With the number of DDIFO Sponsors on the rise, the benefits of the program to both participating vendors and franchise owners continue to expand.
“The DDIFO Sponsor Program has really taken off over the past year and truly has unlimited potential for both sponsors and franchise owners,” said DDIFO Sponsorship Director Amy Levine. “It’s serving as a marketing arm for vendors looking to target their advertising and meet face-to-face with Dunkin’ franchisees. It also helps to educate franchise owners about various options available to them, heating up the competition among vendors and pushing them to constantly improve their service.”
Dave Carvalho, a longtime Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owner, attested to the gains for franchisees, “The Sponsor Program serves as a great resource. I recently had a vendor need and remembered a related Sponsor I had met at a membership meeting. I went online to the Sponsor Directory, got the contact info and called them. It’s a one-stop-shop place to look for vendors that I might need and that I know I can trust.”
In less than one year, the DDIFO Sponsor Program has escalated to five times its March 2009 level, growing from fewer than 10 vendors to more than 50 with even more potential Sponsors in the pipeline for 2010. This success is due in large part to the mutual benefits the program affords, but ongoing program changes and improvements by the DDIFO leadership along with quality vendor leads from franchise owners also have contributed greatly.
“The Sponsor Program is a growing revenue generator and helps support our mission to deliver high quality communications and pertinent member meetings, so we continue to develop and structure it in ways that will attract even more vendors,” said DDIFO President Jim Coen. “The more Sponsors we have, the more options our members have. And the more options, the better. That’s why we really want to hear from our members about potential Sponsors. If you’re working with a great vendor, let us know.”
“I always go back to something I learned in college: You have a built-in community in franchising, and if one of you comes up with a good idea and shares it, the whole community wins. This is how I see sharing Sponsor leads with the DDIFO,” said Carvalho. “As Dunkin’ franchisees, we run virtually the same business. If another franchisee is using a particular vendor that benefits him or her—saving time and money—chances are that vendor would benefit me. I’ve shared several Sponsor leads with the DDIFO and I encourage other franchisees to do the same so we can all grow stronger and better together.”
CeilSpray Ceiling Refinishing, Inc., just came on board as a Sponsor in mid-December and is optimistic about the program’s potential. The company provides an inexpensive alternative to replacing discolored acoustical ceilings by refinishing drop ceiling tiles in place (tiles, grids and air diffusers), restoring them to a “brand new” look for significantly less than the cost of replacement. The work is done after hours, so there’s minimal disruption to business.
“The main benefit we hope to achieve is to make people aware of our unique service and ultimately to increase the number of franchise owners we do business with,” said CeilSpray President Brian Nolen. “When we started doing work for Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees, the response was invariably, ‘I wish I had known about your service years ago.’ Getting the word out about acoustical ceiling refinishing has always been our biggest challenge; most of the Dunkin’ Donuts work we’ve done has been due to word of mouth. I figured that we could accelerate that process by letting franchisees know about us directly.”
Royston, LLC, a Sponsor since June 2009, has already reaped such benefits and more. “We’ve been able to reach out directly to the franchisee owners, our target audience, and share with them our value proposition and capabilities,” said Marketing Manager Bonnie Padgett. “We’ve also gained a greater understanding of the needs, pressures and issues facing the franchisees. The program has certainly been a benefit to us in reaching out to support franchisees and their businesses.” Royston delivers customer-specific, brand image-enhancing and operationally-effective merchandising and foodservice equipment including modular metal cabinetry.
Realizing the inherent advantages of membership meetings, one of the biggest enhancements planned by the DDIFO leadership for the 2010 Sponsor Program is the increase and expansion of these gatherings, which offer opportunities for priceless face time with franchise owners. DDIFO Sponsors have the exclusive option of membership meeting sponsorships at three levels, each offering different advantages that range from advertising in the meeting program booklet to exhibiting at the meeting to making a from-the-podium presentation and more.
“I think the meeting in New England in September 2009 was probably of the most benefit,” said Padgett. “It was a great crowd—lots of interest and excitement—and the opportunity to speak before the group was invaluable.”
In 2009, the DDIFO held a total of three membership meetings, two in New England and one in Chicago. In 2010, DDIFO will hold six membership meetings—two large regional meetings and four district meetings—doubling the occasions for interactions between Sponsors and franchise owners. The 2010 meetings are scheduled as follows, with specific locations to be announced:
• New England Regional Meetings: 3/9/10 and 9/21/10
• Midwest District Meetings (Chicago area): 5/5/10 and 12/2/10
• Southeast District Meeting (Florida): 11/4/10
• Mid-Atlantic District Meeting (New Jersey): 6/3/10
As part of the program enhancements, the Sponsor Directory on DDIFO.org has a whole new look. Sponsors are now organized into categories, making it easier for franchise owners to find vendors offering the type of products and services they need, and each listing can feature a link to online information that is specific to Dunkin’ Donuts. This gives Sponsors the chance to highlight certain products, services, promotions or discounts that they want to make known to franchisees.
“With so many options and benefits to the Sponsor Program, there really is something for everyone,” said Levine. “While sponsors may vary in their motivation for joining or find different value in the program elements, they all are finding something of value that can make a big difference with their Dunkin’ business.”
Sponsor leads from franchise owners are an integral part in the success of the program. If you would like to recommend a vendor for the Sponsor Program, please email Amy Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her locally at 508-422-1161 or toll-free outside the 508 area at 800-732-2706.