Up close & personal: A day in the life of a Trainer
Donut King Product Specialist, Kristy Thornton, has a vision for franchisees to take their success to the next level, offering top quality training and development.
Adequate training and support is key when starting up a new franchise, as it helps to reduce any risks by providing a supportive environment where there are plenty of resources available and an encouraging community.
Having been in the industry for over 12 years, Kristy has seen hundreds of franchisees come through the doors of the Retail Food Group academy and walk out feeling empowered to take their franchise to new heights.
We recently sat down with Kristy to ask her all about what is involved in her day as a trainer, and some important facts for those wanting to get into franchising.
Q HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET INTO YOUR ROLE AS A TRAINER ?
A. Training has been a passion of mine for many years and I always knew that it was something I wanted to pursue.
I have always loved seeing the potential in new learners and passing on my knowledge and experience to them for their benefit. Each new franchisee has their own unique strengths and skills, and I have always found it so rewarding to see them flourish in their current skills, and also develop new ones.
After realising my love for all of this, I began to look into the necessary steps to make training a possibility, and before too long I was well on the way to following my dream. I began my journey as an Assistant Manager in 1994 at McDonald’s and worked my way up to a Restaurant Manager in 1999. From there I gained valuable experience at multiple large food chains, learning new skills and knowledge. During this time I learnt how to train and develop new employees, helping them to reach their goals and full potential. This experience opened up the door to become a New Franchisee Trainer at Retail Food Group in 2010, and since then I have never looked back.
Q TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHAT’S INVOLVED IN THE TRAINING SCHEDULE FOR NEW FRANCHISEES.
A. Every day is different as every franchisee is different, and we take them on a journey. Our training and development program covers all aspects of franchising and the ins and outs of owning a business.
It is both a theoretical and practical experience where new franchisees can learn about business skills, customer service, product, maintenance and much more. Throughout the training schedule I go through the ins and outs of Donut King products with new franchisees.
The aim of this is for new franchisees to learn the skills and techniques of creating the all-important Donut King products that are well-known throughout the country. My favourite part of the training schedule is seeing the difference between the first week and the last week and how far they have come.
Our new franchisees receive thorough training and extensive support so that they feel as empowered as they possibly can. It’s important that the environment is comfortable for learners and I always make sure that I am assessing their progress daily so that they are getting the most out of their training.
New franchisees should feel confident and competent with their newly acquired skills so we maintain an ‘open door policy’ with everyone.
Q WHY IS TRAINING IMPORTANT FOR NEW FRANCHISEES?
A. Training is very important for new franchisees as it ensures quality and consistency not only for their individual store, but also for all stores across the brand. Not only this but it ensures that franchisees have the confidence to pass along the right skills to their team and develop them also. Ultimately, training is important for both franchisor and franchisee in producing a successful business.
Q WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST LESSON THAT YOU HAVE LEARNT SINCE BECOMING A TRAINER?
A. Being a trainer has helped me to understand individual learning styles and facilitate these individual learning styles with the right communication.
Each franchisee is different and I’ve found that it’s important to realise that and harness the potential in each individual person.
Q HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A GREAT CULTURE IN YOUR TRAINING ACADEMY?
A. A great culture among trainers comes from being passionate about what you’re doing as it is infectious to those around you. We also love to focus on having a humble and approachable personality in the academy, making sure that any new learners can feel comfortable when asking questions. I encourage all of our trainers to lead by example and most of all, have fun in whatever they’re doing.
Q WHAT IS A KEY PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO BUY A FRANCHISE?
A. Buying a franchise is a big decision and there is always a lot to consider. A key piece of advice for new franchisees would be to be prepared to work hard and to be involved in all operational aspects of the business. New franchisees need to know that they will need to be quite involved in their business, including the set-up, training team members themselves and making sure it all runs smoothly, but the hard work and long hours will all pay off in the end.
Although owning a franchise is a big investment of both money and time, new franchisees need to remember that there is always support and an encouraging community behind them – that’s the great benefit of the franchising system.
Q WHAT IS A KEY PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO ANOTHER TRAINER WHEN IT COMES TO TRAINING A NEW FRANCHISEE?
A. A key piece of advice that I would give to another trainer would be to ensure that you are being adaptable to all learners. It’s also important to create a good working relationship with your learners and spend time understanding their experience. Understanding their experience will ensure that you are able to facilitate the best training to suit their specific learning style and ultimately help develop them to be the best that they can.