Today we’re going to be discussing one of my favorite topics of all time: food. From fast food to fine dining, we have the luxury of choosing from seemingly infinite cuisine options that are all just a short drive from our homes. But we all know there’s that one restaurant you’re willing to drive the extra twenty or thirty minutes for because it’s just that good. These are the places that are always packed with a 45 minute wait because they make chicken pot pie from scratch that gives your grandma a run for her money.
For the owners of these eateries, it may feel like success has already been won. The tables are always full and customers leave with smiles on their faces – but let me challenge you to push it one step further. For the next month, I’ll be posting a series titled 5 Things to Know Before You Franchise Your Restaurant to discuss how turning your single-location restaurant into a franchise could be the greatest opportunity for your already-thriving business.
To kick off our series, let’s begin with the basics: understanding the difference between creating a chain and creating a franchise. You may have already branched out and created a secondary or tertiary location for your restaurant. This is a great starting point because you have already had to conquer the pitfalls of maintaining consistency between locations. In this situation, what you have done is created a small chain. Each location of your restaurant is owned by the same person or parent company that handles all the business operations. This is the key difference between a chain and a franchise. When you franchise your restaurant, you bring in outside investors, also known as franchisees, who buy into your restaurant so that they have the rights to own and operate one or more locations. They are essentially pouring themselves into one slice of the pizza while you get to focus your time and energy on the whole pie.
The franchise business model is widely successful in the restaurant industry for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, you as the owner must decide what your long-term goals are for your restaurant and determine what you want your business to look like in the years to come. Franchising your restaurant allows you to take your eyes off the day-to-day operations of your business and focus more on the new initiatives and improvements you want to make so that you can continue to tweak your already-thriving business model to make it even better. The give in this scenario is understanding that some power has been transferred to your franchisee. They are free to run their location as they see fit as long as it is within the strict guidelines you have mapped out for them (more to come on this topic later in this series) on restaurant standards and consistency.
So to keep in food metaphor, on one plate you’ve got yourself plugged-in to several locations and constantly working on the minute issues that come about on a daily basis, but the other plate is a deluxe platter with a healthy, working system that allows you to step back and admire how appetizing it looks. Which dish sounds better to you?