One of Specsavers’ original optometrists, Mr. Peter Ho, parted company with the group in March having decided the franchise model is no longer for him.
Mr. Ho, who owned two Specsavers stores in Victoria – one in Balwyn and another in Malvern – has now joined the Eyecare Plus group and, in an article published in Progress Leader (9 July 2013), said he made the decision to do so because it was “what he thought was best for his customers”.
Mr. Ho said he found that the standard Specsavers performance benchmarks set for him didn’t fit his own business model. “They benchmark you all the time,” said Mr. Ho. “Benchmarking is fine, but at the end of the day, when you are a full franchise partner, you want your business to run a particular way.”
He said joining Eyecare Plus, would enable him to “buys lenses and frames wholesale, in the same way a franchise would, but still (allow) greater control over the business model.”
Experiment Never Worked for either party
Speaking of Mr. Ho’s decision to leave Specsavers, the franchise’s Business Development Director Darrel Magna said, “I think Peter would be the first to admit that his own Specsavers experiment never really worked and that it was absolutely right for him to exit.
“We were very keen to help him improve his two practices or to pass them both back to him. Ultimately we agreed to purchase the larger of the two stores – Glenferrie Road Malvern – and we were happy to let him re-badge his small Balwyn practice.
“We benchmark all our stores against one another every month and Glenferrie Road’s KPIs show that its like-for-like sales are up by 40 per cent since the handover and patient satisfaction has increased in a big way – from 60 per cent to 90 per cent on our ‘would you recommend this store to family and friends’ index.”
Michael Jacobs, CEO at Eyecare Plus said enquiries about the Eyecare Plus group had increased in the past few months and renewed interest in independent optometry is positive for the future. “We’re happy to have a new member and glad to see that on this occasion, the tide is turning in favour of the independents.”