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Coffee Club franchisee scoops FCA award

Friday, 14 October 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
The Coffee Club franchisee Carolyn McManus has revealed her secrets to success for multi-unit franchising, after being named Multi-unit Franchisee of the Year by the peak industry body.

 

Earlier this week, the Franchise Council of Australia announced the winners of the 2011 Westpac FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards.

 

Hair and beauty franchise Hairhouse Warehouse was named Established Franchisor of the Year, while Appliance Tagging Services was recognised as Emerging Franchisor of the Year.

 

Queensland couple Carolyn and David McManus took out the title of Multi-unit Franchisee of the Year, having grown their network of The Coffee Club franchises from one to five in five years.

 

The husband-and-wife team owns and operates franchises in and around Townsville, employing more than 100 staff.

 

“I started to look around [for a business venture] when I was on maternity leave... We did some research on whether to go into a business by ourselves or enter a franchise,” Carolyn says.

 

“The Coffee Club had a really significant brand and a really strong structure. That was really important to me as I didn’t come from hospitality.”

 

“They had consultants, significant corporate training, and I could talk to any department head at any stage.”

 

Carolyn says she and her husband always knew they wanted to operate multiple franchises, particularly in a regional area such as theirs where it’s somewhat easier to build up a network.

 

“The biggest thing I learned is that by that fourth store mark, I needed to bring more people in that are heavily business focused.”

 

“[As a franchisee] you still have a lot of emotions attached to your stores... I needed someone to separate the emotion from the business.”

 

“It probably should have kicked in at store three – [the fact that] I needed to operate as CEO of a business now.”

 

“I always let the store managers recruit their own staff but I sat in the interviews with them to direct it. I was conscious that they didn’t employ a group of “mini me’s” – we need diversity in our teams and now they get that.”

 

According to Carolyn, it’s easier to recruit staff when you operate as a multi-unit franchisee.

 

“When you have two or three [stores], you can offer some sort of career progression or enrich their roles a lot more with training. Recruitment is easier in a multi-unit [operation],” she says.

 

However, Carolyn has some advice for other multi-unit franchisees.

 

“Every time they are looking for another roll [to fill] and what the business needs, make sure you’re clear what you’re looking for in the position description,” she says.

 

“For example, you may have a fantastic store manger but to have them step into an operations role – that is a huge jump. Either earmark them early in the process, and start training them, or recruit externally.”