Owner Conviviality Retail handed out 1 million shares as part of the group’s three-year Franchisee Incentive Plan it devised after Diana Hunter took over as chief executive.
The 224 franchisees, who run 318 stores, will each receive a number of shares based on how well their businesses have performed.
A top performing franchisee with one store will have received 3,500 shares, while multi-site franchisees receive “considerably more”.
In April 2016 Conviviality Retail had 364 multi-site franchisees, a 42% increase on the previous year.
David Robinson, managing director of Conviviality Retail, said: “We are committed to creating an environment where our dedicated franchisees can grow and prosper together. We believe in rewarding the long-term loyalty and dedication of our Franchisees and that, by working together in partnership, we will all succeed and share the rewards of success.”
Some franchisees held their shares, which were worth 216p each on Friday, while others sold them on as 3,500 shares would have netted them more than £7,500.
Simon Wallace, who owns a store in the West Midlands, said: “The FIP rewards Franchisees for high retail standards, support of the brand and loyalty in the best possible way – with shares in the company it works day to day with. I have been a franchisee for 16 years and this plan gives me a real sense of belonging to a group that is really going places.”
Since Diana Hunter took over, the group has taken over Matthew Clark and Bibendum PLB among others, while increasing the size of its retail estate.
Phil Dickson, a multi-site Conviviality Retail franchisee in Liverpool, said: “The incentive plan gave me the confidence to re-invest and grow my business. With the income boost that it has offered us, we have grown our stores from four to 12 over the past four years.”