San Churro scoops top FCA award

Sarah Stowe

Chocolate cafe chain San Churro is the Australian Established Franchisor of the Year.

The 13 year-old business scored the top title at the MYOB FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards 2019 event.

Accepting the award San Churro CEO Giro Maurici said “We stand on the shoulders of 39 franchisees who walked through our doors and trusted us.”

He added “So much is made of coming up with the right idea but it’s about what you do with that idea and who you get on board.”

The Express Retail Group was named Australian Emerging Franchisor of the Year. The group operates Salon Express and Barbershop Express, employing more than 500 staff and generating annual revenue of more than $30m.

Chatime launched into Australia in 2009 and one week short of celebrating its 10th anniversary of Aussie business the bubble tea brand scooped the FCA’s International Franchisor of the Year title.

Australian CEO Carlos Antonius is leading the charge to reach 130 stores this year and challenged the audience to take a fresh look at business.

“This sector has an immense opportunity to reconfigure, reset and reshape the industry we are in. I challenge you to think about how we can reshape this industry moving forward, how we evolve,” he said.

Double awards win

Laser Clinics Australia double-dipped into the awards pot, winning both Excellence in International Franchising for its implementation of an overseas expansion strategy, and the award for Excellence in Franchise Innovation.

Muffin Break won the Franchisor Social Responsibility award for its action on sustainability. The chain has diverted 11 million cups from landfill.

Natalie Brennan, GM of Muffin Break, accepted the brand’s first national FCA award in its 30 year history.

Brennan looked forward to the award becoming redundant.

“Our hope is sustainability is not special, it’s just business as usual,” she said.

Courier and freight reseller Pack & Send took the award for Excellence in Marketing. The business has been franchising for 25 years and has more than 100 outlets.

Shingle Inn‘s Melinda Bowles took the Field Manager of the Year award.The hospitality veteran joined the business three years ago.

“It’s not an easy job but the wins are amazing,” she said.

Cashflow It business partners James Scurr and Dan Toms accepted the award for Supplier of the Year.

Scurr said “Sometimes the best action is to get stuck in to it. We started the business in 2014 and just surpassed $100m funding into the franchise industry.”

Franchisee awards

Franchisee Joanne Heidke of Bakers Delight, Burleigh Heads, won the Franchisee Community Responsibility and Contribution award.

Heidke supported women in crisis through the Share the Dignity campaign and charged franchisors to step up and do more for good causes.

“Get out into your networks and make it happen,” she said.

The award for Franchise Woman of the Year went to franchisee Liz Nable, who was the first operator in the Xtend Barre network.

Nable said “I feel really proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Multi-unit Franchisee of the Year was awarded to Warren D’Cruz.  A former mechanic, D’Cruz joined the Auto Masters chain in 2006 and has built up a portfolio of stores across South Australia and Western Australia.

Quest Apartment Hotels couple Mark and Ky O’Shea of Bundoora won the Single-Unit Franchisee of the Year with two or more staff award.

The pair have worked together for 18 years and praised the culture of the franchise. “This is an amazing group to work for,” Mark said.

Taking out the Single-Unit Franchisee of the Year award for operators with fewer than two staff, Kate Davidson of fitness franchise EFM.

Accepting the award she said “There is absolutely no way I could be running a successful business without EFM.”

Hall of Fame

This year’s inductee on to the FCA Hall of Fame is Ron Pedder, the son of the founder of Pedders Suspension.

Ron took over the 22 year-old family business in 1972. As chairman of the business he has led the firm to a national footprint, developed an extensive overseas business, and championed local manufacturing.