UK Franchisees Influence New Best Franchise Awards, Revealed by the Smith & Henderson, Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark

Smith & Henderson, a specialist franchise research firm, has announced today the winners of the inaugural Best Franchise Awards. This follows an industry-wide study of franchisee satisfaction, involving over 1,000 existing franchisees, to understand what franchisors best deliver on their promises, training, support, financial and non-financial rewards.

“With almost 1,400 different franchise opportunities available in the UK, prospective franchisees are faced with an overwhelming challenge when trying to find the very best franchise opportunities,” said Steven Frost, Partner at Smith & Henderson. “What makes these awards unique is they are based on what the real experts think – actual franchisees who work in those businesses day-in-day-out and their first hand experiences. The four franchisors recognised in this year’s awards are in an elite group and represent the very best franchise opportunities in the UK today.”

The industry-wide study of franchisee satisfaction, known as the Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark, involved gathering feedback from over 1,000 franchisees. Questions included everything from training and support, the actual franchise system, the relationship with their franchisor, the value of the franchise and ongoing management fees, and how the rewards on offer compared to their expectations. Franchisors from all corners of commerce participated, ranging from children’s sports coaching to business coaching; from lawn care to domiciliary care; and from retail to accountancy.

Presented with the awards were:

Overall Best Franchise: Puddle Ducks

Puddle Ducks provides baby and children swimming classes and has 19 franchisees in the UK. As the Best Overall Franchise, Puddle Ducks received the best overall feedback from its franchisees.

Jo Stone, Co-Founder said, “We commissioned the Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark survey to get feedback from our franchisees to see what improvements could be made to our systems, with no thoughts about winning awards at all. We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to win such prestigious awards amongst such tough competition. Winning the Overall Best Franchise is just fantastic endorsement from our franchisees that our training, systems and every other aspect of our franchise is of a high standard within the industry.”

Best Training & Support: TaxAssist Accountants

TaxAssist Accountants provide tax accountancy services and advice through over 200 offices in the UK and Ireland. Recognised as having the Best Training & Support, TaxAssist franchisees rated the quality of its initial training and support, head office, marketing and franchisee-to-franchisee support the best in the UK.

David Paulson, Franchise Recruitment Manager said, “At TaxAssist Accountants we have invested in the resources to provide training and the right level of support to ensure our network can build profitable businesses. Being recognised with this award and knowing it is the result of the opinion of our network is testament that our training works!”

Best Franchise System: Home Instead Senior Care

Home Instead Senior Care provides award-winning home care to elderly people, allowing them to stay in their homes for as long as possible. It has almost 100 franchisees in the UK and these rated its services, systems, brand and approach to innovation as the best in the UK.

Dan Archer, Marketing Director said, “We are delighted to have been recognised as a winner in the Best Franchise Awards 2011 – Best Franchise System. As the results of these awards were based solely on the Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark survey conducted amongst franchise owners from many established brands, we are very proud to be recognised as a leader in the eyes of our franchisees.”

Most Recommended Franchise: Puddle Ducks

94% of Puddle Ducks’ franchisees would recommend its franchise to a prospective franchisee – the highest in the UK.

Best Growing Franchisor (franchisors with 8-14 franchisees): Jasper’s Online

Jasper’s Online provides corporate catering throughout the UK. It was rated the best franchisor with less than 15 franchisees (a minimum threshold for entering the main awards).

Nathan Siekierski, Director, said, “Being able to compare your franchise model to the industry standard is something new and refreshing in the franchising world. Winning an award based on franchisee opinions is the icing on the cake and makes the hard work of the Jasper’s team worthwhile.”

Best Franchise Conference Seminars

As well as the awards, franchisors benefited from seven best practice seminars from:

  • Smith & Henderson
  • The Franchising Training Centre
  • O2
  • The Alternative Board
  • Puddle Ducks
  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • Coconut Creatives

These were attended by over 50 franchise professionals and designed to help them improve franchisee satisfaction and develop even stronger franchise networks. Matt Trevor-Roper, from Toni & Guy, summed up the day: “A fantastic opportunity to go behind the scenes and find out other businesses’ approaches to running a successful franchise operation,” while Dan Archer, Home Instead Senior Care said, ““A really valuable discussion of franchising best practice – book next year now!”

With a dozen additional franchisors already registered to participate in the 2012 Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark that did not take part in 2011, Smith & Henderson is on target for 80 franchisors to participate in 2012 as the programme becomes a key feature in UK franchising.