Conviviality Retail has launched two initiatives which it says will improve franchisee involvement in the group.

The Bargain Booze and Wine Rack operator has set up an online portal for franchisees to share pictures and videos to encourage best retail practice across stores.

It hopes the system will set a benchmark for other companies who operate under a franchise model.

It is also seeking to involve franchisees in the decision-making process for its group transformation strategy, including the selection of systems to improve the in-store experience for shoppers and efficiency for franchisees.

The initiatives are in addition to the company’s existing programme of meetings between head office staff and franchisees every six months.

Chief operating officer Amanda Jones said: “The franchisee model is at the heart of the business and we pride ourselves on celebrating the talent and diverse mix of our partners.

“We are constantly looking for ways to ensure maximum engagement and collaboration.

“Ultimately, these relationships enable us to get closer to customers and deliver an unrivalled service across the business.

“We want our franchisee partners to feel motivated and inspired by one another and we will continue to seek and develop ways to further enhance this collaboration and progress.”

In a separate move, the group is offering free overnight refits and no franchise fees for the first year to 100 new recruits to the Bargain Booze fascia.

The activity all comes soon after the group reported a 4.4% rise in pre-tax profit for the year to April 26 and said it was involved in talks about a possible takeover of the on-trade drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark.

Revenue for the year was up 2.4%, with wine sales ahead by 10%. Average profitability of individual franchisees grew 0.8%.

Chief executive Diana Hunter said that a two-year programme to weed out underperforming stores had come to an end.

Store numbers grew by 29 to 624 during the year and 35 new franchisees joined the group. Twenty-one existing franchisees opened additional stores.

Hunter said that the group would look to “further leverage our wholesale capability into new markets” in the year ahead.

“As wholesaler to our franchisees we have built strong relationships with our suppliers and understand the dynamics of this market.

“We have decided to optimise these core skills to create opportunities in new channels, such as corporate accounts.”