A franchise is nothing without its people

It's often said that a business is defined by its people - and a vigorous recruitment process is unquestionably an essential part of running a successful franchise, says Subway franchisee Rachel Shaw

A franchise is nothing without its people

We all want to build a profitable business but the secret ingredient for me has always been having great staff. There is, now more than ever, a high demand for outstanding customer service, great value and the perfect product, so it is vital to have the right people in place to be able to deliver this. There are many resources out there to help employers find the person who best fits the bill and over the years I have developed a recruitment model to help me find the very best staff for my stores.

To create awareness of available positions, I use the local Jobcentre, recruitment days, as well as advertising in the window of my stores. Once some interest has been generated for the advertised positions, I direct the potential candidates to the careers section on the subway.co.uk site. Here, candidates can find detailed job descriptions of available positions and apply by uploading their CV and completing an online application form. Candidates also answer a number of scenario-type questions to identify how they would react in a variety of different circumstances, from which a character analysis is formed.

When selecting possible employees, I look at a number of different factors including their travel distance to the store, availability, any previous work experience and their responses to the scenario questions completed during the application process. I think it is very important to give something back to the local community in which my stores are located by creating jobs and recruiting staff in those communities.

The next step in the process is the interview. I always like to invite people in person by telephone as well as confirm in writing the interview date – a personal touch can help reduce barriers and nerves from the applicant. It is also important to remember the interview is not only a chance for you to find out about the potential employee but for the candidate to find out what your business has to offer them, so you should always be well-informed and prepared for any of the questions that might come your way.

Once a training programme of up to 20 hours has been successfully completed, I will invite the candidate for a review. I use this to find out how they feel the training went and to determine whether we agree working in a Subway store is right for them. In the review, I reiterate the fact that this is a people business and that preparing a customer’s food is a very personal experience. Therefore, perfection is absolutely everything.

If the employee passes the training programme they are a permanent employee in my business. During the training programme, candidates also receive access to the University of Subway, which offers simple to follow interactive training and development for franchisees and their staff. All new starters are required to complete modules regarding health and safety, fire safety, customer service and bread baking. The tutorials are very educational – each module includes a short video of store procedures, after which they are required to answer a series of multiple choice questions. Each module lasts around 15 minutes and candidates can choose to complete these at home or in-store. I am able to log-in and monitor their progress at any time. This process follows the philosophy ‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.’

I run both my Subway stores with the ethos ‘a fresh appearance is always required to sell a fresh product’. I hope my ethos inspires my staff to always deliver the very best service that ultimately results in repeat custom. Having the right people working for or with me has made all the difference and, with the right recruitment process in place, I believe any franchisee can do the same.”

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