NAASF: Helping you Build Your Business
Over our 15-year history of serving Franchisees, it’s a question that comes up from time to time: What has NAASF done for me? Why should I become a Member?
This is by no means a complete list of items that NAASF has done, but it’s a start. Here are some of the things that your NAASF Board and Staff have worked on in the past, and what we’re working on now:
· NAASF Profitability Study
This study has been completed a few times. In the past, NAASF partnered with IPC and gathered data from a variety of Franchisees (anonymously) in order to gauge true Franchisee profit margins. The data from this study was then shared with the FAF and IPC teams so that decisions on promotions, advertising, and product could be made with Franchisees’ profit parameters in mind. Most recently, NAASF undertook the effort itself, in 2011, gathering 2010 data to update the information so that once again, decisions that affect you as a Franchisee can be made by those at the company using this as a guideline. NAASF is managed by a Board of Directors made up of Franchisees – and we know that profit margins have been shrinking in recent years. This study is our chance to show—using data—that decisions on promotions, advertising and the like have to reflect real-world bottom line information.
· Customer Experience / Tell Subway
A few years ago, NAASF developed a relationship with a small customer experience company. This company provided the ability to Franchisees to conduct quick and easy online surveys by their customers, using an incentive. The data gathered was then pushed to the Franchisee so that they could have real-time input from their Customers. This information enabled the Franchisee to react if necessary, making the in-store experience the best possible one for their Customers. In the beginning, just a few Franchisees signed on for this tool.
Eventually, this concept was shared with others within the Subway system, who recognized it as a valuable tool to improving the overall customer experience. Eventually, the process and method of gathering information was developed into the Tell Subway tool that exists today, which is used by many, many Franchisees in the system.
· Video Surveillance / Security
Back in 2007, NAASF formed a relationship with a company known as ezUniverse. They offered a product called ezConnect, which allowed Franchisees to have in-store video surveillance as well as other security tools. NAASF worked with this company for many years, offering reduced pricing to its Members.
Recently, the system has become part of the Subway surveillance tool, utilized by many Franchisees.
· Compliance and Evaluation Process
NAASF worked with members of the FWH Operations team on a survey that was sent to all Subway Franchisees in North American regarding their current impression of the evaluation process and ways that it can be improved. We received replies from over 3,100 stores! As a result of this survey, a new and improved Evaluation Form is due to be implemented later this year.
· Audits and Loss Prevention: Guidance on the Process
It’s a fact of life, death and taxes: sooner or later, you may be audited. In recent years, the uptick in audits being conducted of Franchisees has resulted in many folks turning to NAASF for guidance. They ask for help in completing the questionnaire, and in some cases, advice on how to respond to various queries made by the Audit Team.
To date, NAASF has been able to save Franchisees money by providing advice on how to respond to the Subway® audit process. NAASF Members know that this help is invaluable when it’s needed, and in some cases, the association helped Franchisees to hold onto their businesses.
· Smart Development
Over the years, NAASF has recognized the issue of market saturation and has responded in a variety of ways. We provided site analysis tools that Franchisees could use when they found themselves with another Subway® Restaurant opening less than 1 mile away. We have had Board Members serve on a Development Committee, providing input to the company on development situations from a Franchisee’s perspective.
Franchisees reach out to NAASF regularly for advice and assistance on site issues and we provide that guidance still today – helping to resolve these situations as equitably as possible.
· Legislative Information
As an association, one of our key initiatives is to maintain a role in small business legislation, keep you apprised of issues that may affect you as a small business owner, and provide the voice to your elected officials when necessary, on behalf of the Franchisee community. NAASF is currently a member of both the CFA (Coalition of Franchisee Associations) and the IFA (International Franchise Association) so that we are on the forefront of this news and information.
NAASF regularly provides news and information to Franchisees in the US on a variety of legislative issues affecting small business owners.
· Educational Webinars Specific to Subway Restaurants
Starting in late 2011 and continuing into 2012, NAASF began hosting a series of educational webinars to share information with Franchisees that help you to run the most successful business possible. Topics such as estate planning, corporate structuring, financial statement development and analysis, healthcare news and information – these are just some of the webinars that we provide.
· Operational Excellence / Small Business “Best Practices”
It might seem basic, but there are many tools and “best practices” that are out there that can help you to decrease your overall cost of doing business. As the Franchisee association of the Subway system, we have access to folks who have developed these tools within their own markets, put them to the test, and are willing to share the ones that work. It’s our goal to share these practices on a regular basis to make Subway the very best system it can be, for all of us.
· Participation on Equipment Advisory Committee
NAASF has had representation on the Equipment Advisory Committee (consisting of reps from IPC, FWH and the DAAC as well), for the past year. We have spoken to our Ambassador team about concerns relative to some equipment pieces and brought those concerns (e.g., touchless faucets, issues with toaster ovens) to the committee to be addressed.
· Standard Chart of Accounts and P&L Package
As a result of NAASF’s participation in the fall System Advisory Council/Strategic Planning meeting, we were asked to assist FWH with development of a standardized Chart of Accounts, with an ultimate goal of having a standardized QuickBooks package for use by all Franchisees. NAASF is currently working on providing this information and is a part of this project that should help Franchisees manage their finances more uniformly.
· Surveying Franchisee Community
As a regular course of business, your Franchisee Association surveys the Subway Franchisee community. Before we send a liaison to a FAF or IPC board meeting, we conduct a survey and bring the results to these groups so that your voice, your opinion, and your issues are made public and addressed.
NAASF also surveys the Franchisee community on other topics such as the Profitability Study, Insurance, Technology and on various other issues as they arise. We post the results to www.naasf.org and bring the results to the appropriate party(ies) so that the information is put to use.
· Information Sharing with other Subway Entities
As with our survey results, NAASF regularly shares information on issues with other entities within the system. If we hear from our Ambassador Team that there is an issue with a particular vendor, or with a piece of equipment, or perhaps with a piece of legislation that is pending that could affect the system, it is our job to bring it to others within the system so that we can all work together to respond and address the situation.
From time to time, the association will reach out to you to get your opinion on an issue; you, as the Franchisee and business owner, are the resource and you’re on the front lines each and every day with our customers. You know best what works and what doesn’t, and we need to hear that from you. NAASF, as your advocacy group, will take your input and develop a course of action on your behalf.
· Dispute Resolutions
Occasionally, Franchisees find themselves in a situation and call NAASF for assistance. There is a myriad of situations that Franchisees call NAASF to assist them with. Sometimes NAASF will offer to walk the Franchisee through the process as their “guide”; other times we will provide resources to assist the Franchisee or simply point them in the right direction. Whatever level of aid a Franchisee needs is identified by them and provided by the association, to the best of our ability.
At least once each year, NAASF holds a meeting for Franchisees. This meeting’s purpose is to provide a forum in which Franchisees can meet peers and share information, network, share business practices, and, from time to time, even have fun! The main goal of these meetings is for Franchisees to be able to take away meaningful, and proven business information and practices to help them run a successful business.
In 2012, the association held its annual meeting in May at the Paris Las Vegas hotel. The NAASF Franchisee Leadership Conference will offer opportunities for Franchisees to talk directly to professionals within the system who can provide guidance and advice on best practices, services offered, and much more. Registration for next year’s much-anticipated event at Planet Hollywood opens in early 2013.
· ReOrganization of Partners Website
The Communications Committee at NAASF assisted the folks at FWH in 2012 on the reorganization of the Partners web site in order to make it more user friendly for Franchisees. We worked closely with them to ensure that information that Franchisees need at their fingertips is easy to find so that you can spend more time running your business.
· New Equipment, Services for Franchisees
One valuable area that NAASF helps Franchisees is by sourcing out new products and services that could benefit the system. NAASF was in the forefront of the Tell Subway initiative as well as the in store surveillance, but we have also identified a company that could revolutionize the hand sanitizing routine of your crew members and we’re also looking into an antimicrobial product that could change the way you clean your stores and your equipment. Once NAASF conducts due diligence research on a company and the Board agrees that it would be a good fit for the system, we work with IPC and FWH to try to get the product and/or service introduced to the system for you.
· Member Resources include:
o Legislative information, webinars, and advice on how to reach out to your elected officials
o Best practice sharing via NAASF Webinars
o NAASF Health+ : a health insurance program for qualifying Franchisees and their crew members
o A NAASF Ambassador in each market (note some markets become open depending on Ambassador status)
o Loss prevention advice
o Compliance/Evaluation information and recommendations
o An Emergency Relief Fund to provide assistance to Franchisees in time of need
o Representation to other entities within the Subway system
o Advocacy on your behalf – we are your voice!
The NAASF organization, founded on the principles of being representative and accountable to all Subway® franchisees, has accomplished a great deal in twelve years of existence. Development of and participation in the Systems Advisory Council ("SAC") was the first priority of the NAASF. The Subway® system has a very unique structure by which the company's (DAI) goals and objectives are initiated and implemented. Having one council with representatives from the various groups ensures a unified focus toward growing systemwide sales and profits.
Franchisee Conference Held by NAASF
In November of 1999, DAI announced its acceptance of the model proposed by NAASF. The first Systems Advisory Council meeting was held in Milford at Subway® World Headquarters in January 2000. In April 2000, NAASF hosted Conference 2000, the first national franchisee conference within the Subway® system. This informative and educational conference was a big hit with over 2,500 restaurants represented and 110 vendors participating in the two-day trade show.
Most recently, NAASF hosts an annual Franchisee Leadership Conference and all Subway Franchisees are welcome and encouraged to attend.
One of NAASF's accomplishments was the production and distribution of the first official franchisee-targeted newsmagazine By the 'way. This colorful and informative magazine, which was a joint venture of the IPC, SFAFT and NAASF, brings Subway® franchisees current news and information relative to their business from a franchisee's perspective. By the 'way evolved into our current newsletter, NAASF Newswire. This publication was sent out each month to all Subway® franchisees and associate members.
NAASF is truly a positive force within the Subway® system. Working in partnership with representatives from DAI, FAF, IPC and Development Agent communities, NAASF endeavors to make the Subway® brand a true leader and model within the franchise industry in the 21st century. The strength of NAASF is within its membership base. To become a member of the NAASF, you must be a licensee of Doctor's Associates Inc.