Intensive training kickstarts franchisee success at Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses

Intensive training franchisee success
Ferguson Plarre begins franchisee training with a four-week intensive program. (Source: Supplied)

When a new franchisee signs on with an established brand, it marks the beginning of an exciting chapter in their business journey – joining like-minded passionate people to pursue a satisfying and profitable career in their chosen field. It’s understandable that amid all this exhilaration many franchisees want to jump straight into getting their business up and running.

But, before diving in head first, it is crucial for both the immediate and long-term success of the business for the franchisee to gain comprehensive training and valuable insights from the franchisor.

Four-week training program delivers fundamentals

While all franchisors run their training programs differently, at Ferguson Plarre we have found a four-week intensive program to be the best opportunity to deliver the information our franchisees need to run their businesses successfully and profitably.

The creation of our program was a collaborative effort that included working with the trainers in the team, existing franchisees and department heads. We developed a blended learning program that includes theory-based training, online and in-store training. This approach has assisted the learner to gain an understanding of the fundamentals and processes before putting them into practice in a store environment. This also helps transfer knowledge and retention and does not overwhelm the learner.

There are several product assessments during the four-week training program, as well as a written and practical assessment. Then, once the franchisee is in their store, the training team supports them full-time for a week so that any practical questions can be answered.

Identify additional training needs

As they complete the initial training, feedback from franchisees is a useful tool for identifying potential gaps in the program. Regularly reviewing the existing network’s performance and identifying common issues or difficulties, particularly in the first year of a franchisee’s journey, can also help identify where additional training and support may be required for future recruits.

The Ferguson Plarre training program in its current form was developed in 2012. Prior to 2012, there wasn’t a training program in place. Instead, if you purchased a store, you would have a retail trainer with you for two weeks to teach you everything they could about running the store. Our internal evaluations told us that this was not adequately setting our franchisees up for success, so we changed our model.

Gaining confidence in operations

As the business evolved and there was a larger focus on coffee, retail and educating franchisees on how to run their business, a comprehensive training program was required.

This was created for the business to ensure franchisees have a better handle on the operations and are more confident in their skills to run their franchise. The goals of any great franchise system are to achieve consistent, sustainable replication of the brand promise to customers, and for the franchise system to be financially successful at every level. Training is a major component of achieving that goal.

10-star program

Our course is based on our 10-star program whereby each ‘star’ (which is basically a more fun word for module) focuses on an operational part of our business. The franchisee training program and associated resources should also be reviewed and amended whenever any material changes to the business or brand occur. As we have built our training program, we have used evaluation to find gaps in our training program and have thus also added four external modules that look at POS, Hivemind (back-end reporting from POS), stock ordering and celebration cakes.

Intensive training is a building block to franchisee success

We have also expanded our training team as the network has grown and we now have several trainers that facilitate different sections of the program, including dedicated retail and barista trainers.

While we understand that the breadth of running a business cannot be taught in a matter of a few weeks, the building blocks are put in place over the intensive program that will give our franchisees the strong foundational tools they need. We also want to ensure we are harnessing the initial excitement and passion for the businesses that the franchisees possess when they sign on, and we want to get our franchisees in their stores as swiftly as possible.

The aim of our program is to give our franchisees what they need, then set them free to build their own business, knowing they have our support throughout the entire process.

Training improves standards

In terms of the results? It is undoubtable that the standards in our network are exponentially better today than they were in 2012. This is in line with our network store and sales growth, and we can link this directly to the implementation of our intensive training program.