“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.” – Alfred Montapert
I think this is one of the most inspirational quotes for franchisees. Not just because it’s food related, but because it’s the truth of the business they know. Foodservice franchises, whether they are restaurants or convenience stores, are a messy business to manage. Food safety is its own realm, not to mention the expectations of customer service. Then there’s all the equipment and storage responsibilities.
The restaurant manager encounters challenges every day. It’s how they respond to those challenges that makes or breaks a brand. Are you eating them for breakfast, or are you letting them consume you?
If you’re a franchise operator, you know that you can’t be everywhere at once. You sign a contract and you place a great deal of trust in another operator to uphold your brand’s standards and best practices, which you’ve taken great care to define and communicate… or at least you think you have.
That’s the thing about compliance in a franchise network—you need to communicate well with franchisees early on and clearly define serious standards violations.
To make this point clear, I’ve created the following 5-point progressions of an ineffective vs. effective franchisor.
The Dichotomy of the Ineffective vs. Effective Franchisor
- Has a contract but never extracts the most relevant information to create simple checklists.
- Doesn’t clearly communicate core brand expectations with franchisees on a regular basis.
- Visits each location, documenting with paper and pen. Notices some problems that aren’t yet violations. Never follows up on them.
- Expects franchisees to readily answer phone calls and emails during business hours. Feels like they find out about problems when it’s too late.
- Feels blindsided by a franchisee’s problem that goes public.
- Has broken out the contract into manageable lists, with some criteria that are not simply “yes” or “no.” The checklist requires detail and explanation to complete.
- Regularly communicates with franchisees. Pushes out updates and notifications quickly and in real time.
- Documents store conditions using a cloud-based mobile technology on a readily accessible device. Use of a nimble platform alerts senior managers to core inefficiencies, enabling them to act on their findings at a particular location and assign follow-up tasks. Therefore, compliance is well-documented.
- Understands that franchisees need to operate their business during business hours and can benefit from new technologies.
- Can predict franchisee failures before they happen. And in the worst-case scenario, if the franchisee relationship results in legal action, the franchisor has thorough documentation of non-compliance.
If your operations sound more like the “Ineffective” model, don’t fret. The “Effective” model is well within reach. It starts with your commitment to explore new systems and update your processes through technology.