Puddle Ducks win 5 star praise at 2013 Best Franchise Awards

Tracy and Jo from Holmes Chapel with their prestigious business award

Tracy and Jo from Holmes Chapel with their prestigious business award - Credit: Archant

Two Holmes Chapel business women are recognised alongside global giants

Two women based in Holmes Chapel have been recognised with a ‘5 Star Franchisee Satisfaction’ award alongside global giants McDonalds at the recent 2013 Best Franchise Awards.

The awards, sponsored by Lloyds Bank and supported by Franchise World, paid tribute to Puddle Ducks, founded by Tracy Townend and Jo Stone, which offers aquanatal classes and swimming lessons for babies and children via a network of 30 franchises across the UK.

At the awards, Smith & Henderson announced a new initiative called 5 Star Franchisee Satisfaction, which was awarded to franchisors that participated in a benchmarking programme and received above average feedback across all five areas measured: training and support, franchise system, culture and relationships, leadership and stewardship and general satisfaction.

Less than one in five franchisors that participated in the programme were awarded this special recognition including Puddle Ducks, McDonalds Restaurants and TaxAssist Accountants.

Puddle Ducks was founded by Tracy and Jo after they met at antenatal classes and soon realised they shared a love of swimming with their babies and a common desire to launch a business. After extensive research and training they opened their first Puddle Ducks class in 2002 and began franchising in 2007. They have now 30 territories across the UK.

Steven Frost, Partner of Smith & Henderson, which coordinates the programme, said: ‘With hundreds of franchisors all shouting about the quality of their support and franchise system, it’s difficult for prospective franchisees to determine what the very best franchise opportunities are.

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‘The 5 Star Franchisee Satisfaction will improve transparency across the industry and help outstanding franchisors stand out from the crowd. It will also help prospective franchisees to make better informed investment decisions.’

Puddle Ducks co-founder, Tracy Townend, said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to win this award. We work extremely closely with our franchisees to ensure that they have all of the support, resources and guidance they need to be a success, so it is wonderful to be recognised for our work.

‘I’d like to thank everyone in Duck HQ and everyone within the franchise network, for their passion and expertise in supporting each and every franchisee.’

Steven Frost of Smith & Henderson, which coordinates the programme, said: ‘The Best Franchise Awards are based on what really counts – the experience of thousands of actual franchisees.

‘These shortlisted franchisors therefore represent an elite group of franchisors that provide first class support to their franchisees. We should congratulate them all for their achievements.’


Facts from the survey:

All franchisees agreed that Puddle Ducks believe in continually improving their products, services and franchise system.

100% of franchisees rate the long term prospects for their franchise business as being good, very good or excellent.

All franchisees listed products and services, innovation, shared goals and peer support and confidence as key strengths of the franchise.

96% would recommend Puddle Ducks to a prospective franchisee.