There is a natural love-hate relationship between Corporate and franchisees because of conflicting objectives and priorities. The objective of any successful chain is to eradicate tension between corporate and franchisees but this is not an easy task.
Today I will share a bird’s-eye view of the priorities of both parties. More importantly, I will share with you foolproof ways to create a love-love relationship with your franchisees.
I consulted a few of QSR and franchising experts to help me with this blog, and many of them wanted to remain anonymous. However, my friend and owner of Ignite Franchise group, Michael LaRue, summed it up best:
“Happy franchisees equals happy franchise.” Michael LaRue
While each party has unique priorities, they both share the same ultimate goal: to be successful. Regional managers are the liaisons and must ensure that franchisees share the same vision as the chain. It is also important for the regional manager to validate the franchisees’ thoughts and concerns. Regional managers must reinforce strategies, objectives, and how they benefit the franchisee. A unified vision has both parties marching towards the same goal.
Communication - Communication - Communication
Both parties can benefit from the other’s insights. Franchisees are on the front lines communicating with hundreds of customers every day. They understand the pulse of what is happening and how customers are responding to a new product or an LTO. While Corporate may be more knowledgeable about consumer trends and marketing strategies that will benefit the franchisee. Mutual respect is key to a love-love relationship.
Create an advisory board, a chat room, or some method of open forum communication to offer timely communication. Encourage exchange between corporate and the franchisee. The more open the communication, the better the relationship. Technology has streamlined communication, but nothing trumps a face-to-face meeting of the minds.
Ability to Localize Marketing
Many chains recognize the importance of local marketing. Create a platform that allows franchisees to create localized marketing that adheres to your brand standards. Boundaries and policies need to be established, but franchisees will appreciate the ability to stake a claim in driving their local marketing campaigns.
Aligned Goals & Bonuses
Financial incentives should be tied together so both parties have the same goals and objectives. That way, each party is motivated to make sure that their counterpart succeeds. With everyone on the same page, it eliminates the necessity for everything to be exclusively sales-driven. Consider elements like cleanliness standards, drive-thru time, and accuracy goals.
Tools & Resources
Provide all the tools and resources your franchisees need to be successful. Offer training workshops and mini online courses to empower and educate. Consider categories such as: customer experiences, improving drive-thru times, streamlining processes, and decreasing employee turnover. Franchisees are swamped with the day-to-day responsibilities of running their operation—make sure you keep this in mind when creating training programs.
This video from National Restaurant News highlights Firehouse Subs and the importance behind their crew rallies.
This is a blog, not a book, so I could not include every great idea for creating a love-love relationship with your franchisees.
Please share your franchising relationship wisdom.