JEFF a Spanish start up is now a global franchise that is transforming the franchise industry in over 40 countries. Users are connected via the JEFF app on a daily basis. Carlos Vidal is the Vice President of Enterprise (This includes the brands MrJeff, Beauty Jeff, Fit Jeff, Relax Jeff). He is an international expert in the franchising sector. Moreover, he has a strong business development and operations background. Throughout his career Carlos has been directly responsible for the development of more than 2,000 unit openings, the acquisition of over 300 new franchise partners and innumerable new market openings worldwide. In this interview, Carlos Vidal tells us about his super app JEFF.
Shortly after finishing my university and MBA degrees, I got the chance to join McDonald’s. There I started a 25+ year career in franchising from the ground up. It was a great school for this industry and a phenomenal company and pool of talent to learn and soak knowledge from. Throughout my career I have been lucky to work in several other leading multinational companies and deal with global brands in different industries. This includes, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, Pressto, Orangetheory Fitness and now Jeff.
Mr Jeff and the other brands from Jeff all have the same strategic approach. We go to an industry which is very fragmented, without a clear global leader, and is old fashioned and works with old principles. Then, we take it through a modernizing and updating process by building an efficient and profitable business model and fine tuning the know how. Most importantly, by adding digitalization and technology in several different ways all under one brand.
Mr Jeff is the name of our laundry and dry cleaning brand. It is supposed to personalize and embody the service supplier who takes care of your domestic laundry needs as if it was a real person at your service. As we developed other brands, they all keep the “Jeff” name as they are all part of a tech ecosystem which makes life easier and more comfortable to customers: Beauty Jeff, Fit Jeff, Relax Jeff.
The logo is simple and straightforward, just the brand characterization and the Jeff suffix. The simpler the better. You don’t have to remember the logo and the name of the brand as both are the same.
We have medium price positioning in all of our brands, and our objective is to provide a superior customer experience for an affordable cost. This is the democratization of personalized services, whether it is cleaning, fitness, beauty or wellness.
Retail is detail, and even more when we are talking about retail services. Having any retail operation experience is something that can make the difference between success and failure. At the same time, having a sensibility for understanding customers and customer experience is a must. An additional necessary skills for a franchise partner is people management. However something we do not require is previous experience in the industry, as we provide all the specific knowledge, processes and tools necessary to operate the business.
This depends very much on the market, specific store, location, etc., but most of all performance depends on the quality of the management of the business. As approximate averages, we target our business models to reach breakeven in a period anywhere from 6 to 18 months. We want the franchisee or investor to achieve an investment payback period which would range from 24 to 36 months.
The major challenge I have faced in my career has always been the temptation to stay in my comfort zone. It is nice to be in a large corporation for several years and have a well earned reputation and a safe position, but if you do not keep challenging yourself facing new challenges and situation, you run the risk of stagnation. I have always been more afraid of not growing than losing what I had, so in several occasions I made the move of changing company or even country. In all cases it has been the right move and not only something I do not regret, but I would do again.
When you look back at a long career in different major companies, the main achievement is having stayed consistent and worked hard to provide service. Being successful across different companies, industries, environments, cultures is quite an achievement. In addition, I have the opportunity to get to know some extraordinary people and personalities all over the world which in other circumstances I would have never met.
I am an early riser and savor my morning routine, which I keep changing and experimenting with. It always includes some kind of exercise, meditation and coffee. After that I am ready for battle and whatever the day brings!
The best moment is yet to come. It is not in the past, which would mean you are going downhill, but in the future because you are going upwards! It is a deliberate approach and mindset. Having said that, the people you meet along your professional journey, those who you are able to help and service, and those relationships that you are able to build and sometimes keep beyond a professional connection, that is what you take with you and what you remember overtime with a smile.
The vision for Jeff goes way beyond a successful brand. The objective is to become a global platform for customers to find a solution for their personal services needs and help them live the Good, Good Life. At the same time and from the entrepreneurs perspective, Jeff will be a platform where they will be able to find all the tools and services they need to build and operate their local successful businesses. To have all of that under one roof, integrating a wide variety of options and products to offer at a global scale, that is where Jeff will be in 5 years.
Franchising is a team sport. Franchisor is going to give you a brand, know how, tools, support, expertise, etc, but the Franchisee needs to do its part operating the business at high standards, knowing the market and the consumer. Long gone are the days in which having a logo on top of your door was enough to make a difference by itself. The customer is, and very rightly so, increasingly more demanding and at the end of the day the service factor makes or breaks it. Having the right expectations from Franchisor and not underestimating the Franchisee´s involvement is a good starting point for Franchisees to achieve success.
For any franchising queries, please visit Jeff Franchise.
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