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There are some questions prospective franchisees ask that never go out of fashion and you better have the right answers
Many things have changed since Tutor Doctor came to the UK: the economy, diversification of the industry and digitalisation to name but a few. But no matter what sector your franchise is in, I’ve found the main questions that we, as franchisors, get asked by potential franchisees have stayed largely the same. Of course, there’ll be differences depending on the brand but the most common queries that come up at each stage of the process haven’t changed for over ten years. And I’m sure if you asked me, I’d say the same again in another ten.
One of the first things people ask about is training: what do they get? That’s because it’s usually the part most franchisees worry about. We all know it’s common to have prospective franchisees who haven’t run a business before, let alone owned one. Understandably they’re nervous about making an investment without the experience to fall back on. Communicating your training programme – what you o er and when – especially at an early stage, is vital to attract and engage the right prospects. As a franchisee, especially if you’re coming into a sector that you don’t hail from, this detail is going to be crucial. For example, 80% of Tutor Doctor franchisees don’t come from an education or teaching background but that’s ok. And it’s the same with most brands. My advice about training is ask, ask and ask some more.
Questions about finance are obviously common. Franchising involves a huge investment – financially, physically and emotionally – and money worries remain the same. Franchisees need to be sure they can a afford to make the initial investment as well as the ongoing fees. So, there are always questions around the types and levels of funding available and how individual circumstances impact on that. Another FAQ is “how will you support me?” Franchisees want to know exactly how they’re going to be supported for the duration of their agreement. What you say in your marketing literature about this could be the deciding factor for a lot of people before they even get as far as speaking to you. And be warned, if you say you’re going to o er it – make sure that you do.
Another question almost guaranteed to come up is the one about where customers will come from. Franchisees want to know how they’ll get clients and what they can do to retain them. Not everyone has sales and marketing experience and these skills might not come naturally so reassurance is essential. As a prospective franchisee you should ask about the processes you’ll be shown that empower you to win business in the first instance and most importantly, keep customers coming back.
The reason these continue to be the most common questions is simple: potential franchisees remain largely the same too. They possess entrepreneurial spirit but crave that sense of security and, often in uncertain times, that’s not a bad thing. Franchising is a mutual agreement between two parties and respect has to be on both sides. Questions are important, so don’t be afraid to ask.
From filmmaker James Cameron’s company to funeral homes, there is seemingly no lack of diversity among the new franchises setting up in the UK MUSE Global
Few franchises can brag about having an Academy Awards-winning filmmaker as one of its co-founders. But then again, MUSE Global isn’t like most franchises. Founded in 2005 by Avatar creator James Cameron, his wife Suzy Amis Cameron and her sister Rebecca Amis, the franchise offers parents an alternative approach to early childhood education. “MUSE began because I wanted a genuine educational experience for my children that nurtured their passions and truly engaged their curiosities,” says Amis Cameron. Teaming up with her sister and the Terminator director, the former The Usual Suspects actress-turned-entrepreneur created an educational system offered in sustainable campuses.
In December 2018, the franchisors decided to take the next step. “We’ve always dreamed of offering this amazing programme to children around the world and now we can through our franchise opportunities,” she continues. One of the places MUSE Global is searching for prospective franchisees is the UK. The company is looking to partner up with people who are passionate about teaching kids core academics whilst also educating them about the environment. “[As] the MUSE family grows, we’ll be able to impact even more children around the world and create positive change for our communities – and the planet – through meaningful and engaging education,” states Amis.
So while Cameron may be famous for dystopian movies like Aliens and Terminator: Judgement Day, the franchise he helped build is envisioning a brighter future and is actively working on making it happen.
From finding clients to spreading the word about the enterprise, running a rural business is filled with challenges. Fortunately, Konzepts was launched to help raise the profile of more remote enterprises. Founded in 2016, the company assists SMEs by boosting their reach across social media platforms. Founder Sue Harbottle-Sear incorporated the company in December 2017 in preparation to become a franchisor. Having launched its franchise at the end of January 2019, Konzepts has the ambition of appointing at least six franchisees this year. But it’s not stopping there. Over the next five years Harbottle-Sear envisions that the franchise will have roughly 40 franchisees across the UK. And once the network has reached between ten and 15 franchisees in the UK, it will start to offer international master franchises across the world. What’s not to like?
Taking charge of your company’s utility costs can be challenging. And that’s where Utility360 comes in. Having first seen the light of day in 2010, the Cheshire-based enterprise helps businesses of all sizes manage their utility costs in a variety of ways – from helping clients understand their bills to renegotiating new terms with providers. Recognising the opportunity of franchising the company in 2018, the company signed up its first franchisee in March 2019. Now Utility360 aims to grow the network to between 30 and 50 franchisees over the next five years, with an ambition to eventually have 100 franchisees in total. So if you’re looking for a franchise with some huge aspirations, Utility360 fits the bill.
Funerals by Design
Everybody dies. This fact is the reason why Funerals by Design can accurately say that “everyone alive needs a funeral service at some point.” The company was launched in 2016 by Lawrence Laidlow. “I set the company up after my mother decided to buy a [funeral] plan,” he reveals. “She thought it would be a good idea for me to enter into this realm of business.” Since then he’s developed the company to cover the pre-paid funeral plans offered by the entire market. “The big difference is that we are completely independent and offer the plan which best suits the customers needs,” Laidlow argues. “Not trying to shoehorn the customer into a plan which may not be best for them. We will also assist clients in creating the funeral they really desire, this has included plans to use a horse drawn carriage, motorcycle hearse and even burying a man in a vintage Volvo.”
In April 2019, he decided that it was time to franchise the business. “The reason I wanted to franchise is because the UK is in the depths of a funeral poverty trap and most people cannot afford to bury a loved one at today’s service costs,” Laidlow explains. While the company is just out of the blocks, the new franchisor hopes to create 300 franchisees in the next few years. With 58 million potential customers in the UK alone, Funerals by Design isn’t going to run out of clients anytime soon. Can you dig it?
Papa John’s releases its first Heinz tomato ketchup-based pizza as well as a vegan substitute
While we’ve seen franchises like McDonald’s and Burger King go head to head over the years, it’s also possible for franchisors to collaborate with other businesses to create innovative new projects. Pizza restaurant chain Papa John’s and food brand Heinz joined forces to create a culinary mashup.
The team-up has resulted in the launch of the Hot Dog Pizza on Wednesday May 15. Paying homage to a classic hot dog serving, Papa John’s has swapped its original tomato sauce for aHeinz tomato ketchup base. The Hot Dog Pizza also includes Frankfurter sausages, onions, mozzarella and Heinz yellow mustard.
The pizza is also available as a vegan option, known as the Vegan Hot Dog. This push was hardly surprising given Papa John’s launched its vegan menu on Monday January 28 after nearly 30,000 signed a petition to force the franchise to introduce vegan cheese to its pies. The franchisor claims the Vegan Hot Dog pizza makes it the first UK pizza chain to provide a vegan meat substitute.
Commenting on the launch of the Hot Dog Pizza and Vegan Hot Dog, Giles Codd, UK managing director of Papa John’s, said: “We’re excited to launch our latest partnership with one of the nation’s best loved brands and use its iconic Heinz tomato ketchup as the base of our newest pizza. Ingredient innovation is at the heart of our menu and we have worked hard to ensure The Hot Dog is the perfect combination of each flavour. We’re confident pizza lovers and hot dog fans will be woofing it down in no time.”
However, Papa John’s is hardly the first the pizza franchise to incorporate hot dogs in its servings. Back in 2012, Pizza Hut UK introduced a pizza with a hot dog-stuffed crust. The response was divided to say the least. While Time Magazine lamented that “Britain is one step ahead of [the US] in the heart-attack-in-a-box department,” The Guardian’s Oliver Thring simply stated that it was “delicious.”
Nevertheless, two iconic food companies like Papa John’s and Heinz combining their flavours, the new pizzas could be a smash with meat lovers and vegans alike. Time will tell.
The Massage Company is set to expand its centres into international markets including India after clinching a deal with FranGlobal
With the rise in mental health awareness and work-related stress becoming more prevalent, it’s no wonder stress reduction techniques are also becoming increasingly important for business owners. And now, The Massage Company, the membership-based massage franchise, is capitalising on this and is set to take its massage centres across the sea to India.
Founders Elliot Walker and Charlie Thompson have struck a deal with FranGlobal, Asia’s largest franchise reseller, to launch 50 centres throughout India with a goal of making an estimated $50m in network revenue from the endeavor. The first centre will launch in Delhi NCR with other metropolitan cities to follow.
Furthermore, The Massage Company aims to continue expanding to international markets throughout 2019, with Sweden, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic all of interest. Currently the franchise operates in Surrey, Kent and Buckinghamshire and plans to open centres in London, Hampshire and Birmingham too.
Commenting on the expansion, Charlie Thompson, co-founder of The Massage Company, said: “We aim to become the global leader in membership-based massage and we consider India to be a sizeable market which will enable us to achieve this goal.”
Additionally, commenting on the deal, Gaurav Marya, chairman of FranGlobal, said: “Our network of over 70 brokers across India will help us to make The Massage Company the leader in membership-based massage. We will launch The Massage Company at The Master Franchise Show 2019 in June. This is one of the biggest trade shows that we host, drawing in over 50,000 attendees every year so we’re confident that it will make a big impression.”
With so many workers needing support, it’s likely The Massage Company will be successful in smoothing things over in India and go from strength to strength globally.
The homecare franchise has reached its impressive milestone with the newest franchisee opening an office in Dorchester
Home Instead Senior Care UK has certainly made a lasting impression since launching in 2006. The homecare franchise has not only grown to take care of over 14,000 seniors across the country but has done so whilst reaping in numerous prestigious honours like 46 Care Quality Commission outstanding ratings, two consecutive number one spots on the EF Top 100 list and awards at bfa HSBC Franchise Awards ceremonies. Now the franchisor has reached another huge milestone by opening its 200th franchise.
The man to carry it across the threshold is Dorchester franchisee Romesh Dharmasingham who officially opened his new business during a gathering at Chester Cathedral. Several high-profile people in the franchise industry attended the event, including Home Instead Senior Care UK’s managing director and previous Elite Franchise cover star Martin Jones and the bfa’s CEO Pip Wilkins.
Commenting on the opening, Dharmasingham said: “It is truly an honour to open the 200th office of this fine organisation. This is an inspirational business which is making such a difference to the lives of older people and I look forward to contributing to its future success.”
Congratulating the new franchisee, Wilkins commented: “Huge congratulations to Home Instead on reaching such an impressive milestone. Sometimes people who are involved in strong, successful franchise systems don’t always realise what an inspiration and example they really are. When you see a business that has an eye on the future as well as the present, never standing still and, above all, franchisor and franchisees working together for the good of the whole network it truly is a great example of how franchising should be done.”
McDonald’s has signed an agreement with the US Vienna embassy to help Americans in distress to connect with the embassy and get help
Imagine you’re a US citizen in distress in Austria. You may’ve lost your passport and iPhone and have no means of contacting the embassy for help. At least, that used to be the case. As of Wednesday May 15, any American finding themselves in difficulty can simply enter one of McDonald’s 194 Austrian branches and get in touch with the US embassy.
The new 24-hour hotline to the embassy will also include help from the franchise’s employees. The restaurants would still remain Austrian territory. Speaking with the BBC, McDonald’s added that its personnel would certainly help anyone who found themselves in distress, not just US citizens.
The US embassy in Vienna announced the agreement on Facebook and was quickly met by some ridicule. Comments like “Introducing the McVisa,” “Would you like to supersize your passport?” and “Can you open a Burger King embassy so we can have it our way?” were rife on the embassy’s social media page.
Others found the deal slightly problematic. One Facebook user wrote: “As a US citizen, I find it odd that this seems to be an endorsement for a specific corporation. I would prefer if the government and corporations were kept separate.”
One individual asked if this new service was “in lieu of a staffed embassy” to which the Vienna embassy replied: “Certainly not. Our embassy is fully staffed and ready to assist American citizens in need. This partnership is only one extra way for Americans to connect to the embassy when they are in an emergency situation.”
From flame-grills to frightful clowns, here’s what happens when two of the biggest fast-food franchises in the world go head-to-head
McDonald’s and Burger King have become household names since they first opened in 1940 and 1953 respectively. And as they both grew into fast-food franchise giants, their rivalry has deepened. Interestingly, both burger businesses have used the feud to gain publicity.
Check out these incidents where Burger King and McDonald’s took creative jibes against each other through adverting.
(1) Real Meal
Burger King has recently used Mental Health Awareness month as an opportunity to make a dig at McDonald’s. Poking fun at the iconic Happy Meal, Burger King has launched its own version of the children’s meal called Real Meals with the slogan: “No one is happy all the time.” When ordering a Whopper meal, Burger King customers get the option to pick a box that’s best highlight their mood – whether that’s a Pissed Meal, Blue Meal, Salty Meal, IDAF Meal or a YAAAS Meal. Burger King also released a promotional video for the campaign. Only available in the US, the Real Meals are a result of Burger King‘s collaboration with Mental Health America. While the collaboration certainly highlights an important subject and manages to make fun of its archenemies, many criticised Burger King for capitalising on mental health.
Back in 2015, Burger King proposed a collaboration with McDonald’s to create a burger together. The McWhopper would be a burger mashup of McDonald’s Big Mac and Burger King’s Whopper and would be sold on World Peace Day in a pop-up shop between a McDonald’s and a Burger King in Atlanta. Proceeds would be donated to Peace One Day, a non-profit group that raises awareness of International Day of Peace.
The proposal was rejected, with McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook making a statement on Facebook: “We love the intention but think our two brands could do something bigger to make a difference. We commit to raise awareness worldwide, perhaps you’ll join us in a meaningful global effort? And every day, let’s acknowledge that between us there is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.” He added: “A simple phone call will do next time.” Ouch! At least he liked the intention.
(3) Ronald undercover
It seems even Ronald McDonald can’t resist Burger King, according to a German Burger King ad from 2002. In it a clown that bears a striking resemblance to Ronald visited a Burger King in disguise. Wearing a large hat and coat, the McDonald’s mascot walks up to the counter and is recognised by the server, who says: “Big King as usual?” Ronald then takes his meal and is ready to leave, when the server then adds: “Ronald – see you tomorrow.” Ronald then tucks into his Burger King meal as soon as he’s outside. Using McDonald’s own mascot against its rival is pretty savage.
(4) “Thank you McDonalds”
McDonald’s has attempted to hit back at Burger King over the years. Yet, a 2016 ad backfired pretty badly. The ad shows a couple driving down a country road. They pass a sign saying a Burger King drive-thru is 258km away with complicated directions leading to it and another sign says a McDonald’s drive-thru is conveniently 5km up ahead. The ad then ends with the text: “With more than 1,000 McDrives, McDonald’s is closer to you.”
However, Burger King hit back within three days, tweeting “Hey @McDonaldsFran, looks like you forgot to show the end of your [video.]” An ad was attached, featuring the same couple getting two large coffees at McDonald’s drive-thru to keep them going for their journey to Burger King. The ad says “Thank you McDonald’s for being everywhere.” The couple is then shown at Burger King tucking into their meal while stating that the journey “wasn’t even that long.” Try again, McDonald’s.
(5) McDonald’s masquerade
McDonald’s can successfully ridicule Burger King as shown by one of its German ads. It features a young boy eating McDonald’s regularly at a skate park. Each day, other children steal his meals until he has an idea for him to eat it in peace. One day, he’s shown walking to the skate park with an extra white bag. Once he sits down to eat, the children walk straight past him. A wider shot reveals the boy is hiding his McDonald’s bag behind one from Burger King. The boy then smirks as his plan has worked – no one will be stealing his McDonald’s anymore. Well played McDonald’s.
Burger King isn’t afraid of playing on people’s fear of clowns to make fun off its rival. An ad from 2017 is reminiscent of a horror film, with a teenage boy on his bike at night being chased by spooky clowns. One of them bears a striking resemblance to Ronald McDonald. The boy seeks safety in a Burger King, only to find that the clowns have made their way into the establishment. Ronald then appears, and says threateningly: “I want my Whopper.” Then the advert ends. The campaign was known as #ScaryClownNight, where customers were encouraged to come to Burger King in Leicester Square on Halloween while dressed as a clown for a free Whopper. The offer was also available in the US in locations such as Miami, Boston and LA. This is ad was certainly crafty, with Burger King not only mocking McDonald’s mascot, but using it to the company’s advantage.
(7) Never trust a clown
Burger King made a smart move when it managed to score a deal with the highest-grossing horror film of all time: IT. At a German pre-premiere of the film on September 27 2017, Burger King decided to make its mark. Footage of the audience during the showing of IT shows the audience shrieking and wincing at scary moments in the horror flick. Just before the credits rolled at the end of the film, two spotlights shine onto the screen. One says: “never trust a clown.” The second adds: “Burger King.” Evidently, Burger King wanted to reinforce the image that Ronald is a spooky clown. The footage then shows the audience laughing and applauding at Burger King’s advertisement. Judging from the audience’s reaction, the marketing method was a good choice.
(8) Gift of fire
Burger King is very proud of the fact it flame grills its burgers – something McDonald’s doesn’t do. For its 2017 Christmas campaign, Burger King embraced the Christmas spirit and decided to give McDonalds “the gift of fire” – a flame grill so McDonald’s could flame-grill its own burgers. Burger King’s mascot The King, along with his entourage, brought the flame grill to a McDonald’s restaurant. They then released fireworks and sung a carol, much to customers’ and staff confusion. Lines from their song include “since 1954-ho-ho-r, we [flame-grill] everyday” and “just try it yourself, that’s our friendly advice.” We’re not sure if the gift was well received, but there’s no denying that The King put in a lot of effort.
(9) Anything But a Big Mac
When McDonald’s lost its Big Mac trademark in the EU, Burger King decided to rub salt in the wound. In January 2019, the EU voted in favour of Supermac’s, an Irish food chain, who accused McDonald’s of using the name Big Mac to prevent Supermac’s expansion into the rest of Europe. The EU’s ruling allows the term Big Mac to be used by other corporations within the EU. While McDonald’s has since appealed the ruling, Burger King unsurprisingly decided to tease McDonald’s by creating an ad making fun of the whole situation. The Swedish advert shows Burger King customers ordering items with names that insult the Big Mac. Menu items included The Anything But a Big Mac and Kind of Like a Big Mac, But Juicer and Tastier. We hope McDonald’s didn’t have to wait too long at the emergency room to get treatment for that massive burn.
(10) Burger King’s Halloween costume
For Halloween in 2016, one New York Burger King restaurant decided it would dress up as the ghost of McDonald’s. The store and its sign were covered in a white sheet with “McDonald’s” spray painted on it in black letters. Never missing an opportunity to make a dig at McDonald’s lack of flame grills, the sign read: “Just kidding, we still flame-grill our burgers.” When McDonald’s was contacted for a comment on the costume, Terri Hickey, McDonald’s spokeswoman, told Business Insider: “Who wouldn’t want to masquerade as McDonald’s for Halloween when we are serving up treats like McCafe beverages, apple pies and our world famous fries?” At least McDonald’s made the best out of a bad situation by using it as a promo opportunity.
Clearly, just because two companies are huge international power housees, it doesn’t mean that they can’t have fun teasing each other.
After already conquering areas such as Dubai and South Africa, Flip Out is focusing on expanding its UK franchise operations
Expanding franchises internationally can be risky business. So it’s encouraging whenever foreign franchisors don’t just dare to make the jump and venture into the UK market but also to grow their business. The latest one to do just that is Flip Out, an Australian trampoline park franchise that was brought over to Blighty in 2015.
Founded in Sydney in 2012, Flip Out has grown globally, having a total of 78 outlets in seven countries, including New Zealand, South Africa and Dubai. Flip Out provides classes, parties and sessions for all ages. Flip Out locations also provide food, beverages and arcades.
And this is the successful recipe that has seen the UK operations grow tremendously over the past three years. However, it doesn’t have any plans to stop as Flip Out is expected to bounce into 2022 with double its size. The company currently has 22 sites open in the UK, with four new ones being built. In three years’ time, it’s aiming to have 50 centres open. Furthermore, Flip Out sold over 2.5 million sessions in 2018 and it’s aiming for five million in 2019.
Flip Out is currently looking to open in Dorset, Hertfordshire, Coventry, Sussex and Scotland. The franchise aims to open more parks in shopping centres and retail parks, while connecting with more landlords of property sites for potential expansion. The space requirement for a Flip Out centre is between 15,000 and 75,000 sq feet.
Commenting on Flip Out’s expansion hopes, co-owner Richard Beese, said: "We are really excited to be at the expansion stage of our growth strategy and are looking to push all boundaries. We are interested in key geographic areas across the UK and are looking to grow exponentially."
With Flip Out already having cracked the UK market, it’s safe to say its new UK franchises will only bounce higher.
Even amidst a reported franchisee row, Domino’s Q1 performance in the UK and Republic of Ireland has achieved year-on-year growth
Photo credit: Copyright Domino's Pizza Group Limited
The trading statement. It’s a document all franchisees eagerly await in order to determine how solid its franchisor’s financials are. And in the case of Domino’s, the base seems to be relatively appetising – at least in Britain. Mostly.
The pizza franchise has released its Q1 2019 statement for the 13 weeks to Sunday 31 March 2019, which has revealed overall group system sales rose by 4.5% to £324.4m. The UK and Republic of Ireland were the markets to watch in particular as sales grew 4.8% year-on-year – a 3.1% and 6.8% like-for-like sales spike for each territory respectively.
Digital sales were a contributing factor behind the British and Irish increase, with an 8.5% growth of online purchases. As if the power of e-commerce wasn’t already clear, online also accounted for 90.5% of delivery-based sales and 81.7% of total sales. Seemingly consumers in the Republic of Ireland were particularly keen to tantalise their tastebuds with tech, as the region experienced an 18.5% surge in online orders.
Domino’s is no stranger to trying out new things, having trialled drone deliveries in the past. And the company’s determination to keep pushing the envelope seems to be a winning recipe for the franchisor as innovation was another driver of sales according to Domino’s, with low calorie pizzas going down well alongside the cheeseburger-topped option, which has sold more than 1.6 million to make it “one of our most popular pizzas ever”.
“With continued like-for-like growth, the year has started well across our core UK and Republic of Ireland markets, which account for 90% of our business,” said David Wild, CEO of Domino’s.
“Our digital expertise remains a key driver of customer engagement, with online accounting for a record 81.7% of total sales in the UK.”
Apparently alluding to the franchisor versus franchisee face-off in the network, Wild said: “We remain in open and ongoing dialogue with our UK franchisees, actively exploring win-win solutions for stimulating growth and new store openings.”
Outside of the UK, sales weren’t as successful – international sales grew by just 1.1%, with areas such as Switzerland suffering. “Internationally, performance remains disappointing and trading visibility is limited,” said Wild. As we outlined at the full year results, we have new management in Norway, Sweden and Switzerland and a heightened focus on store level performance. However, given persistently weak system sales in all our International markets we no longer expect this part of our business to break-even this year.”
With international sales struggling and the UK’s succeeding, it seems as though this will only serve as further leverage in favour of the Domino’s Franchise Association UK & Ireland as it looks to achieve its goals of getting a bigger slice of the profits.
After collecting the award, Andrew Walters, director of international business development at Stagecoach, said: “It was an honour to have been recognised in a room full of many other respected franchisors. At Stagecoach, we prioritise the satisfaction of our franchisees and this recognition comes as a real testament to this dedication. I’m so pleased to celebrate this with our team, both in Canada and internationally. We’ve come such a long way in the years we’ve been operating in Canada and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the brand and our rapidly-growing network of franchisees.”