Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt incorporated in Oklahoma City in 2010 and they’ve been growing their brand nationwide even though they are a young franchise. It all happened when their current Executive Chairman of their board went from being a franchisee to the franchisor. Since then, they have over 200 locations in 38 states and one location in Mexico and they don’t anticipate on slowing down their growth rate any time soon. Kendall Ware, President and COO, and Daniel Rodriguez, Director of People Development, provided deeper insight to how they train their franchisees to ensure franchisee success when it comes to owning an Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt.
“Our brand is truly unique in the franchise sector our president and COO, Kendall, comes from the training track,” Daniel said. “He was a Director of Training in his past and it’s one of the reasons why we make training such a high priority.” After a franchise investment is made, the focus of training is not just how to make you a better Orange Leaf operator, but how to grow and personally develop as an individual.
Kendall’s experience with other brands, such as Cici’s Pizza, training would always revolve around what was relevant to the brand and created content around what the brand wants to do. While Orange Leaf does have that kind of training, Kendall saw the opportunity to offer more to franchisees as an individual to improve their knowledge base.
Once a potential franchisee decides to move forward with purchasing one of their franchises and sign the franchise agreement, they can start their onboarding process. From there, the new franchisee starts reviewing several key content items and spends a week at Corporate Headquarters (in the store and in the office) to learn different aspects of the business. This helps show them the brand’s culture and develop all the operational knowledge they will need. It’s also not uncommon for them to customize their onboarding training from skill assessments and personality tests so they can provide the best training each franchisee candidate needs based on their individual results.
For a lot of their franchisees, owning an Orange Leaf franchise is their first step into business ownership so it’s important they transition them well from worker to owner. Over the last year and a half, their team has really ramped up how they engage with their internal franchise community with their mobile app RemarkableMe. This app allows them add resources from various programs or providers, so they can share it in this system and can cover a wide range of topics. By providing a one stop communication shop, this has drastically help promote engagement within their franchisee network.
The other angle to RemarkableMe is that other franchisees can provide peer support and the team at Orange Leaf loves to see this happen on its own accord. It’s not uncommon for other franchisees to answer questions, provide advice or share insight before the corporate team has a chance to respond to a posted questions or thread. If the responding franchisee if forgetting anything, corporate still can jump in and add some more details on the question or discussion. Additionally, their app is setup to send push notifications which is one of the main reasons why responses happen so quickly, along with most franchisees always having their cell phone near them. Since there are so many features in their app, the franchisees and corporate team can easily link or upload documents from the training or marketing sections in their response. This app truly is a one stop shop for their franchisees.
In the bigger picture of operating an Orange Leaf location, they have sales team that conduct Guest Experience Reviews to where they evaluate each location from a guest experience standpoint, but also a brand perspective. On top of this, they also fund a mystery shop program, which can be insightful for locations if their customer experience reviews could use improvement and from a third-party perspective. Throughout the year, they hold four market meetings (usually once per quarter) and get a portion of the franchisees together by region and discuss upcoming initiatives and make sure everyone is aligned with future goals.
Lastly, they also do Field Training Workshops three times a year and topics can range from launching a new standard or introducing a product. On a weekly basis they also sent out their communication newsletter, The Swirl, along with monthly recap emails and three training call emails with each one having a focus point in marketing, training, and overall technology and POS (Point of Sale) and invites franchisees to call in or ask any questions on the emails sent. If that wasn’t enough, they also do monthly webinars and the topics vary depending on what’s happening that month.
In the future, they hope to create a database of resources to be accessed by team members of all levels and to make it become well known that if you’re part of the Orange Leaf team, you are going to be personally invested in and equipped with resources to continuously develop who you are and your skill set. They also hope this will add more value as many of their team members work on a seasonal basis and make their few months memorable, so they look forward to coming back or on their experience with this brand.
Overall, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt is extremely proactive with their training from the onboarding process into ongoing professional development. They have so many communication channels and resources available to their franchisees that we’re not surprised they continue to grow this brand at a fantastic rate. Training is key to make your franchise model a success and we think Orange Leaf has developed strong practices that can be admired by many brands.
About our Training Series
As part of our own expansion and growth, we’re excited to continue our training series. This series encompasses a wide variety of channel topics designed to help channel partners gain knowledge of successful business practices.
Craving more resources? Sign-up for our free Channel T.E.A. curated newsletter aimed at the three behaviors that differentiate high performing franchises from low: Training, Engagement & Analytics.