How Planet Smoothie Gives Franchise Owners a Voice in the Direction of the Brand
Every Planet Smoothie Franchise Owner Has a Voice When it Comes to Vetting New Products, Marketing Plans & More as the Brand Continues to Grow
Franchise ownership isn’t just following a system. In well-run organizations, franchise owners are given a real voice in the direction of the brand. Through Franchise Advisory Boards, franchisees can give feedback on marketing plans, vet new products and weigh in on decisions. This feedback is crucial to maintaining healthy business relationships and it is often the sign of a mature system.
Nothing frustrates franchise owners more than not having a voice in decisions a brand makes that affect their daily lives. Planet Smoothie is committed to building long term positive relationships with franchisees and created a Franchise Advisory Board to help involve owners in decision making. The feedback from owners has been overwhelmingly positive!
We talked with Jonathan Goodyear, a seasoned Planet Smoothie franchise owner in Orlando about his role as a member of Planet Smoothie’s Franchise Advisory Board. Here’s what he had to say about the important role:
If you have to sum up the Franchise Advisory Board quickly, how do you describe it?
The franchise owners elect a group of people that represent them to corporate. When the corporate team introduces different marketing initiatives, or limited-time offers, they’ll pass those by the Franchise Advisory Board members to get feedback on behalf of the entire franchise group. Our input lets them know they’re on the right track for what the franchise owners have in mind. And once a year we’ll actually go out to Scottsdale, Arizona, to meet with corporate in addition to regularly scheduled conference calls to share our ideas, and provide input on the future direction of the franchise.
How important is it that the owners have a voice that is heard at the home office?
It’s extremely important. When corporate collects early feedback toward a particular vision, they find out if we think they may be stepping in the wrong direction and then make adjustments. And sometimes it’s just a matter of tweaking that idea or concept a little bit, in order to make sure the franchisees feel represented, and feel that their interests are being met.
What was kind of the trigger point to, “Hey, I think I’ll buy this business?”
It’s always sort of been my objective to own a franchise, as a business. We wanted to get into something simple, a type of turnkey franchise business. Planet Smoothie, it’s a very simple ingredient list. Getting started is easy, and we wanted to make sure it was something that we felt like we could handle before we expanded out. We were passionate about the brand, so it wasn’t like we were getting involved in something that we didn’t already at least understand from a product perspective. As a software consultant, I traveled all around the country, and I was a customer of smoothie concepts all around the country. I was a firm believer in Planet Smoothie as a product well before I bought the franchise. I had that confidence in the product.
You knew the corporate team from having them as client for your IT work; what was it like it be on the other side of the table, when they were engaging with you for training, for marketing, for all the things you had to learn?
It was great. They provide a lot of support, and one of the things when I decided to get into a business, the option is always do you start your own smoothie business, and do everything on your own, or do you become part of a franchise? And being part of a franchise was most beneficial, because they give you that support. You don’t have to create your own graphics, you don’t have to come up with your own smoothie recipes, so it’s great having a support system of people to help you run the business and allows you to focus on bringing customers into your store. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the operation.
If you were going to build the perfect Planet Smoothie franchise owner, what are some of the key characteristics that person is going to have?
Quite a few. You have to be able to think on your feet and tackle issues as they come up, because no matter how good a business you run, no matter how tight a ship, customers are going to come in, they’ll have a complaint or concern, and so you have to be able to be level-headed, and address their concerns, basically, and realize that sometimes you’re wrong. Sometimes you did make a mistake. You made their smoothie wrong. Something else happened. So being able to sort of react to that, and keep the customer happy, you have to be persistent.
You also need to take the time to build up that business. It starts slow, it starts going, you have to build up, and then build a customer base. People come in, they had a good time, so then they start coming back. It takes a while to build that up, though the long-term rewards will be great. It’s just something you have to stick with.
Planet Smoothie is a smoothie franchise that sets itself apart by offering great-tasting smoothies that use healthier, natural ingredients. In a side-by-side comparison, our smoothies generally have less sugar and fewer calories — a big competitive advantage as Americans actively seek out healthier options. Planet Smoothie is led by a veteran franchise team and dedicated brand support team as part of the Kahala Brands™ family.