged to support local school and sports teams.
The judges said, ‘The Coffee Club demonstrates exceptional commitment to their community contribution, as well as clear insight about the wider impacts of their contribution on the community, franchisees and the business.’
Award sponsored by Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre
Excellence in Sustainability – Franchise System
Winner: Paramount Services
Commercial cleaning franchise Paramount Services is a regular entrant (and regular winner) in the Franchise Awards, but this is the first time they have won the Sustainability category. It’s a cause that is close to the heart of founder Galvin Bartlett, who was outlining the franchise’s various environmental initiatives in Franchise New Zealand over 20 years ago. They included introducing recycling systems, reducing waste to landfill, saving power usage and adopting environmentally-friendly cleaning products.
The franchise has continued to pioneer more sustainable cleaning methods ever since, and to look for ways of reducing the company’s environmental footprint for itself and its franchisees, as well as its clients. Today, Paramount has introduced organic waste recycling and is championing EV vehicles and charging points throughout its network.
As the judges said, ‘The winner demonstrated an understanding of sustainability, and an impressive commitment to all areas of it, from the sourcing of products, through to supporting their team and franchisees.’
Award sponsored by Excel Digital
SERVICE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Service Provider of the Year
Winner: Wynn Williams
This Award recognises a Service Provider to the franchise sector which demonstrates a significant contribution to New Zealand franchising.
Wynn Williams is a leading New Zealand law firm with offices in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown. They have specialist franchise expertise through Katrina Hammon, who is well-known across Australia and New Zealand as a leading consumer markets and franchise lawyer.
Katrina advises businesses in a broad range of sectors, including retail, grocery, distribution, travel, fashion, therapeutic goods, hospitality, beauty and appearance medicine, medical, media and advertising, financial services, estate agencies and brokers, and is a particular expert in taking franchises trans-Tasman – in both directions.
‘The winner has a very strong commitment to the sector, and uses their wide range of skills, knowledge and insight to add value to franchisees,’ said the judges.
Award sponsored by Paramount Services
About the Awards
The 2023 Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards were organised by the Franchise Association of New Zealand. 2023 marked the 28th edition of the Awards, which have been held annually since 1995 (except for 2020). This year's Awards Ceremony took place at the Cordis Hotel, Auckland, on 11 November.
Awards entrants go through a rigorous assessment by a panel of independent judges, including a detailed submission and video interviews. Entry is open to all members of the Franchise Association of New Zealand.
Daniel Cloete, Westpac’s Area Manager Business & National Manager Franchising, said, ‘We are thrilled to be associated once again with this prestigious event as principal sponsor of the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards. Our support forms part of our long-standing partnership with the Franchise Association and commitment to driving business excellence in the franchising industry.
‘Westpac congratulates all the participants, finalists and winners tonight. The entrants had to put in the time and open their businesses to outside scrutiny – thank you for being proud enough to stand up and seek recognition for your hard work and great ideas. Strong and prosperous businesses are the building blocks of a stronger New Zealand – by supporting our customers, together we can make it happen.’
Below – scroll through photos of all the winners on the night from photographer Grant Southam.
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