What is in this article?:
- Auntie Anne's executive shares 'Be the Boss' experience
- Benefiting from television exposure
President and COO Bill Dunn says going on a reality TV show can benefit a brand only when the goal of the show lines up with the values of the brand.
Bill Dunn, president and COO of Auntie Anne's.
Benefiting from television exposure
How does Auntie Anne’s benefit from a competition show like this, in which your customers could watch and learn about the franchise side of the business?
The reality TV show has become more and more popular as time has gone on, and it’s important that when you make the decision to participate, you fully vet what the goal of the show is. Does it fit with your brand values? It’s extremely important first to confirm that it’s a fit for your brand.
For guests that come to our stores, the program shows them the amount of dedication not only from us as the franchisor but also within our employees, whose goal is to serve hot, fresh, golden-brown pretzels every time. They’ll see that our products are made fresh in the store every 30 minutes.
We’re the largest chain in the world at what we do, and we’re predominantly in malls and airports, but this gives us the exposure to folks around the country who might be unfamiliar with our brand. When they see our commitment to those contestants and the opportunity we present to them — I’m a believer that the American dream can come true, and we were able to meaningfully impact two folks’ lives, and that will last for a long time.
You also would benefit from potential franchisees watching the show, correct?
Yes. We continue to grow at a very healthy pace, and 2012 will be the best year ever from a unit-opening perspective. As we continue to grow, we need to find good folks interested in franchising with us. Franchise partners are out there, and they’ll think Auntie Anne’s is a great company because the show will help tell our story. We think we’ll get folks passionate about their life goals and looking for a partner to help them find the way.
Has Auntie Anne’s changed anything in its recruiting or training programs after participating in ‘Be the Boss’?
The show didn’t bring many changes, because our commitment always is to get better. The resources we put behind our franchisees to ensure their success are the same we do for the associates in our company … so I’m not sure my expectations of the two contestants were any different from other franchisees as we evaluated them through the competition.
This process in itself was a great interview process. We got to evaluate their work ethic and leadership potential and determine the best fit to be a franchisee. I would expect both folks to continue what they demonstrated in Lancaster, going through the process with the executives and me. Now it’s our job to make sure we’re providing them with the tools to grow, and as they enter a new stage in their careers, we need to teach them and lead by example and encourage them all the way.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: December 6, 2012 Because of a writing error, an earlier version of this article mischaracterized the majority of Auntie Anne’s locations as being in airports, when in fact Bill Dunn said the units mostly are in malls and airports.