(Ambrosio’s note: This is the second part of our Fro-Yo Files feature on Michael Mudd, Franchise Development Director for Menchie’s. Fro-Yo Files is an exclusive bonus series, updated weekly, for Platinum subscribers of Franchise Chatter.)
Setting Up House: Site Selection and Employee Training
Menchie’s also has “platforms for locations, for identifying and negotiating the right lease deal” when it comes to renting store space, though “the franchisee is ultimately responsible” for the choice. Ideally, a store should be 1,200-1,600 square feet, and highly visible in a place where the traffic pattern is 20,000 cars per day. It should be in a “community-driven area, with proximity to schools and families.” Menchie’s seeks to “play off co-tenancy”; ideal neighbors are movie theaters and restaurants. The company has a master real estate broker as well as local real estate agents, who do a “market tour” and “due diligence” with “analytical studies on unit volume, comparables, and core customer counts.”
Menchie’s recommends two team members per shift, for whom it’s developed tools, job aids, and DVDs. “There’s an appropriate way to cut a mango,” Mudd says, noting the importance of “visual display.” If, for example, a mango is cut improperly, it’s not going to have any aesthetic appeal. “Toppings are critical” in enchanting customers, which is why Menchie’s uses a “vertical topping display” in which ingredients are visible and cleanly separated from one another. What you want to offer is a “kid-in-the-candy-store experience” through a beautiful presentation.
Ongoing Support and Communication
Franchisees are kept in the loop — a very tight loop — on a permanent basis. Area leaders in charge of quality control and maintaining the brand check in with franchisees every six weeks to make sure “units are performing to the utmost of their ability” and are at least hitting the “benchmarks of the system average.” “Area managers are seasoned franchise operators,” Mudd says. Having worked at chains such as Panera and Burger King, they have the experience that only comes with having gotten “grease under their nails.”