12 ways Shingle Inn Cafes found to boost recruitment

A franchise head office runs at a frantic pace. So it is easy to lose sight of the quality of a potential franchisee’s experience as they go through the recruitment process. But if you want to boost recruitment, it’s a process that’s important to review.

Flashback to late 2017 and Shingle Inn had expanded from just seven company owned stores in Brisbane/Gold Coast in 2009 to 58 franchised outlets nationally.

Expansion was our priority. But when a number of candidates offered some less than positive feedback regarding their experience we knew it was time to change.

Potential franchisees found our recruitment process too long, in some cases painstaking.

We were still using the same franchise recruitment process that we had developed in 2009. Meanwhile the world had moved on and we needed to catch up.

The process was clunky, with mixed communication, too many forms, often duplicating previous information requests. It lacked good digital solutions.

Over the next eight weeks we focused on improvements. We compared our franchise offer to others within the franchise industry, sought advice from industry leaders and surveyed our existing franchisees.

This culminated in a 12-Step implementation.

12 ways to boost recruitment

1 Re-define the recruitment strategy

We were aware that each converted lead cost on average $9000 so it was critical to develop a new marketing plan to generate quality franchisee candidates.

This was achieved by improving our selection criteria and profiling strategy and by increasing the engagement of all stakeholders throughout the recruitment process.

2 Improve and simplify the introductory communication

Candidates conducting their franchise due diligence want more information in less time. It was vital that all recruitment marketing including our website, presented an attractive business opportunity promptly.

This process involved crystallising the franchise offer while ensuring the information was relevant and succinct (less is more) and delivered more efficiently.

3 Improve the franchise offer

We effectively developed, packaged and communicated the range of benefits, support and services provided by Shingle Inn to support franchisees. We also made the franchise offer more accessible on our website by repositioning the franchise message to the front, making it more visible.

Images and livery were updated with the latest new store designs, activities, menu’s and commentary. Digital options were added so candidates could download relevant information including brochures and recruitment forms.

4 Increase digital content

Candidates are increasingly tech savvy so more digital options were needed to increase our penetration. It was agreed to commit to the implementation of Google Adwords and pursue improvements on Search Engine Optimisation.

5 Push the unique selling proposition (USP)

It was important to maximise our story, 80-year history and increased emphasis on the benefits of being a family owned business.

6 Offered general franchise insights

To assist in gaining candidate confidence and encourage return website visits, we included general franchise information including generic hints and tips.

7 Separate site opportunities

Our site advertising was confusing candidates as they had trouble differentiating between greenfield and existing opportunities. We agreed to use only brokers sites to list existing site opportunities and leave the greenfield sites to our mainstream advertising.

8 Increase current franchisee engagement

We introduced an engagement program with our existing franchisees to encourage multi-unit franchising and to give them referral incentives.  

9 Address inquiries sooner

It was identified that candidates window of interest was at most eight hours. Our previous response to inquiries was an email response within 24 hours. This was improved to a same day phone cal.

10 Boost candidate interaction

A critical change in our franchise presentation was to utilise technology and increase candidate interaction to increase buy-in and understanding.

11 Reduce documentation process

A reconciliation of our franchise documentation reduced our hard copy literature by 40 per cent without compromising critical information and actions required. This allowed us to gather vital data on candidates and distribute information efficiently to all stakeholders.

We also renamed documents, for example the “The Application Form” changed to “Preliminary Details” so candidates did not feel they were unnecessarily committing before doing sufficient due diligence.

12 Introduce e-signing facilities

We speeded up our document process by implementing e-signing facilities (DocuSign). This allowed candidates to download and execute formal documents digitally in minutes or hours—not days—from almost anywhere in the world.

The vast majority of the above improvements were implemented over a six week period from June to mid August 2018 with immediate impact.

The results

Franchise inquiries increased in September 2018 by 22 per cent. Internal referrals have increased by 30 per cent, and we have added two new multi-site owners.