The 23rd bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year awards were held on 21 June at the Telford International Centre at the culmination of a glittering black tie dinner. Over 270 franchising businesspeople and experts attended the ceremony following a champagne reception.
With the room awash with tuxedos and flowing dresses, attendees enjoyed an excellent meal, accompanied of course by the requisite refreshments, as the industry came together from all corners of the UK to celebrate the best in the business.
Presenters on the night were bfa director general Brian Smart, HSBC head of franchising Cathryn Hayes and Ben Nealon of Express Newspapers; Sir Bernard Ingham, outgoing President of the bfa, also spoke on stage and received warm applause as he presided over the event for the last time.
As guests enjoyed their post-dinner drinks the Awards began, with the winners as follows:
bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Award
HSBC Franchisee Support Award
Express Newspapers Brand Builder Award
The successful franchisors were praised for being the most enterprising, ethical franchisors in the UK today, regardless of business sector or size.
Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, said: “Congratulations to all our exceptional winners. The judging panel was presented with outstanding examples of fresh thinking, brand development and franchisee support, confirming that it has been another great and innovative year in UK franchising. Now in their 23rd year, the Awards continue to inspire the next generation of franchisors and franchisees by highlighting the success and best practice driving our industry.”
bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Award
Gold – Autosmart
Autosmart is the largest manufacturer and supplier of professional vehicle cleaning products to the automotive trade in the UK. The business received the Gold Award for its commitment to investing in research and development in order to diversify its product offerings and cut costs. As a result, Autosmart saved its customers 30% in costs and still achieved record sales of £37.2 million, whilst maintaining the quality of its products.
Sophie Atkinson, managing director at Autosmart International Ltd, said: “Winning Gold in the bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Awards is fantastic motivation for our staff and franchisees who have all worked so hard over the past year to put us in this position. We have been franchising for more than three decades and are committed to adapting and changing our business model to meet the needs of franchisees, customers and the auto industry to provide the highest quality products and services whilst continuing to build on the efficiency of the business.”
Silver – Home Instead Senior Care
Home Instead Senior Care is the fifth largest care provider in the UK and offers a range of one-to-one tailored services and home visits for the elderly. The company’s vision is to lead a change in the way care is provided to the elderly across the UK and worldwide. Home Instead Senior Care was recognised for introducing high standards and personal touches to all its practices – from increasing home visit times from 20 minutes to an hour, to its highly selective recruitment process and in-depth training programme.
Bronze – Driver Hire
Driver Hire is the UK’s largest specialist transport and logistics recruitment company. The judges recognised that, as a result of diversifying its services to further support its franchisees, Driver Hire has now become the UK’s leader in providing the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) for HGV drivers and has trained 5,000 drivers within the first three months of 2012.
HSBC Franchisee Support Award - Auditel
Auditel is the largest cost and purchase management consultancy in the UK. The business was praised for its effective training programme and creating a co-ordinated suite of systems and tools, which saved time on administration and helped contribute to franchisees increasing their client list by 66%.
Cathryn Hayes, head of franchising at HSBC, said: “Auditel is a fantastic example of how implementing new and innovative financial tools and technology in line with the needs of franchisees can build up the overall business. As a result, Auditel has tripled its network of franchises over the past seven years, they've boosted their client list by 66 per cent and continue to provide strategic support to each of their 177 franchised businesses within this. Auditel are a prime example of a franchisor that is passionate about helping franchisees realise their dreams.”
Express Newspapers Brand Builder Award – Cafe2U
Cafe2U is a mobile coffee provider and the first franchise of its kind to take refreshment directly to its customers in remote areas such as business parks and industrial estates. 20 million cups of coffee are being consumed every day in the UK and Cafe2U has received the Express Newspaper Brand Builder Award for its success in bringing the premium coffee business to the workplace door, building its brand on high quality and reliability.
Sean Hammond, head of franchising at Express Newspapers, said: “Cafe2U has experienced huge success expanding the business into new markets across the world. First launching in Australia, the business successfully tapped into the growing coffee phenomenon in the UK and now the USA. The judging panel was highly impressed with Cafe2U’s investment in product offerings and its commitment to strengthening the brand – a well-deserved winner of the Brand Builder Award.”