Franchise Update Magazine Issue II, 2013 - Page 6

From the editor’s desk Franchise update|Q2 CHAIRMAN Gary Gardner BY Kerry Pipes CEO Therese Thilgen President Steve Olson Speed Thrills I f speed and efficiency aren’t woven into the fabric of your brand, you are losing candidates and slowing system growth. Sounds harsh, but it’s a fact. Facts can be that way. I recently returned from Franchise Update’s 12th annual Multi-Unit Franchising Conference in Las Vegas. More than 1,200 multi-unit franchisees, franchisors, suppliers, and investors were on hand this year—the largest number ever. (In-depth coverage of the conference begins on page 20.) Seventy percent of the multi-unit franchisee organizations at the conference reported they were seeking new brands, and the Expo Hall provided them the perfect opportunity to kick the tires of many dozens of brands—as well as those of suppliers—who filled the Expo Hall in record numbers. One thing that has become evident in recent years is the growing importance for franchisors to provide clear and relevant information to potential franchisees— quickly—from initial contact to signing the franchise agreement and opening a new location. Franchising is becoming more sophisticated, and those who want to excel and expand want good information from the start—especially larger multiunit organizations. If you’re not providing them with that information from the start—including detailed financial data in your FDD—you’re falling behind those who are. Speed is the focus of this issue. Speed is critical in recruitment efforts, for maintaining positive relationships with franchisees, and for reaching customers. The buzz in 4 Franchiseupdate Iss u e II, 2 0 1 3 recent years has been how companies are using technology to communicate more quickly and effectively at all levels and with all constituencies. In franchise development and growth, technology—done right—is a must-have advantage. In Challenge the Pros (page 60), Jocelyn Blain, chief development officer at Fresh To Order (f2o), discusses the technology needs and processes of an emerging brand. She says a good CRM system is imperative for generating and tracking leads, delivering a digital franchisee kit, and as an online resource for candidates during the award process. As she says, “In addition to enabling organizations to become more efficient, technology allows lean development teams to be more effective without an increase in staffing levels.” And what about customers? It’s essential to reach them quickly and efficiently as well. In our CMO Roundtable (page 36), Paul Macaluso, chief marketing officer at Moe’s Southwest Grill, says the marketing department shoul