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Community Involvement is Key
In addition to special promotions, Orange Leaf franchisees are encouraged to be involved in their communities, particularly with local schools. And rather than just give cash donations to various organizations and charities, the franchisees are encouraged to hold special events that draw customers to a location and help promote the brand.
Often franchisees will hold a “give back night” at their outlet during which they donate a percentage of sales for the evening to an organization such as a school student council or a church group, he said. Members of the organizations are encouraged to get their friends and family to come to the store for a frozen yogurt treat.
Such events are usually planned for a Monday night to generate traffic for the owner on a day when sales are typically lower than other weekday nights. The corporate marketing team will even design a flier to promote the event that members of the benefiting organization can distribute in their community.
“It’s a chance for us to win over new customers as well as help the community,” Provenzano said.
Franchisee Best Practices
Another successful marketing effort was instituted by an individual franchisee and has spread as a best practice throughout the Orange Leaf system, Provenzano said.
The “Ounces for A’s” program rewards students with free frozen yogurt when they bring their report cards in to be stamped at their local Orange Leaf store. The children are given a certain amount of free yogurt for every A they earn. Because they often are accompanied by their parents and siblings, the franchisee increases sales from the paying customers who tag along with the student.
“It’s a unique marketing strategy and kids love it,” Provenzano said. “We’ve reached out to an entire household by giving away a few ounces (of yogurt) for a kid who has done well in school.”
Among some of the best practices Provenzano has learned from franchisees in the Orange Leaf system is to focus on hiring the right employees, who typically are high school or college students. He suggests hiring the active student who might be involved with his or her student council and church group — an individual who is people-oriented and going to interact with customers by asking them their favorite yogurt flavor, finding out where they are from and how often they visit the store.
Plus, the students can help leverage a franchisee’s involvement with a particular school and be a draw for their peers to come into the store as paying customers, he said.
Franchisees who can articulate the Orange Leaf mission and philosophy and instill it in employees will also have the most success, Provenzano said.