By Aimee Chanthadavong

The Franchise Council of Australia honoured franchising’s best and brightest at the NAB FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards Gala Dinner on the Gold Coast.

FCA chairman Michael Paul said the awards are a terrific opportunity to celebrate some of the amazing work being done in the franchise sector.

“The finalists, regional winners and national winners acknowledged tonight showcase what a truly robust and thriving sector Australian franchising really is,” he said.

“Despite economic hardship and political uncertainty in recent times, ours is a sector that continues to grow, and with proven systems, established brands, and constant innovation, franchising continues to be the intelligent choice for small business owners across the country.”

Taking out the top gong was Specsavers which was named ‘Established Franchisor of the Year, as well as ‘Australian Retailer of the Year’ and ‘Australian Retail Employer of the Year’. The company was also awarded 'Retailer of the Year' earlier this year at the 2013 Australian Retailer Association Australian Retail Awards.

Specsavers global retail director and Australian general manager, said it was an incredible win and a testament to its teams’ hard work.

"The award criteria were focused on systems and franchise leadership, as well as depth of support levels for franchisees, so to win this is also a great testament to how well we work with our partners,” he said.

“The ‘Excellence in Marketing’ award is a perfect example of the lengths we go to in our supporting role, executing great campaigns that are embraced by consumers, leading to continuing sales growth and very happy customers.”

Health and fitness franchise Plus Fitness took out ‘Emerging Franchisor of the Year’ at the event. Franchisors John Fuller and Nigel Miller, who have opened four new clubs this week, said the awards process helped them understand where their focus needs to be in a rapidly growing business.

“We have 82 franchisees with 69 clubs open – which will actually be 73 as of tomorrow. Our franchisees will be just over the moon about this award,” they said.

Other winners of the night included:

  • Multi-Unit Franchisee of the Year – Caroline and Paul Attard, PoolWerx
  • Franchisee of the Year, two or more staff – Anthony Hamod, Fastway Couriers Wollongong
  • Franchisee of the Year, less than two staff – Tim MacKinley, Appliance Tagging Services Aspley
  • Franchise Woman of the Year – Debb Meyer, Narellan Pools
  • Supplier of the Year – FC Business Solutions
  • Field Manager of the Year – Adam Moody, Wendys Supa Sundaes
  • Excellence in International Franchising – G.J Gardner Homes
  • Franchise Innovation – Bartercard International Group
  • Franchisor Social Responsibility – Battery World Australia
  • Franchisee Community Service – Bendigo Bank, North Perth
  • Contribution to Franchising – Derek Sutherland, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers
  • Franchise Hall of Fame Inductee 2013 – Denis McFadden, Just Cuts