Maintaining a strong and vibrant franchise sector

Franchise Council of Australia

This article appears in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand

Maintaining the vitality, strength and financial viability of the Australian franchise sector is in the best interests of not just Australia’s 1160 franchisors and 79,000 franchise business units, but also the wider economy which benefits from $144 billion sales turnover generated by the sector.

With that in mind, a key focus of the FCA in 2015 has been to continue fostering an understanding of the economic importance of having a strong franchising sector in Australia among consumers, governments and the business community.

A voice for the franchise sector

Throughout 2015, the FCA has provided a voice for the sector to political decisionmakers and influencers on a range of legislative matters.

The year began with the implementation, after much consultation, of the new Franchising Code of Conduct, which came into force on 1 January 2015. The new Code enhances protections to both franchisees and franchisors in their dealings with one another while continuing to assist in providing credibility for the sector as a whole.

While the regulatory framework provided by the Code is one of the key reasons behind Australia’s thriving franchising sector, franchising is also impacted by a variety of other laws. The FCA has been working throughout 2015 to ensure the contractual regime that underpins franchising in Australia is not adversely affected by any new laws, such as proposed legislative changes to unfair contracts legislation.

The FCA will also continue to work with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Australia to ensure that the franchising sector undertakes best practice in workplace relations. We support the implementation of higher penalties for those who have been found to breach workplace laws.  This is in our interests as a sector committed to best practice – and it ensures that our members can compete in a business environment that is a level playing field.

The FCA’s efforts have also included promoting a better understanding of franchising to decision makers and influencers, and communicating that, although franchising is a collaborative relationship, the division and separation of responsibilities between franchisor and franchisee is at the essence of successful franchising.

The core of franchising’s success lies in the collaborative relationship between franchisor and franchisee. Underpinning this, however, is a franchise business model built on independence. Franchisors provide support and guidance to independently owned and operated franchisee businesses. Independence is at the heart of the franchising business model, and is a big part of why franchising is so successful. Improving the understanding of franchising in this context will be a key focus of 2016 and beyond.

Promoting best practice franchising

In 2015, the FCA has also celebrated and promoted best practice franchising through a number of initiatives.

In February, another strong contingent of franchise professionals joined the FCA’s delegation to the International Franchise Convention 2015 in Las Vegas – an invaluable learning experience for all who attended.

Across the year, the FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards provided an opportunity for franchise professionals to gain recognition for their successes, culminating in the announcement of the national winners at the MYOB FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards gala dinner on the Gold Coast in October.

We also saw the continued growth of the Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) program, the only internationally recognised professional accreditation program for franchise executives. Eleven Australian franchise professionals gained accreditation in 2015, and there are now more than 40
Australian franchise professionals currently participating in the CFE program. Their dedication to continued learning and best practice is to be commended.

Finally, the successful National Franchise Convention 2015 on the Gold Coast in October provided a fantastic opportunity for attendees to hear from and ask questions of prominent franchise professionals and take learnings back to drive continual improvement in their own franchise businesses.

Celebrating successful franchisees

The MYOB FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards are an unrivalled opportunity to showcase the amazing work being undertaken within Australian franchise systems, including by franchisees, franchisors and their head office staff.

A big congratulations to all the winners and finalists at the 2015 Awards. These awards are an acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication of each and every winner and finalist. Successful, motivated and profitable franchisees are the cornerstone of a successful franchise system, and the FCA is proud to recognise through the Awards the vital contributions that franchisees make to the franchising sector, their individual systems, their business and their communities.

Franchisees who won National Awards in 2015 included Irene and Ian Hughes of Poolwerx (WA) who were named Multi- Unit Franchisee of the Year; Britt and Ben Diggins of Bakers Delight, Sturt Mall, Wagga Wagga (NSW), who took out the Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, two or more staff award; Brent Giblin of Mister Minit, Shellharbour (NSW), who won the Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, less than two staff award; and Alexandra Lincoln, John Bleakley and Kim Taylor of PRDnationwide Real Estate, Toowoomba City (QLD) who took home the Franchisee Community Responsibility and Contribution award for 2015.