The leading trade body for franchising – the British Franchise Association – recently announced the winners of this year's Franchisor of the Year Awards, sponsored by HSBC and supported by the Express Newspapers group. The winners of the awards were recognized at a lavish gala event last week in front of the UK's leading franchise business owners and experts.
The category winners included Autosmart (Gold), Home Instead Senior Care (Silver) and Driver Hire (Bronze) for the top-billing 'Franchisor of 2012' award. Auditel was also honoured with the HSBC-sponsored Franchisee Support award and Cafe2U won the Brand Builder category, sponsored by Express Newspapers.
The winners were announced at a glamorous dinner and ceremony at Telford International Centre and were selected after a prolonged and rigorous judging process. The wining franchisors were congratulated for being the most enterprising and the most ethical UK franchisors today, across a range of business sectors and sizes.
The BFA's Director General, Brian Smart, offered his congratulations to the 'exceptional' winners, saying the judges had been presented with 'outstanding' case studies and examples of innovative brand development, fresh business thinking and excellent franchisee support, marking yet another successful and creative year in the UK franchise industry. The awards are now in their 23rd year and they continue to inspire the current and next generation of franchisees and franchisors by celebrating and recognizing the successes and best practices driving and developing the franchise industry.
Let's look more closely at the winners and their stories of success.
Autosmart – Gold Category Winner of the HSBC/BFS – Franchisor of the Year
Autosmart is the UK's biggest manufacturer and supplier of high-grade professional vehicle-cleaning services and products to the automotive trade. The business won the gold award as a result of its commitment to investing in heavily in research and development, to successfully diversifying its market offer and to cutting operating costs. This programme of activity saved Autosmart's customers 30% in costs while achieving impressive – and record – sales of £37.2 million and maintaining product quality in the process. A real achievement and a very worthy winner!
Home Instead Senior Care – Silver award
This business is the UK's fifth-biggest care provider and it offers a range of home visits and tailored one-to-one services for elderly people. The company operates with a strong vision to revolutionise and change the way care is provided to elderly people in the UK and internationally. Home Instead Senior Care won recognition for introducing its high business standards and excellent personal touches to all services and practices – from increasing the length of a home visit to an hour (from 20 minutes), implementing a rigorous and selective recruitment process and developing its own advanced training programme for staff.
Driver Hire – Bronze
Driver Hire is another UK leader in its field. It's the UK's biggest provider of specialist transport and logistics recruitment. The judges were impressed by how Driver Hire had successfully diversified its market offering in a bid to support its franchisee network – becoming the UK's leading provider in CPC certification (Certificate of Professional Competence) for HGV drivers. It has also trained an impressive 5,000 drivers in the certification in the first three months of this year.
Auditel Wins Franchisee Support Award
Auditel won the Franchisee Support Award for its excellent training programme and creation of a co-ordinated and integrated system of tools and internal processes which cut down administration time and helped franchisees to grow their client bases by an incredible 66%. Auditel is the largest purchase and cost-management consultancy within Great Britain and its prospects seem excellent.
Cathryn Hayes, the Head of Franchising at award sponsor HSBC, said that Auditel was a superb example of how technology implementation and innovative tools for financial management could be used to develop the business overall and support franchisee development. She commented on how Auditel had managed to triple its franchise network within a mere seven years, boosting the client base by 66% in the process and providing high-quality strategic support to 177 franchise businesses. The business was further congratulated for showing true passion in helping their franchisees to achieve their dreams.
And last but by no means least, Cafe2U won the Brand Builder Award sponsored by Express Newspapers. A mobile coffee provider and the first franchise to take refreshments directly to the customer base in industrial estates and business parks, the brand is now gaining a valuable part of the burgeoning UK coffee market. The award marked the brand's innovation in bringing premium coffee and refreshment services directly to the workplace, providing reliable and quality products that customers were keen to return to.
Franchise Expo is delighted to read of these successes and would like to add our congratulations to Auditel and Cafe2U for their awards and the recognition of their peers. It's hugely positive for the franchise industry to see these success stories and mark the achievements of this valuable business sector. We hope that franchisees and potential investors will be inspired to add their own businesses to the winners list in future!