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Orange Leaf prepares its franchisees thoroughly with extensive training and support, he said.
“You’re being nurtured and cradled for six months or nine months, from the beginning of the process to the end, so that you should be comfortable with any situation that could arise.”
In addition to providing comprehensive manuals for such things as construction, training, and operations, “there is a construction manager, a warehouse manager, training manager, marketing manager, and all of them are calling you every day asking how it’s going,” Pierre said.
He and his manager spent four days in Oklahoma City to learn the administrative side of running the business—duty lists, checklists, spreadsheets, etc.—as well as working in a store to learn practical operations procedures such as making the product, disposal, and cleaning methods.
Once construction of a unit is completed, an Orange Leaf field operations manager comes in and goes through a checklist prior to opening.
“Then they do a soft opening. You just open your doors to whoever is walking by. That gives you an opportunity to get comfortable and for your staff to get comfortable.”
Community involvement is crucial in any business and it’s no different for an Orange Leaf proprietor, said Pierre, who considers marketing to be his bailiwick.
He receives copious materials and support from corporate for special promotions such as the introduction of a new flavor or celebration of a certain holiday, he said, and brand awareness is built through the company’s website as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts for individual franchisees.
On the local level, Pierre is a Rotarian and sits on a number of boards, including one for the local public television station. He also works with children with disabilities. Recently, he acquired a promotional vehicle in which he transports the children to the shore for a beach day before bringing them back to his store for a frozen yogurt treat.
Orange Leaf franchisees are encouraged by the corporate office to be involved in their communities, particularly with local schools. Pierre supports local sports teams and holds a “charity night” in his stores every Tuesday, donating a percentage of sales for the evening to an organization such as a school student council or church group, which help provide a steady of flow of customers for the evening.