Baker’s Delight wants 100 Gen Y franchisees by 2011 despite franchisee recruitment struggles

Baker’s Delight is embarking on an ambitious drive to recruit over 100 new franchisees in the next six months to combat a fall in applications, the company has announced this morning, with Generation Y set as a key target.

The company references data released by the PricewaterhouseCoopers Franchise Sector Indicator, which recently found that 97% of franchise systems believe the dropping volume of enquiries is one of the biggest challenges threatening their business.

Baker’s Delight general manager Chris Gurney says it’s difficult to pin down exactly where there has been such a fall in applications.

“It’s hard to say what the mean reasons behind the drop off in applications are. Part of it may be that there is less certainty of the economic situation with the GFC, although things have picked up.

“I think it may be that with younger people there is a lesser level of commitment to long-term business objectives, and that could be part of the reason we’ve seen a drop in younger applicants.”

But despite that assessment, Generation Y is exactly who Baker’s Delight are targeting. The Fresh Franchisee program will see the company find younger prospective business owners who can replace some of the older franchisees, who Gurney says are beginning to sell off their businesses and scale down.

“But those characteristics of commitment, and so on, I certainly don’t believe they apply to everybody in Gen Y. I think people tar Gen Y with one or two attributes and then say, “well, that’s all of them”, but that’s clearly not the case.”

“There are large numbers of Generation Y that have similar attitudes to work and career that any other generation have had, so it’s just a matter of finding the right people, putting them on a path and then pushing them forward.”

The program is off to a slow start – Gurney is only 38 franchisees strong with a goal of reaching 100 by the end of the financial year. But he says that even though the company is below target, “we’re confident of getting close by the end of the financial year”.

But what would attract Generation Y to such a business venture? Gurney says the challenge for the company is creating new opportunities that keep them focused on long-term businesses opportunities, and making sure they don’t lose sight of the end goal.

“The challenge is keeping that level of enthusiasm high, and making sure we give these franchisees that opportunity in the years ahead. We want to be focused on the connection that our franchisees get from our training department and our mentoring.”

Gurney points to the PwC report, which shows that over 62% of franchisors haven’t made any sort of initiative to attract Gen Y, saying this is a market that is filled with prospective business owners.

“Our franchisees are buying into the idea more and more, because we’ve got a lot of people who have spent 10-15 years doing these businesses, and consequently they want to move on. They see the program as a good opportunity to train up people to get into the business.”

“The challenge with dealing with Gen Y is the same as any other – make sure they do the training and stay focused on the end goal.”

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