Getting the passion back at Mrs Fields: franchisee view
Franchisee Peter Perrior has been familiar with Mrs Fields since he started doing the shop fit out and design for the company eight years ago. Two years ago with his wife he took the plunge and bought the Chermside franchise in Queensland.
Peter signed off on the Chermside franchise in mid 2010 and started operating it in September 2010. But when Mrs Fields acquired Cookie Man, he noticed the difference.
“The head office team were still great in answering my questions and getting back to me when I needed help, but when they acquired Cookie Man they became less proactive. It switched from getting constant visits and phone calls to needing to chase them.”
According to Peter the focus on the future also dropped off. He explains “I understand that the head office needed to get their head around the Cookie Man business, but that meant less of a strategic focus on Mrs Fields. Whereas we would regularly see new product launches in those first few months, when they took over Cookie Man that sense of innovation dropped off.”
Re-engagement with franchisees
Now 18 months on from the Cookie Man acquisition Perrior has seen a marked renewal and re-engagement with franchisees, and a return of the passion for innovation and the customer that got him excited in Mrs Fields in the first place.
“The support office team are now around the stores more often, and more involved in providing guidance about where we can improve and where we might be going wrong. I’m excited again about the direction we are heading in and we are already seeing the results of the new vision for the business with some great new products like Toasties coming in, and sales and profitability up.”