Next Generation in Franchising November/December 2019

Millennial Motivation

Every issue, Franchise Canada features a successful millennial franchisee, who shares their franchise story, and how being a young franchisee has impacted their experience.

We’ve featured some exciting stories over the past year and are highlighting the key takeaways and tips from these franchisees in this Excellence in Franchising issue. Read on to learn more!

Jesse Roberts, Arby’s Canada – Cranbrook, British Columbia

How he found success:

“We took a very strong approach to customer service. It requires the entire team – both the management and our team members – to buy in to a shared goal.”

The age factor:

“I think my age has made it easier for me to engage our team members and see what they see. It’s also helped me spark a level of fun in our restaurant. Working hard is easier when everyone is having fun.”

The benefit of franchising with Arby’s:

“They’ve made themselves extraordinarily available. Sometimes I’ll send out emails on weekends not expecting them to come back until Monday, but I’ll sometimes get a response even from the head of Arby’s Canada at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday.”

Advice for other young franchisees:

“Do the simple things well. Take care of your staff, offer a quality product, and care about your customers. You don’t have to be a business expert to run a successful business; you just need to do the simple things well and learn from your mistakes.”

Kianna Jensen, Little Caesars – Steinbach, Manitoba

The age factor:

“I find that it’s very hard to have people take you seriously. I look very young, so I have a lot of people treat me like a kid. When they ask me if they can speak to the manager, I tell them, ‘I am the manager,’ and they say, ‘Well, can I speak to the owner?’ ‘I am the owner. What can I do for you? I’m helpful, I promise.’” Jensen says she handles it by remaining calm. She also uses different coloured shirts to distinguish managers from staff, an effective visual.

Hands-on training:

“I got to work open to close at an actual franchise with a franchisee who had initially been one of the head office members overseeing all of Canada. He was very knowledgeable, so that was very reassuring for me. It was an extra set of eyes that knew how to do everything. Taking off half the pressure like that is immensely appreciated.”

The benefit of franchising:

“The best thing about being a franchisee is that you still get to have your own business and work for yourself, but you have a team of highly competent and responsible people working from head office to back you up every step of the way.”

Advice for aspiring franchisees:

“Take into account that it’s going to be really long days and make sure that you’re ready. Know that everything you do is going to be worthwhile. It’s hard to be patient when you don’t have faith in what’s to come.”

Cotie Drinkwater, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Canada – St. Catharines, Ontario

On finding success:

“You overcome challenges by working harder at them. You have to understand where your weaknesses are and work on them. For me personally, I didn’t want to let anyone down. I wanted to persevere.”

The age factor:

“Time is on my side. Investing in a franchise at a young age means you have time to learn, time to keep re-investing, and time to figure things out.”

The TWO MEN AND A TRUCK culture:

“They promote a culture that encourages you to reach out to anyone, franchisees included. I’m pretty friendly with all of the Canadian franchise partners and I talk to many of them every month. It would be unwise for me not to. Communication opens doors and creates new business connections.”

Continuing to grow:

“There’s still tons of growth in this territory. We can double or triple our sales growth in St. Catharines alone. For the company as a whole, I see us growing into a household name. We’re going to be the McDonald’s of the moving industry!”

Advice for young franchisees:

“Don’t ever think you’re doing something perfect. There’s always something better you can do to grow your business, so listen to the people around you.”

Amanda Mucek, COBS Bread – Mississauga, Ontario

Family inspiration:

“My parents are immigrants who came to Canada with nothing, so I witnessed them work really hard to build a good life for my family. They definitely are my role models. They instilled in me these values, to be humble, kind, generous, and to work hard. These values were a compass for me. I kind of use it as an anchor for my life.”

The age factor:

“Ultimately it was a benefit because I worked harder to prove myself. I had to understand it was all psychological – that age was just a number. I find it is much easier to train my staff because they view me more as a team member rather than an owner, which makes for a really fun environment. Staff turnover is really low and morale is really high. Everyone feels welcome to bring their own ideas to benefit the bakery.”

COBS’ support system:

“One thing that’s unique is that if there are any questions you need answered, you can call any franchisee anywhere, even in Alberta, which I’ve done in the past. You can also ask any area manager as well. It’s such a stress relief to have partners that want to help me succeed. You never feel alone.”

Advice for new franchisees:

“Research, research, research. You have to find a company that is really suited to your values because it becomes such a big part of your life. It needs to feel really comfortable. I love how important it was for COBS Bread to give back to the community. The brand never compromises so why should I? I was very happy and lucky to work with COBS Bread.”

Armaan Divecha, Fresh Burger – Vaughan, Ontario

Franchise support:

“We meet up quarterly, and all the Fresh Burger franchisees have exchanged emails so I can always get advice or discuss a new idea with them whenever I need to. They are always around. When you own your own business, it can get scary because you don’t always have the answers. Having a supportive franchise that can guide you, especially during the first year of business, was very helpful for me.”

Family support:

“I really had to get help from my dad because between family and friends and a restaurant, it was hard to find time for everybody and manage my own time. He showed me how to set up files and spreadsheets, and so much of the operational tasks I wasn’t familiar with. I was pretty fortunate to have someone like him guide me through it all.”

Social media strategy:

“I could see the direction that the industry was going because all my news feeds were brands being sponsored by ads. That’s why I helped get my franchise started with the marketing campaign. I can say that it’s really helped the brand.”

The age factor:

“I didn’t expect as many people to be supportive as they were for me, but people are. Sometimes they say, ‘I can’t believe you’re so young’ and then they get happy about it. I guess that’s the benefit of being a young owner.”

Véronique Levesque, Molly Maid – Ottawa, Ontario

Choosing Molly Maid:

“I knew I wanted to own a business, and looking at franchises, Molly Maid was the best option, knowing how they support their franchisees, knowing the process, and knowing how the brand is known.”

The Molly Maid network:

“The good thing about being a Molly Maid franchise owner is that you have a network of other franchise owners you can relate to, who are living in the same business and experiencing the same challenges every day.”

Help with challenges:

“It could be the minimum wage increase, a big challenge that we’ve experienced in 2018, or staffing challenges or how to deal with a customer concern. I’ve always had the support of the franchise, even if it was just to talk.”

The age factor:

“People did look at me and say, ‘I don’t know if I can trust in you.’ I had to work really hard at gaining customers’ trust, as well as some of the team members.” How did she do it? “By showing them that I am capable. I’ve proven over the years to customers and staff that I’m committed by being there, being attentive, doing estimates, meeting customers, and doing a lot of one on one.”