Give franchisees a stress-free Christmas
What does it take to ease the busy Christmas period for franchisees? Planning and preparation are important and communicating the support on offer is crucial.
Muffin Break uses a number of ways to communicate important information to their franchise partners. From a national perspective, they achieve this via their online portal where notices and training are posted for franchisees to read, although just as importantly, key action items are summarised in a weekly newsletter.
This newsletter is emailed from the online portal to their inbox Sunday mornings as this is the most popular time the portal is checked, and then franchisees are ready to take action on Monday. The field team then calls or visits their patch of stores early in the week to assist in any additional questions.
For Christmas, the communication piece becomes critical as the combination of high sales, public holidays and school holidays can exacerbate any problems that can occur. If a register is going to break down or a delivery is delayed, then Murphy’s law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong) predicts it will happen during Christmas, on a public holiday, when no-one is around to assist.
Six week start to a stress-free Christmas
We believe six weeks in the lead up to Christmas provides the opportunity to communicating key items to ensure a smooth Christmas to include:
- All Christmas campaign marketing communication and materials printed, delivered and in store no later than early November
- All training completed by mid-November
A couple of months prior, the brand identifies franchise partners who are doing their first Christmas at Muffin Break. The field consultant will then complete an additional visit, walking them through the things they need to prepare such as:
- Understanding all the gazetted public holidays and the impact on employees’ rates
- Increase stock levels to cover increase in sales and impact of less deliveries as companies shut down for the holiday period
- Backup plans if they miscalculate sales (this includes stock or cash for floats)
- Planning cash flow
- Hiring additional staff, if needed
- Change of rostering for increased sales and shopping centre trading hours – which in some centres could see overnight trading, some with 72-hours continuous trade prior to Christmas.
From a head office perspective, communicating the changes in delivery information from suppliers is key. Make it easy for your franchise partners with a one-pager that includes:
- Change of delivery dates from key suppliers
- Gazetted public holidays
- School holiday plan
- Important emergency numbers
Trading through Christmas and January
Christmas and the holiday trading patterns happen in three parts.
Part one is the build-up to Christmas Eve and then the sales madness from Boxing Day on.
The second part is after New Year’s Day until the end of the school holidays when consumers are looking for entertainment, particularly if they have kids.
The final trading period is after school holidays, in late January, when sales will fall. It’s important for the support teams to prepare their franchisees for this.
In December, the field team will do a last visit of the year, focusing on assistance and preparation, rather than compliance. It’s a great opportunity for relationship building. Be mindful that some franchisee partners will be celebrating other religious ceremonies beyond Christmas.
Between the Christmas to New Year period we stay out of the way as franchise partners are very busy, and most teams will be on holidays as the head office shuts down. The brand has an emergency person in every region, that is the first person called for anything – then each support team will also have at least one contact available on-call. Critical departments, like IT, don’t take leave at this time.
Be ready to help franchisees re-charge
And one last thing, at the end of January, franchisees will be tired. The field and support teams need to reach out and remind the franchise partners that we are there to help and do whatever we can to assist them to take a well-earned break.