Experts share their point of view on franchisee satisfaction | 2021 Restaurant Franchise and Innovation Summit
One of the main challenges for franchisors is keeping franchisees engaged, happy, and aligned with brand goals. Experts offered tips and best practices to achieve this at the recent Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit hosted by Networld Media Group.
Setting up and running a franchise system involves partnering with good franchisees and, as the brand grows, keeping franchisees happy, engaged and committed to the strategy and philosophy of the company. Mark.
And while it may seem easy – after all, franchisees want to make money just like the franchise owner – keeping franchise partners happy takes work, constant attention, and a plan.
Several franchise brands shared their take on how to do just that during a panel discussion at the recent Restaurant franchise and innovation summit sponsored by Networld Media Group.
The event is one of a number of foodservice and tech industry events hosted by Networld Media Group. The next event is a virtual event, #QSRNext, which will take place on November 9.
The panel, “Keeping Your Franchisees Healthy, Happy and Organized,” which was moderated by Restaurant Marketing Consultant Stacey Kane, was sponsored by Leasecake, which provides an operating system for location management.
Panelists included Brian Dixon, director of real estate at Team Oney, a Papa John’s franchisee, Starbucks and Qdoba; Brian Loescher, COO at Golden Chick; John Ramsay, vice president of franchise sales at Noodles & Company and Jim Thompson, vice president of operations at Chicken Salad Chick.
Connection with the franchisee
At Golden Chick, the franchisor-franchisee relationship includes a “discovery day” where franchisees meet all the department’s heads of department, are assigned a project manager to support them in all phases of construction and a director for them. support in recruitment and training.
“We will assign a full training team of four to a new franchisee for seven days before opening and seven days after with training,” said Loescher.
At Chicken Salad Chick, the goal is to provide franchisees with as much information as possible, Thompson said, noting that the “relationship” begins in the franchise sales process when the franchise development team establishes the franchise. relationship.
“Once we are in the process of opening a new restaurant, about 10 weeks after the store opens, they have access to shared information and a project manager has a weekly call with (the) franchisee, then business consultants get involved for six weeks to make sure the human components are underway, ”he said.
At Team Oney, the brand uses Leasecake technology because franchisees will use the tool. In fact, the brand plans to incorporate the technology into future franchise agreements. The system, Dixon said, allows the brand to disseminate information at the same time the brand obtains information.
“It’s intuitive communication with quick access to contacts and data and it has really transformed us,” he said, adding that technology has replaced previous tools like Excel and paper documents.
“In the past, I took pictures of documents taped in an office to bring this information with me [to a franchisee]. This [Leasecake tool] just saves time and really reduces anxiety, ”he said.
Noodles takes a similar approach to data sharing, according to Ramsey, as the brand gives franchisees everything they need through an in-house system, from the point of sale to the back of the house via iPads.
“They are all integrated and have two main functions. One is the ‘workbook’ which is the operations manual, then there is the application called Table which is the communication element. know something have access to it, ”he said.
Ensuring the happiness of franchisees
While the panel agreed on many points, one of the main points is that happy franchisees are those who make money and grow. The key, then, is to give franchisees what makes them happy.
At Golden Chick, happiness comes from higher sales and lower margins, Loescher said.
For Chicken Salad Chick franchisees, it’s about providing strong communication and sharing best practices between franchisees and the brand.
“What they really want to hear is from each other and communicate with each other,” Thompson said, adding that in some cases franchisees communicate on their own, for example using group chats. The brand makes a monthly call with senior management as well as key department heads and shares what is happening within the various business units.
Noodles & Company is also focused on communication, according to Ramsay.
“We do intra-franchise communication. We use a methodology to collect communication and disseminate it and everything is discussed. In the end, good ideas come out,” he said.
Some brands, including Noodles & Company, also rely on annual or semi-annual corporate events to provide a place where all franchisees can meet, talk and learn from each other.
“We have found that there are three main ways to communicate with franchisees. One is regular business updates, which are very specific and focused on operating procedures, marketing plans. The second is the Franchisee Advisory Board where you get together with the franchise leadership and the senior management team and the third is a conference that everyone comes to, ”Ramsay said.
In fact, Golden Chick hosted a corporate conference just a week before the RFIS event.
“We’re just coming out of that peak and buzzing around, so to speak. There was a 40% improvement over what we had been in 2019, so there were a lot of happy faces in the crowd,” Loescher said.
The bottom line, according to Team Oney’s Dixon, is that franchisees just want to be heard and listened to.
“You want to let them know that everyone needs to be heard. Store managers want to know if they are going to see someone who has a problem, they will be listened to and the problem will be fixed … not just swept up. . “