You’ve heard the story before: New restaurant concept develops with a tight-knit founder team. Success followed by franchising. Franchisors come on board. New locations open. New people get involved. Everybody has an idea of how things should operate. Chaos ensues.
At Solutions Group, we’ve worked with growing franchise organizations for more than 25 years. We’ve been brought in at all stages of the story and tasked to bring order to the chaos. We are proud to say we’ve been successful—and along the way we’ve acquired a point of view about how the most successful franchise organizations work.
First, as a concept gets off the ground, the brand story is often a work-in-progress that lives in the imagination of the concept founders. As the business grows and franchise plans take shape, one of the first orders of business must be to document the brand story in a way that it can be “passed down” to new members of the family—the franchisees. It can be a lengthy process to think through all the aspects of your brand—its personality and its long-term vision—then document that story. We’ve seen operators who have done this well and others who have not. After the first six to 12 months of franchise operations, the benefits of doing the brand job right are painfully obvious.
Second, we have observed that good franchisors set their franchisee community up for success with a solid calendar of promotional campaigns supported by the corporate marketing program. Working in tandem with the national program are tools for local marketing campaigns. These should be localized programs based on specific market needs. By providing these great tools to your franchisee network, you can be assured that all marketing will be on-brand, effective and strategic.
Finally, treat your franchisees like family by providing great support and service. Set up a regular schedule of communication to keep everyone on the same page. Ask for their input and really listen to their suggestions and concerns. Whether your franchisee support organization is in-house or an outside agency, be certain they are given the attention they deserve.