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7-Eleven scoops top franchise award

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Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has been named Established Franchisor of the Year in the MYOB Excellence in Franchising Awards 2009, scooping the top award for the second consecutive year. The network has more than 380 stores run by about 350 franchisees across the eastern seaboard and its success, said Geraldine Dzielakowski, accepting the award, is a result of the partnership with franchisees.

"I want to acknowledge the hard work day in and day out to bring it together," she told the audience at the gala event.

The awards ceremony took place as the culmination of the franchise sector's annual convention, held for the first time in Perth, and showcased a re-configured awards line-up which gave greater emphasis to the franchisees, the support roles within a franchise system and franchise involvement with the community.

Also awarded was lawyer and Franchise Council of Australia advisor Stephen Giles, who entered the franchising Hall of Fame.

The Established Franchisor of the Year was hotly contested with Mr Rental rewarded with a Merit certificate. Other finalists in this category were Kwik Kopy Australia and Snap-On Tools.

Taking the top slot for the Emerging Franchisor of the Year was casual dining chain Grill'd, which has been franchising since 2006 and works to a 50/50 model of franchised and company owned stores. A merit award was given to Ecowash Mobile; three other finalists were Matchbox, Club Financial Services and Appliance Tagging Services.

Like 7-Eleven with back to back wins was the partnership of Mark Maumill and Jason Love of Banjo's Bakehouse, who followed last year's Franchisee of the Year award with the Multi-Unit Franchisee of the Year award for 2009. Love said "it's been a big year for us, we've opened four new stores, increased admin resources, some fantastic people have entered, we've improved the culture and put an average spend policy in place."

He revealed the result of this in one store has been an extra $140,000 a year without an additional customer. The pair run nine franchises across Queensland and Victoria as well as their home base of Tasmania.

Competing brands for this accolade were the regional winners: Carolyn McManus of The Coffee Club, Bronwyn Butcher from Frontline Recruitment Group, Yes Optus North Sydney franchisees Stephen and Dearne Cameron, and Kylie Leopold and Karmen Wakelin of Endota Spa.

Ringwood-based Kwik Kopy franchisees Lou and Silvana Pannunzio were named Franchisee of the Year - two or more staff, fighting off competition from finalists Howards Storage World in Townsville, Mr Rental South West, Bakers Delight in Bondi Junction and Hotondo Homes in Bordertown.

Franchisee of the year - less than two staff, was awarded to Darren Andonovski of Mister Minit at Box Hill, who outshone fellow finalists Brett Hay of Expense Reduction Analysts, Paul Lanzon of ANZ Mobile Lending; Jock Dean from Outside Concepts Eastern, and Susan Sanday from Frontline Health.

Franchise Woman of the Year, Carol Jarred, has moved from being a Price Attack franchisee to South Australian master franchisee and now owns and operates the 124-outlet business nationally while still running her Indooripilly store.

The Coffee Club's Dan Gallo was named Field Manager of the Year; Maria Walton of Mister Minit won Franchise Executive of the Year; Leon Pike of City Farmers Franchising was recognised with the Contribution to Franchising Award; the Excellence in Marketing award went to Mr Rental and Donaldson Walsh Lawyers was named Supplier of the Year.

Gloria Jean's Coffees International scooped the International Franchising Award in recognition of its extensive overseas presence and the buy-out of the American parent company.

Two winners were announced for the Franchisor Social Responsibility Award: the Back in Motion Health Group for establishing its own not-for-profit charity, the SOS Foundation which is supported by franchisees; and Bakers Delight, which through its network donates more than $140 million worth of bread each year to charity.

The Franchisee Community Service Award national winner was Mortgage Choice's Greg Campbell for his work with children's cancer charity group, Camp Quality.

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