Franchisees with full sight of their financials are able to make better decisions for the business. Bakers Delight was an early adopter of financial transparency across the franchise network but there are still challenges, CEO Elise Gillespie explains.
“Our portal and extranet has full availability of operating profit line. Anyone at head office or another franchisee can look, and the reports are all named.
“If I’m a franchisee in Camberwell and see a bakery is doing similar sales to me but achieving greater profitability, I can ask what they are doing better – is it ingredients, is it wages? I can give them a call and find out.”
The headquarters team encourages this, and the transparency helps develop an open, collaborative culture. In fact, while many franchise brands are way off achieving this level of transparency, for Bakers Delight it is old news.
“We’ve had this so long,” says Elise. “Once we moved from faxing weekly takings, and it was all done electronically, having all the information at our fingertips has been great.”
That does not mean there aren’t still challenges. It is a longer journey to make sure the information is correct. Sales figures are reliable because they are taken off the registers, but monthly financial statements still need to be entered correctly.
“It’s about education and communication, explaining the importance of accuracy, that it helps us better support franchisees, to manage the levers that drive the profitability of the business.”
Financial clarity also helps franchisees when they are ready to leave their businesses, providing possible buyers with clear profit-and-loss statements and an easy way to assess the value of the business.
Daily focus on sales performance
Day to day the focus is on topline sales, marketing and performance, and franchisees can become excited and driven to a positive competitiveness, says Elise.
There is no excuse for any franchisee not to know how their store is performing at any point during the day – the digital dashboard updates sales figures every 15 minutes. A franchisee can choose 10 bakeries to regularly watch, and will receive their figures as well.
“If you have systems it helps engage the community and foster mutual support,” says Elise. “We really have built the culture that one of us is not as good as all of us.”
If there is a poor performer, it really impacts the brand and the business, she says.
Setting franchisee standards
There is another reason why the Bakers Delight brand stands tall: standards.
“We make it very clear to our franchisees coming in that this is not an investment – this is you in the bakery, you are the face of your business, someone who has expectations, someone engaging who feeds and brings positivity,” says Elise.
Franchisees are expected to be actively involved in their local community, with fellow franchisees and with area managers. Attending conferences and roadshows is mandatory, and ensuring +these are valuable events for franchisees is an ongoing commitment, Elise says.
Collaborative events allow for feedback from franchisees, who can voice their concerns about the direction of the business or marketing initiatives, and who expect transparency in return.