What do franchisees want? San Churro spills the beans

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Inside Franchise Business: Kim Davies, San ChurroInspired by the chocolaterias of Spain, franchise chain San Churro is serving up delicious desserts and treats to enthusiastic diners across the country. Inside Franchise Business talks with Kim Davies, who heads up recruitment . 

1. What is your personal strength in business?

I am definitely a people person, and I genuinely care about our franchise partners. This comes across in my relationships with them, and I take pride in knowing they trust in my honesty.

2. What have you learned about franchising?

Honesty is definitely the best policy when recruiting franchisees – you can recruit the right people only if you deliver the right message. If you don’t, you end up with the wrong franchisees.

Follow your gut: if something feels wrong, then most likely it is.

Don’t judge people without getting to know them. Not everyone presents well on paper, and there are some amazing people out there who just need a chance to prove themselves.

3. What does it take to have an efficient franchise model?

A strong brand, a sensible growth strategy, a clear understanding of the market, high-quality product that is relevant to the market, sturdy policies, consistently high standards across the network and all backed up by a dedicated support network and a commitment to growing profitable businesses.

4. What do franchisees want from their franchisor support team?

Experience, understanding, willingness to listen, and honesty.

5. How does a franchisor foster trust in the relationship with a franchisee?

Again, honesty and consistency. Franchisees invest a huge amount in their franchisor, not just in monetary terms but also in their future. They need to feel confident their franchisor has their best interest at heart, and that happens only if the franchisor is honest, and has clear systems and guidelines, transparent processes and consistent treatment across all franchisees.

6. What can franchisees do to ensure a good relationship with the franchisor team?

Communicate, be constructive and be open to suggestions for improvement. Most franchisees will go through challenging periods during their tenure, but that is when it is really important for them to contact their business development manager and discuss their concerns. A franchisor can help and provide support only if they know what is happening with their franchisees.

Stay passionate about the brand. If franchisees lose focus and passion, it is time for them to make a decision about whether to move on. We respect the decisions of our franchisees and will help them with the sale of their business.

7. In your experience, what is the most common mistake franchisees make?

Not doing their homework (due diligence) and having unrealistic expectations. Most people enter franchising to “be their own boss”, but often do not really understand what this means.  Being your own boss means taking responsibility for your business, in all areas.

You need to wear a lot of hats and learn a lot of skills. You need to understand that it is a long-term commitment and that you will be devoting a lot of your time to the business, particularly in the early days.

8. What do you look for when interviewing a prospective franchisee?

Honesty and openness. At San Churro, we make our franchisee meetings very informal as this encourages applicants to ask as many questions as they can and to be honest about their concerns. This allows us to connect with the candidate and understand if they are right for San Churro, and if San Churro is right for them.  

If the environment is too formal, people can behave in a way not natural to them. We want to get to know the individuals, and we want them to get to know us. If at the end of the meeting they walk away having decided San Churro is not right for them, that’s OK. We want to partner with people who are totally on board with our brand and our culture.

9. What do you think is the most important quality for a franchisee?

Two qualities spring to mind: the ability to develop, manage and mentor a team of staff members who will echo the brand values, and a genuine commitment to the best possible customer service.

10. What does it take for a franchisee to be a star performer?

Passion for the brand, drive to succeed, great customer service, great staff management skills, the ability to work within the guidelines of the brand, the ability to respond positively to challenges and a willingness to embrace change.

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