Each year Mrs. Fields participates in the TopFranchise.com franchise satisfaction survey, where an anonymous poll is done of over 500 franchisees in various franchise systems across Australia. Mrs. Fields has always been ranked in the top 10 systems by overall franchisee satisfaction.
We consider that our greatest testimonial, but here are a few stories form our franchisees.
MRS. FIELDS DONCASTER, MELBOURNE
April 2009 was a big month for Melbournian Stephen Phillips, he had two babies!! In a tight race the first to arrive was his brand new Mrs. Fields store at Westfield Doncaster, followed closely by his first son Jack.
“Both were very exciting, but at least I could leave the hard work of the second birth to my partner Di” laughed a now relaxed Stephen.
After many years of working as an employee in shoe retail during the day and playing in a cover band at night, Stephen carefully researched many different franchise opportunities. “Perhaps with a family on the way it was a sense of needing to grow up, but I realised it was time to do something for myself. I found food franchises generally less expensive than bulky goods retailing to set up, and as the recent financial crisis has proven, we all still like a treat!!”
“I did not know a lot about Mrs. Fields but the simple product preparation, baking from frozen, was attractive to an inexperienced baker like me. The fixed price investment offered by Mrs. Fields also made it easier to organise finance and plan my investment upfront.”
Opening in an existing shopping centre has it’s own challenges as you make people aware of your arrival and train them into coming to your store. Stephen has utilised a number of different promotions from the Mrs. Fields marketing program including running “$1.99” Cookie Day, Shopperdocket and Welcome Pack promotions.
“It has not been easy and we had a big start with the two new additions in a month, but he Mrs. Fields support team are great to get a long with and I look forward to a great future.”
Stephen is planning to get married next year, something he only wants to do once!
YEQIONG (TRACY) LIANG
MRS. FIELDS QV URBAN, MELBOURNE – AUSTRALIA
It was a very big step for me to move to Australia in 2006, leaving behind my husband and 7 year old daughter JiaYu Wang in Shanghai for a country where I had no family and few friends. However my husband and I were keen to find a better environment for JiaYu to grow up and become educated.
I arrived in Melbourne looking for a business to meet my Visa requirements and to work towards permanent residency. After careful evaluation I chose a new career and business in Food Retail. This was a complete change from my past experience in office roles with large companies. However on examining my skills I realised that my written English and technical knowledge of the Australian regulations would not make me successful in a business based on these skills such as importing or accounting.
Food is a low risk business as it is always in demand and I liked the Mrs. Fields store at QV because it was small and easy to operate. Initially I had not considered buying a franchise but I’m glad I did. The friendly support team have taught me a lot about business and how to be successful, and my sales have grown by at least 20% per annum since I took over and we continue to set new records.
Initially my spoken English was not strong and one of the best pieces of advice I received from the support team was to recruit some multi lingual team members to help with communication between suppliers, customers and other team members. They also extended my training time to give me an opportunity to improve my communication before taking over the business. I’d have to say they have been very patient with me!
Business in Australia is very different, however I love retailing as it is all about serving customers and learning how to communicate effectively with them in English. Having the support of a good franchise system has really made it easy, and I now look forward to the time when my family can join me in this great country.
PUNEET AND KAVINA BARDOLIA
MRS. FIELDS CARINDALE, BRISBANE – AUSTRALIA
Puneet and Kavina Bardolia purchased Mrs. Fields Carindale in 2005 from fellow Zimbabwian Mahomed Ismail. Mahomed still runs Mrs. Fields in the Brisbane Myer Centre today.
“Having recently arrived in the country we were looking for a business that was easy to operate and uses the retail skills we had built up in our own businesses” states Puneet. “Seeing that other people in our community were able to make a success of this business was a great reassurance.”
The Bardolia’s have worked hard making the business a success and it has allowed them to purchase a home and settle their young family into the Australian way of life. They have not found it difficult to combine business and family life, often taking turns to be in the store or looking after the children. “It is great that one of us can meet the children after school, rather than have to work job hours” laughs Kavina.
Certainly one of the keys to the Bardolia’s success and the continued strong sales growth of the business is their light hearted nature and the sense of fun they have with their customers. “They come to us for a treat, so a big smile just adds that personal touch” says Kavina.
STEVE, VALERIE, KATE AND SARAH BENSEN
MRS. FIELDS MT OMMANEY, BRISBANE
Sometimes you just have to do it! That is the motto for Steve Bensen and his family. Steve had been a fan of Mrs. Fields cookies for many years, often making the hour and half trip from Toowoomba to Mrs. Fields Pacific Fair to buy some cookies. “They never made it home again” raves Steve.
After 12 months of working with the franchisor to try and find a good location in Toowoomba they had no success. “There is always a location available, but it has to be the correct one and Mrs. Fields were right onto that.” So when his daughters agreed to run a store in Brisbane for him he dived into the new Mrs. Fields opportunity at Mt. Ommaney shopping centre.
“It was an untested location in a new part of the shopping centre, however it ticked the boxes for Mrs. Fields, right outside a new Target and it will be at the end of the ladies fashion precinct when the centre is finished.” ,” he commented. “That was enough for me, sometimes you have to stop the analysis, or you end up with paralysis – just do it”.
Luckily for Steve & Valerie much of the doing is done by daughters Kate and Sarah, although he has been known to be deep in the sink washing dishes on busy days. This has left them clear to be focused on marketing and building relationships within the centre. “Shopping Centre staff personnel are our captive market, but you need to build, and maintain good relationships with them. If you can achieve that then they will not only make their daily purchases from you but also refer on their customers. Signing them up to the Mrs. Fields Cookie Club is a great way to do this and then it is easy for them to receive national promotions as well as personal mail from the store.”
“One of the things that attracted me to a Mrs. Fields franchise was the opportunities for the future. It is a great product and there is just so much more that can be done. The Mrs. Fields support team is always willing to listen to a new idea, and let us experiment with trying a few different concepts. I’m currently working on sending cookies to our troops overseas; problem is they never make it from the store to the post office!”
No early start – easy preparation
Low investment costs
Strong, well established brand
Excellent ongoing support