What does Mad Mex look for in a prospective franchisee?

By Sarah Stowe | 06 Dec 2017 View comments

Inside Franchise Business: Mad Mex's Phillip Blanco shares franchising insightsSpend five minutes with Mad Mex’s Phillip Blanco, director for national development, and find out what he looks for in a prospective franchisee.

1. What is your personal strength in business?

Building strong interpersonal relationships, having an entrepreneurial vision to recognise opportunities in the market and to grow and develop them. I love retail and hospitality, and this flows out of my enjoyment of working with teams and serving customers. I’m all about the customer experience.

2. What have you learned about franchising?

It’s all about people. You can’t build a great brand without surrounding yourself with great people. Good character is the primary requisite, after which passion and talent must follow.  We’re in the service industry, so you have to love serving people and exceeding expectations.

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

You need a solid foundation so people are free to focus on leading, coaching and developing their teams. There are seven core elements…

Franchisee selection: It is important that franchisees are “on-brand” as they hire, train and lead the in-store team and deliver the brand experience

Store development: The basics for developing a new store are a great site, lease negotiation, design and project management

Training: Providing comprehensive training from the start is a must, as well as investing in constant upskilling

Ongoing support: Franchisees really want someone to help them develop and execute comprehensive business growth and development plans

Product development: Customers expect innovation

Marketing support: The marketing team in many ways shapes customer perceptions of our brand and what we’re about, so it is important we never lose sight of our “true north” and those ideals we never compromise on, so it’s brand first then products and promotions.

Supply and distribution: Supply-related headaches sour franchisor relations very quickly if not dealt with. Franchisees have a right to expect great pricing, quality and distribution, and it is the franchisor’s job to make sure this area of the business is as robust and efficient as possible.

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

I think franchisees want strong and positive relationships with people they can depend on – a team that can help guide them in growing and developing their business. This goes well beyond the initial set-up and honeymoon phase.

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

You must have caring, honest and transparent relationships to build trust. When the trust bank is high, the brand prospers. Great franchisee relationships are the key to success. Listening is very important. Stop listening, and things break down quickly.

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

Communicate. Make your voice heard. I find that too many of our franchise partners keep their thoughts and ideas to themselves. This is a mistake, as franchisors need feedback to better understand their business and how they are going. We have quarterly state meetings, anonymous surveys and annual conferences to ensure we’re gaining as much interaction and feedback as possible from our franchise family.

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

Hiring the wrong people – people who are not on-brand and who are not really capable of delivering the brand experience. If you have the wrong people working in your restaurant, the customer experience suffers and all the marketing in the world won’t save you. It’s all about getting the right people onboard.

8. What do you seek in an interview with a prospective franchisee?

Energy, positivity, and passion. We look for people who are “people, people”. We can teach them our systems, but we can’t change their natural disposition. Our brand experience should be a fun and a bit cheeky, so we look for people who can deliver that in our restaurants.

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

A genuine passion for delivering outstanding customer service.

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

Living the brand values. For us, that’s being “cheeky, authentic and connected”. A lot sits behind these three adjectives, but when you bring them together you can build a great team and a great business.