bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Awards 2014

Supported by Express Newspapers

Autosmart's Sophie Atkinson, Chris Ashton and Martin Jeffers collect the top award in UK franchising - again! The company took home two accolades on the nightAutosmart was celebrating once more after being named Franchisor of the Year 2014 and also picking up the Franchisee Recruitment Award at the bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Awards, supported by Express Newspapers, held at Heythrop Park at the end of June.

It’s the third time in the last six years that the business has taken the top accolade in UK franchising, previously winning in 2008 and 2012. In a challenging market, Autosmart impressed judges by continuing to break their own sales records and maintaining the highest franchising standards, with exceptional recruitment processes and outstanding ethics, innovation and investment in its franchisees' success.

Marking their 25th anniversary, this year’s awards welcomed new categories to highlight the diversity of franchising in the UK. The following franchisors took the honours:

bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year: Autosmart

Franchisee Recruitment Award: Autosmart

Emerging Franchisor of the Year: Right at Home

Award for Innovation: Chemex

Brand of the Year: Kumon

Award for International Achievement: Pirtek

Right at Home, led by former Franchisee of the Year Ken Deary, showcased an unerring ethos of care quality and extraordinary franchisee results; Chemex triumphed over two globally-renowned brands for innovation after its directors set up a pilot franchise themselves and remodelled the business; Kumon demonstrated how an established brand can transform itself and its network sales in the modern digital landscape; and Pirtek’s devotion to its international markets included senior staff learning new languages to immerse themselves in local culture.

Autosmart franchise director Michelle Williams said: “Receiving our fifth and sixth bfa awards since 2008 means so much to us and our network of franchisees. We have been working very hard for the past year on maintaining our high standards, whilst driving sales and putting franchisee profitability at the heart of everything we do. The awards are a testament to the hard work that our head office team and our franchisees all over the country put into driving the company’s success, and we’re very happy and proud to have been recognised for our efforts and ethics.”

Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, commented: “Over 25 years, we have seen the nation’s finest franchisors honoured at these awards. This year’s entries continued that fine tradition by showcasing an overwhelming level of commitment, drive and diversity. The judging process is always difficult and this year was no exception, with the winners continuing to challenge the high standards set in previous years. Seeing franchisors from such a diverse range of sectors come together to celebrate their achievements is inspirational, and highlights what is possible by expanding through ethical franchising.”

Cathryn Hayes, head of franchising, HSBC, said: “Communication, strategic planning and the implementation of development plans, are all crucial to being a successful franchisor. We have seen these skills demonstrated in abundance by the winners of this year’s awards. The level of enthusiasm, passion and creativity demonstrated by this year’s franchisors operating in challenging markets has been fantastic. We have been particularly impressed with how these winners have supported their franchisee networks, implementing smooth recruitment processes, and showing a high level of care above and beyond the expected.”

Fellow judge Sean Hammond, head of franchising at Express Newspapers, added: “Every year we are overwhelmed by the sheer levels of dedication demonstrated by the finalists during the judging process. The winners are truly trailblazing in their sectors and are great representatives of successful British franchising. The new award categories have enabled us to recognise the new and innovative ways franchising is developing both in this country, and overseas.”

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