Training at Mad Mex: what can you expect?
While Mexican fast food franchise Mad Mex may be smaller and younger than its multinational counterparts, it seeks to offer franchisees comprehensive training programs and ongoing support.
Before they begin their initial six week training program with Mad Mex, potential franchisees undertake an in-store trial.
“They spend a few days in-store to make sure they are comfortable with the atmosphere and the real job itself.
“This ensures they are not just thinking about it from an investment standpoint but as a career and something they are going to be working on day in day out,” says Mad Mex CEO Clovis Young.
He explains the six week program involves a combination of in-store and theoretical training. “About four and a half of the six weeks are spent in-store and then there is business, systems and tool training - so they go back and forth between the office and restaurant.
“There is a full curriculum and testing by sections and departments, and franchisees who successfully complete the program receive a graduation certificate."
Young says training personnel at head office devise the training program and take care of all administrative tasks; meanwhile store managers facilitate the in-store training.
“Training personnel put the programs together, manage each franchisee’s training, organise head office catch ups and on-site practical tests, but the actual day to day training is conducted by the store manager.
“Every franchisee has a trainer assigned to them; typically it is someone who is a store manager because with the exception of some business skills, the store manager and franchisee get 99 percent of the same training,” he adds.
Young says store managers teach franchisees everything they need to know to run a Mad Mex restaurant successfully. “The store manager will teach the franchisee how to make the product, run calendars, use the scheduling software, do the ordering and receiving and conduct inventory checks."
The brand’s training program is essentially comprised of three key components. “There is the one-on-one training, operations manuals and a testing element facilitated by a question-answer system to see if the information has stuck.”
The complexity of a new product or process will determine the degree and type of training the brand provides its franchisees and their staff.
“We have just launched RSPCA chicken nationally, and while it wasn't a change that required a huge amount of training or development, the focus was on educating all franchisees and employees so they understood why we were doing it, what the impact of the change will be and how they can communicate it to customers.
“We created an introduction video that franchisees and employees would watch and then they were required to answer eight to 10 questions based on the information in the video," says Young.
Additionally, each franchisee or store manager was required to organise an in-store meeting to inform staff about the new concept.
“To make sure they understood and were able to communicate the initiative staff did mock trialling – they took it in turns pretending to be customers and practised serving one another,” says Young.
Mad Mex employs a team of operations managers who support franchisees long after they complete the initial six week training program, and each franchisee can expect an in-store visit at least once a month.
“One of the big initiatives we have for this year is to make sure that every time an operations manager goes out into the field not only do they go through the business side of things, they spend an hour to an hour-and-a-half on the customer counter.
“They work alongside the franchisee to help them fine-tune the business and make sure the system isn’t wobbling off – for example, they check to see the burritos are being rolled correctly.”
While the initial training program takes six weeks, Young recognises it will take a franchisee anywhere between three and six months to understand every little aspect of their business.
“Six weeks is a big economic and time commitment to be trained, so it is enough to be in charge of your business but over the next three to six months we hope to fine tune our people so they are top grade business managers,” he says.