Author Archives: Jason Pickup

How Aurelio’s Pizza Improved Accountability with FranConnect’s PerformanceWise

Aurelio’s Pizza, a 40-unit franchise, partnered with FranConnect to implement a continuous improvement program powered by the PerformanceWise™ franchisee performance management software. Download this case study to find out how Aurelio’s improved to a 35% increase in system wide sales, a 9% increase in same-store sales, 10% across-the-board improvement in quality assessment scores for store cleanliness, service, and product preparation, and a 50% reduction in customer complaints – all within a short time period

FranConnect CEO Featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune

Amit Pamecha, Founder & CEO of FranConnect, was used as an expert source for a story on how small companies keep up with the latest business technology. He discussed streamlining operations and how this can save small businesses and franchises time and money. To view the full article, please visit here.

FranConnect Brings Executives Together for Best Ideas & Leadership Summit August 6-8, 2014

Nation’s Leading Franchise Management Solution Hosts Three-Day Summit in Washington, D.C. for CEOs and Executives in Franchise Sales, Operations, and Marketing to Create a Blueprint for Franchise Excellence

Reston, Va. – FranConnect™, the leading Franchise Management Solution, announced it will host an exclusive, three-day intensive conference for franchise CEOs and executives called the Best Ideas & Leadership Summit from August 6-8, 2014. The summit will be held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, located at 201 Waterfront Street in National Harbor, MD (just outside of Washington D.C.). To register for the event, please visit www.franconnect.com/franconnection.

The Best Ideas & Leadership Summit will provide innovative workshops for addressing best practices in franchisee relations, improving engagement and execution. Tracks will focus on franchise sales and operations, local marketing, and executive leadership. The CEO Growth Circle track will offer an exclusive opportunity for CEOs, Presidents and Founders to network, discuss challenges and share successes for franchise growth, franchisee relationships, sales and unit revenues. Operations and franchise sales executives will follow the Franchise Sales & Operations Workshop track to learn the latest trends and successful strategies to increase franchise sales, improve performance and attain operations excellence. In the Local Marketing Boot Camp track, marketing executives will design a local marketing blueprint and review the key components needed to increase revenue.

“Those who attend the summit will learn to accelerate their business with the latest research, trends, news, proven best practices and innovative ideas from some of franchising’s leading experts,” said  Amit Pamecha, Founder & CEO of FranConnect. “Upon returning to their headquarters, attendees will have a clearly-defined plan for executing breakthrough strategies quickly and cost effectively.”

Below is the breakdown of topics and breakout sessions that will be covered by day.

  • Day One: will feature a choice of three tracks including interactive workshops in the areas of franchise sales and operations, local marketing and an exclusive CEO-Only Summit, where rarely-discussed issues facing our industry’s top leaders will be addressed. Topics will include: managing your franchise advisory council, compensation plans and benefi­t programs, how to attract and select the right board of directors, new technologies on the horizon, and blue ocean strategies to stand apart in a crowded industry.
  • Day Two: the summit will include moderated panels and discussions, along with exclusive sessions with top franchise presenters. Some of the session topics are: best practices in franchisee performance and relationship management, rethinking consumer marketing: strategies & technologies for standing out in a crowd, and looking into the crystal ball: the future of lead generation, financing, technology, compliance and everything franchising.
  • Day Three: the summit will include the “Best Ideas Summit,” a facilitated, unconventional format without “talking heads,” allowing attendees to be grouped by interest to share and collaborate on ideas important to their professional goals.

The summit gives participants the chance to hear from leading figures in the industry, world-class experts including keynote speaker and best-selling author, Greg Nathan, CFE, a global thought leader in understanding the science of creating healthy franchise relations. Nathan will deliver a state-of-the-art, evidence-based presentation on the factors that drive healthy franchise relations.

As a renowned psychologist, author of four best-selling books, including Profitable Partnerships, and a pioneer in researching franchisee performance and satisfaction, Nathan is the developer of the famous Franchise E-Factor model, which maps the six stages of the franchise relationship. He is also the recipient of the inaugural Contribution to Franchising Award in Australia and has been a successful multi-unit franchisee and senior franchisor executive. His session will teach franchise networks to “thrive or dive” depending on how well they manage their franchise relationships. In this interactive session, attendees will be able to peek behind the curtain to understand what really motivates franchisees and what can lead them to want to fight rather than collaborate with their franchisor. Attendees will also be exposed to five practical models for running a best practice franchise relations and support program, developed from years of cutting edge research by the Franchise Relationships Institute.

“By bringing business leaders and franchise executives from some of the fastest-growing franchise brands all together under one roof, attendees will be presented with an interactive learning environment to learn from industry experts that will transpire into personal and professional growth,” said FranConnect President of Global Operations, and Conference Chair, Keith Gerson. “The Best Ideas & Leadership Summit will foster a thoughtful discussion between brand executives to ensure they learn best practices and surefire methods to build a blueprint for ongoing franchise excellence.”

Gerson went on to say “our previous biennial event sold-out in 2012 and early indications are showing that we are well on our way to doing it again.”  Those interested can register at www.franconnect.com/franconnection.  Sign-up by May 30, and receive $100 off the registration fee.

Zcubator™ to Host Local Marketing Bootcamp, May 13th

As a way to help franchise systems gain valuable marketing knowledge and grow their brand, FranConnect and Zcubator will host a Bootcamp “Transform Local Marketing to Increase Franchisee Revenue over 20%,” on Tuesday May 13th 2014 from 11:00am – 4:00pm EST. The Bootcamp will be available to attend virtually, or in person at the FranConnect headquarters in Reston, VA. To read the full article featured in 1851 Franchise Project magazine visit here. To learn more or register visit www.zcubator.com/bootcamp14

FranConnect® Improves Franchisee Selection Process for Primrose Schools®

Solution Provider’s Franchise System Helps Industry Leader in Early Childhood Education Streamline Candidates

Reston, Va. – Primrose Schools, a leader in early childhood education and child care, has experienced significant improvements in its customer relationship management since partnering with FranConnect, the leading Franchise Management Solution, almost four years ago. As the prestigious education provider continues to grow with the FranConnect solution, Primrose Schools looks forward to implementing additional tools to the FranConnect solution which will further increase their efficiency.

“We partnered with FranConnect because we were looking for a CRM tool to manage our franchising processes so we could methodically move leads through the pipeline in an efficient manner,” Vice President of Franchising, Chris Goethe said. “FranConnect has dramatically changed the structure in which we find the right candidate to run a Primrose School, and we’re looking forward to learning more about FranConnect’s capabilities so we can utilize its solutions to maximum potential.”

FranConnect is a thought leader that produces integrated franchise solutions while advising on how to implement best practices and create efficiencies that yield cost savings. FranConnect supports franchisors across the entire franchisee lifecycle with a comprehensive solution that includes Captivate®, its franchise sales recruitment solution; franchise onboarding; franchise information management; PerformanceWise™, a franchisee performance and operations consultant improvement solution; financial data collection; royalty management; FranBuzz, a franchisee social network; franchisee intranet; online training; online help desk; and Zcubator™, an all-in-one franchisee marketing solution.

Primrose Schools adopted Captivate in November 2013. “Captivate has dramatically improved the number of qualified leads by helping eliminate a lot of the tire kickers, which makes us more efficient and productive.”

Moreover, FranConnect’s support in connecting with potential franchisees continues even after it delivers the list of qualified candidates. For Goethe, one of the most helpful features is an add-on module that automatically organizes and schedules phone calls with the countless prospects.

In addition to adopting FranConnect’s Captivate, Primrose Schools has also implemented FranConnect’s Franchise Information Manager.

“We have more than 275 schools around the country, and have consultants who assess the schools regularly with separate software,” Goethe explains. “FranConnect can adopt other software. As these consultants go out into the field, they’re able to access all of the franchisee’s information through FranConnect.”

More than 500 franchise brands benefit from FranConnect’s extensive knowledge of franchise technology and solutions ranging from data collection, information analysis, marketing automation, franchise management, and increasing franchisee engagement, to name a few.

“The FranConnect Management Operating System, along with our comprehensive application toolkit, allows us to address our clients’ most pressing issues including franchisee engagement, driving growth, improving franchisee profitability, solidifying relationships and streamlining workflow,” FranConnect Vice President of Marketing, Linda Smith said. “Our year of working with and learning from franchisors has yielded the integration of best practices into our products. This allows our team to quickly identify our clients’ specific needs, and then seamlessly integrate solutions that can provide ROI right out of the gate. We are proud to have been given the opportunity to help improve Primrose Schools franchise operations, maximize their internal efficiencies, and aid them with creating powerful benchmarking and dashboards to improve their franchisee performance.”

About Primrose Schools
Founded in 1982, Primrose Schools is the nation’s leader in providing a premier educational child care experience in more than 275 schools in 20 states. Each Primrose school is independently owned and operated by Franchise Owners. They partner with parents to help children build the right foundation for future learning and life, and offer an environment that helps children have fun while nurturing Active Minds, Healthy Bodies and Happy Hearts®.

The Balanced Learning® system, consistently delivered in all Primrose schools nationwide, is designed to provide high-quality, educational experiences to support children’s social-emotional, cognitive, creative and physical development. It is made up of an exclusive standards-based curriculum that enables teachers to help children gain the knowledge and skills that will enable them to move successfully from one level of development to the next as well-rounded individuals. The system also offers developmentally-appropriate materials and equipment for all classrooms; multiple forms of assessment; and extensive training for teachers.

Primrose Schools is the first early childhood education organization in the country to receive AdvancED Corporation Systems Accreditation under the new Standards for Quality Early Learning Schools. This accreditation ensures all Primrose schools meet the highest quality standards and shows they are continually improving student learning. For more information, visit www.PrimroseSchools.com.

About FranConnect, Inc. 
FranConnect is the leading provider of Franchise Management Systems, with more than 500 brands and 75,000+ franchise locations – using the company’s comprehensive solutions to establish, grow, and manage their franchise operations. FranConnect’s integrated suite of applications allows franchisors to manage all aspects of operations, including Franchise Sales, Marketing, Financial Data Collection and Analysis, Royalty Invoicing and Automated Funds Transfer, Contract and Legal Document Management, Customer Relationship Management, Help Desk, Franchisee Support, Online Training, Supply Management, Marketing Automation, Email Marketing, Franchisee Websites, PPC and Adword Management, Social Media Management, POS Integration, franchisee onboarding, and more. For more information, visit www.franconnect.com, www.mycaptivate.com, and www.Zcubator.com.

FranConnect® Continues to Support Aurelio’s Pizza’s Efficiency and Performance

Solution Provider’s Franchise System Tools Helps Growing Pizza Franchise Maximize Resources

Reston, Va. – Aurelio’s Pizza, an iconic family pizzeria with 41 locations across six states, has entered its third year of partnership with FranConnect, the leading Franchise Management Solution provider, and is looking forward to adding further customizable solutions to continue to improve its franchise operations.

“In 2011, we were looking for a solution for managing franchisee information and came across FranConnect. It has been the best customizable system I have ever seen or used,” Chief Operating Officer of Aurelio’s Pizza Kirk Mauriello said. “We are ranked as one of the top 50 pizza franchises by Pizza Today and we only have six corporate employees, because FranConnect has allowed us to operate to maximum efficiency with the resources we have.”

Since becoming a FranConnect client, Aurelio’s Pizza has adopted the solution provider’s intranet, social media manager, Ad Builder, and PerformanceWise™. Based on the success that the pizza franchise has experienced with FranConnect, Mauriello said the company is looking forward to implementing more solutions in the future.

“While FranConnect offers many solutions, I liked the fact that we were able to choose the software that we needed to help us address issues specific to our brand.” Mauriello said. “Not only are we able to pick the solutions that we want, we’re also able to customize the tools. With PerformanceWise™, our auditors enter data into a standardized system, which automatically assesses the information according to qualities that we feel are important at Aurelio’s Pizza.”

More than 500 franchise brands benefit from FranConnect’s extensive knowledge of franchise technology and solutions ranging from data collection, information analysis, marketing automation, franchise management, and increasing franchisee engagement, to name a few.

Through FranConnect, Mauriello estimates that the company has saved around 20 hours a week that would have previously been spent on collecting and organizing data. In addition, the solution provider has helped the brand communicate to franchisees with more clarity. “FranConnect’s solutions have not only saved us time; we have also created accountability, because we are able to communicate with franchisees about how they are performing and where there is room for improvement,” Mauriello said.

With nearly 500 brands in its business portfolio, FranConnect is a thought leader that produces integrated solutions while advising on and implementing best practices for a dedicated and diverse list of customers. FranConnect supports franchisors across the entire franchisee lifecycle with a comprehensive solution that includes Captivate®, its franchise sales recruitment solution; franchise onboarding; franchise information management; PerformanceWise™, a franchisee performance and operations consultant improvement solution; financial data collection; royalty management; FranBuzz, a franchisee social network; franchisee intranet; online training; online help desk; and Zcubator™, an all-in-one franchisee marketing solution.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Kirk Mauriello and Aurelio’s Pizza for personifying the type of relationship that FranConnect is endeavoring to build with all of our customers,” said PerformanceWise President Rick Arevalo. “Kirk has illustrated the depth to which both parties have gone to create a lasting partnership where solutions are created, needs are met and measurable improvement is the result. In the case of Aurelios, Kirk recently co-presented a national webinar where he showed how Aurelios store audit summary scores went from an average of 75% to a significant increase of 86% in the span of one quarter! FranConnect will continue to work in unison with our customers/partners to create customizable solutions which have a direct impact on improving company specific metrics.”

About Aurelio’s Pizza
With a history as rich and entrenched in the community as the pizza it’s famous for, the very first Aurelio’s restaurant opened on Ridge Road in Homewood, IL as the pride and joy of Joseph A. Aurelio, Jr. who decided to give it a go as a restaurateur at the age of 26. With its legendary “old oven” dating back to 1959 in its Homewood location, Aurelio’s was a pioneer in the concept of the Family Pizzeria in the United States and helped to launch pizza into the American lexicon. Since that time, Aurelio’s has become one of Chicagoland’s claims to fame. And, transplanted Chicagoans all over the map have helped to bring their favorite pizzeria franchise to 41 cities across six states, growing a strong fan base for the taste of Aurelio’s. www.AureliosPizza.com.

About FranConnect, Inc.
FranConnect is the leading provider of Franchise Management Systems, with more than 500 brands and 70,000+ franchise locations – using the company’s comprehensive systems to establish, grow, and manage their franchise operations. FranConnect’s integrated suite of applications allows franchisors to manage all aspects of operations, including Franchise Sales, Marketing, Financial Data Collection and Analysis, Royalty Invoicing and Automated Funds Transfer, Contract and Legal Document Management, Customer Relationship Management, Help Desk, Franchisee Support, Online Training, Supply Management, Marketing Automation, Email Marketing, Franchisee Websites, PPC and Adword Management, Social Media Management, POS Integration, franchisee onboarding, etc. For more information, visit www.franconnect.com, www.mycaptivate.com; and www.zcubator.com

CEO Hiring Concerns: Shortage of talent among college graduates coming out into the workforce

FranConnect’s CEO, Amit Pamecha, guest blog post on CEO Blog Nation

FranConnect had one of its best years in 2013, and 2014 is looking to be even more promising, except for one problem we never expected – the ability to find and hire the most basic of talent.

We are a software products company and market leader for franchise organizations to manage and market their brand through cloud-based systems. As part of our commitment to our customers, we have always offered free dedicated Account Management and Support to our customers. To enable this, we try to hire people with analytical and problem solving skills – no prior technical experience needed.

Given our growth over the last few years, we are on an aggressive hiring spree. Unfortunately, given the abundance of government or consulting jobs in the Washington D.C. area, it’s very hard to hire employees with prior experience. So, about six months ago, we decided to aggressively hire college graduates and train them to become experts in our software and processes.

Over the last 6 months, we have placed recruitment advertisements with several different college campuses in the Washington D.C region, including: Virginia Tech, UVA, George Mason, George Washington, University of Maryland, and Northern Virginia Community College.

These jobs are advertised as Customer Success Managers and pay around 45K+ benefits. In essence, a job that carries a managerial title with a fast growing IT company with included benefits.

To our surprise, we have received less than 50 resumes combined over the last 3 months. Out of these 50 resumes, several of them belong to folks who have an accounting or liberal arts background, or lack the needed analytical skills for our industry. The most eye-opening concern with the lack of qualified candidates was that there were hardly any students with a Computer Science, IT or MIS majors who applied.

This result paints a grim picture of where we are headed as a country and how college students view IT as a profession. Here are my observations of what this means:

  • As a nation, we are more focused on developing football players than students interested in STEM skills as a career. Based on a recent article in Atlantic magazine, every school in the country has a higher budget for supporting athletics and sports than math classes.
  • For most children, it continues to be “uncool” to like math or science. According to my son, who is in eight-grade, it is not a good idea to talk about these subjects among his friends and others in school because you become an outcast the moment you mention these subjects. This societal mindset needs to stop immediately.
  • We are failing to realize that software tools aimed to enhance productivity have become an integral part of our daily life both at home and work. Yet, the employees needed to develop, maintain and support these tools are nowhere to be found. We talk about unemployment issues in the United States, but I’ve seen the exporting of millions of jobs every year to India, Ukraine and others places in the world where programmers and IT professionals are more likely to be provided with opportunity and be hired.
  • So, how do we alleviate these problems? Clearly, experts and academics have suggested dozens of approaches – from increasing focus on STEM fields, to teacher training, to competitions focusing attention on these fields at the high school level. My own solution is relatively simple: it is time to introduce a technology focused “Draft,” similar to a military draft. For this “Draft,” every college or high school student would be required to spend two years learning from a technology company, and even more so, spending time with companies that have exported millions of technology jobs to other countries. Once our American students see the comfort level of these jobs, they will want to acquire the necessary skills and insight during their “Draft” period education to then pursue fulfilling careers in the technology and STEM fields.

View the original link of Amit’s guest blog post here: CEO Blog Nation

D.C. Named Third-Best Growth Market for Fast-Casual Restaurants

From the Washington Business Journal by Rebecca Cooper, featuring FranConnect CEO Amit Pamecha:

The Washington region currently has the third-biggest growth market for quick service restaurants, according to an annual analysis from QSR Magazine.

The D.C. area actually fell one spot from its ranking last year, when it came in second among large markets in the magazine’s “Growth 40″ ranking. For 2014, D.C. came in behind Miami and Salt Lake City.

Part of the reason for D.C.’s ranking is the projected population increase — 10 percent during the next five years — and its per capita income, which is the fifth highest in the country, according to the study.

“While no market is recession-proof, the government’s presence in D.C. provides the metro area rare stability,” QSR wrote.

D.C.’s status near the top of the growth market is evident in the sheer volume of concepts opening in the area. Whether it’s Burger 21, Firehouse Subs, or Pie Five Pizza company, fast-casual franchises of every type are seeking space in the D.C. region.

But the economic picture is only part of it, said Amit Pamecha, founder and CEO of Alexandria-based FranConnect, which provides software services to 500 franchise brands around the U.S. D.C.’s hot retail real estate market is also making the area attractive to franchisees.

“We keep on building these suburban malls at a very fast pace, so now you can go all the way to Purcelleville, in Va, and be considered as part of the D.C. area,” he said. “All of this new construction is a magnet for the QSR chains.”

Those developments come with a built-in high-end client base.

“All the developers are planning these communities around this construction, which gives [restaurants] the ability to reach a high density of folks in a small area,” Pamecha said. “And most of them are highly paid professionals.”

The market for fast-casual has grown quickly in the D.C. area. The first year (2011) that QSR ranked the “Growth 40,” our region didn’t even crack the top ten.

Still, as more and more chains make their way into the region, Pamecha foresees a shakeout coming to certain segments of the market. Burgers — which saw another area competitor launch this week in CaliBurger — and frozen yogurt are two examples. With so many options, only the best concepts that remain innovative will make it over the long term, he said.

“It’s about innovation, about as an operator, can I bring products into the market that kind of go with people’s tastes,” Pamecha said. “If you haven’t created a strong fan following, like a Five Guys, your challenge is that eventually not everyone is going to pay $11 for a burger that they find indistinguishable from 20 other burger concepts.”

View this article online: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/top-shelf/2014/02/dc-named-third-best-growth-market.html?page=all

FranConnect Celebrates Outstanding Success in 2013, Reports 36 Percent Growth

Nation’s Leading Franchise Management System Continues Unstoppable Growth with Signing of Record Number of New Customers

Reston, Va. – FranConnect™, the number one Franchise Management System, closed out 2013 with 36 percent growth, capping off a year that saw continued expansion and success. With the signing of a record number of new clients, the franchise technology leader will help an increasing number of franchise brands drive higher performance throughout their organizations and facilitate improved operational efficiencies.

“For FranConnect, 2013 has certainly been an incredible year and we have much to celebrate as a company. We are excited to continue this momentum of success in 2014,” FranConnect founder and CEO Amit Pamecha, said. “We are passionate about helping great businesses build smarter franchise systems, and we are determined to help more brands move to the next level of their business by improving their operational efficiency.”

As FranConnect’s influence and positive results continue to impact the franchise industry, its value-add services continue to attract a growing number of major franchise brands, including Caribou Coffee, Pita Pit, BrightStar, Service Master, Merry Maids, Valvoline and many more.

With more than 500 franchise brands benefiting from its solutions, FranConnect is a thought leader that produces integrated solutions while advising on and implementing best practices for a dedicated and diverse list of customers.

FranConnect supports franchisors across the entire franchisee life cycle with a comprehensive solution that includes Captivate®, its franchise sales recruitment solution; franchisee onboarding; franchise information management; PerformanceWise,™ a franchisee performance improvement solution; financial data collection; royalty management; FranBuzz, a franchisee social network; franchisee intranet; online training; online help desk; and Zcubator™,  an all-in-one franchisee marketing solution.

“I’m really proud of the success and reputation that FranConnect has cultivated” said Keith Gerson, President of Global Operations for FranConnect. “Our clients recognize that we have cracked the code for what constitutes the best practices in franchising and have used those to create the definitive Franchise Operating System”. Gerson went on to say “Through word of mouth, we are attracting record numbers of franchisors that are looking at leading their franchisees to greater sales, profitability and satisfaction, and that’s what makes what we do a true calling”.

Marketing Technology Article by FranConnect CEO Amit Pamecha, Featured in Franchising World

Read our feature article in the December 2013 issue of Franchising World by CEO Amit Pamecha, on leveraging marketing technology and transparency to drive franchisee success.  Find out how to simplify marketing complexity and learn some of the best practices in marketing technology and automation.

Download the full color PDF here: Franchising World – December 2013: Leveraging Marketing Technology and Transparency to Drive Franchisee Success, by Amit Pamecha

Or view the text only version from IFA’s website