Australian technology platform, Op Central, has announced a $2 million System Relief Fund for franchise and multi-site businesses doing it tough during COVID-19 – providing critical support services free of charge to both business owners/operators and employees.

With almost 9,000 businesses onboard in 37 countries, Op Central is a cloud-based platform that provides a wide-ranging suite of services to manage internal communications, online training, compliance, remote site audits, standard operating procedures and staff check-in surveys. The rapidly growing Australian software company has never been more important to its clients, experiencing a record spike in usage since the onset of COVID-19. Time spent on the platform has surged 718 percent in recent months as franchisees strive to operate their businesses safely, effectively and in line with varying restrictions in different states.

Op Central’s $2 million System Relief Fund provides free services – valued between $4,000 and $80,000 depending on the size of the business – allowing businesses to join with no setup or migration fees, and no licensing fees until March 2021.

“Franchise businesses have been pushed to the limit by reduced revenue, forced closures and trading restrictions. We feel a moral obligation to help these businesses now when they need us most,” said Op Central Managing Director, Josh Cairns.

This announcement is particularly timely in Victoria with trading now expected to be heavily restricted until the end of November, meaning many retail, hospitality, real estate and fitness industry businesses will miss part of their busiest time of the year.

Aaron Smith, Founder of KX Pilates, said the initiative will offer significant assistance to franchisors and franchisees during this time of reduced revenues and increased restrictions.

“It’s vital that franchisors support their franchisees during this difficult time. Op Central’s relief fund means that despite reduced revenues, our Head Office Support Team can continue to communicate with, train and support our studio owners, ensuring that they still get all that they need to operate safely and effectively in their communities,” he said. 

In Australia, Op Central’s clients span some of the country’s best-known brands across retail, hospitality, beauty, fitness, healthcare and accommodation, including Amcal Pharmacies, Baby Bunting, The Cotton On Group, Snap Printing, Spudbar, The Cheesecake Shop, Bedshed, Barry Plant Real Estate, Bounce Inc and KX Pilates.

For further information on the relief fund, eligibility criteria for businesses and to apply, visit: www.opcentral.com.au/franchise.