Andrew Benefield drives Mrs. Fields successful expansion
Andrew Benefield was about to leave the country for his home in New Zealand when he landed a job that changed his life and propelled Mrs. Fields cookies franchise’s success.
About to return home with only 20c in his pocket, Benefield received a call that he had gotten the marketing director role he wanted at a hotelgroup in Sydney’s CBD, just down the road from a Mrs. Fields cookies franchise.
The muffins proved to be a great way to woo customers and unaware that the franchise had recently expanded into Australia from the USA, Benefield soon became a daily customer. Some 20 years later he is still be enjoying the muffins and cookies as the global franchises Australian managing director.
Pivotal in the development of franchise systems to deliver customer service and sales, Benefield worked for a number of American brands before he started looking for his own business venture. An expert in systems development, many of the systems Benefield implemented are still in play today and are in place around the globe.
“I had three boxes to tick - it had to be a good brand and Mrs. Fields always has been.
“Secondly it had to have an abundant supply of products and it also needed to have a positive cash flow.
“All of which Mrs. Fields did with ease,” said Benefield.
He purchased the master franchise for the cookie franchises in Australia in 2006 and drawing on his experience, started to expand the business. Training plays a large role in the expansion of the franchise network and success of their franchisees.
Benefield’s expansion plans began to really take affect in 2010 when Mrs. Fields Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New Zealand Ice Cream to co-develop stores.
“I believe that co-branded outlets still need to have an offer that makes sense to consumers.
“Cookies and Ice Cream are a natural fit,” he said.
In December 2010, the cookies franchise made a competitive and strategic move, acquiring clear competitor, Cookie Man and taking the company out of liquidation.
“The challenge of owning two businesses has meant we are helping more franchises be successful.
“At the moment we are doing research into how the different brands operate and what the customers essentially want from the brands,” said he explained.
The future of Mrs. Fields cookies franchises smells like success with 6-12 new stores planned to open in the next 12 months, as well as consolidating both the brands.