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Pet food company wins award

PET FOOD franchise Oscar was awarded third place in the British Franchise Association's, (BFA) 2008 Franchiser of the Year Awards at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel last week.

The top three made up a mixed bag of British business. The winner was the international car valeting products company Autosmart whilst second place was taken by the accountancy franchise TaxAssist.

Each year the awards, run by Express Newspapers and HSBC Bank, are given a theme. This year franchisers were asked to demonstrate what developments they had brought to their businesses in the last five years.

Oscar puts its success in part down to a new commitment to establishing strong partnerships with its franchisees. Its directors even embarked on a UK tour where they met each and every one of their 90 franchisees.

The company says franchisee opinions are important to the franchiser. The company holds regular meetings at its head office in Preston, Lancs, to swap ideas and consult on strategy.

Oscar also recently underwent a complete re-branding - with new pet products, new packaging, a new van design and a re-launched uniform.

It says PR also plays a key part. Oscar went from very little publicity to receiving over 1,000 pieces of national and regional press coverage, often taking advantage of unusual pet stories that its franchisees encounter.