We’re finally onto our last week in our mini-series Four Things to Know Before You Franchise Your Restaurant. If you’ve followed along thus far, you’ll know that we covered all of our bases for setting your restaurant up with a great foundation for franchising. To do a quick recap, in week one we covered what it means to have a franchise vs. just a chain and why the two are not mutually exclusive. Then we touched on the importance of having an Operations Manual to help your franchisees keep consistent with the system and the brand. Then last week, we explained the difference between all the types of franchisees you could use (yes, there’s more than one!) to help you at different stages of your growth. And now, to tie all of those basic pillars for success together, we want to set your eyes on the future of your business and prep you with the knowledge that things are bound to evolve over time.
From the restaurant layout to the menu items, franchises require consistency. But that doesn’t mean that you have to abandon the authentic feeling of going into your local hole-in-the-wall restaurant that offers you an individual, unique experience. The reason that customers love local businesses so much is that it makes them feel special to be receiving an exclusive experience that is one of a kind. The challenge for you as the franchisor then becomes learning how to maintain this personal experience for your customers while expanding your business on a grander scale. Here are a few ideas on how you can accomplish this:
- Partner with local organizations. Whether it’s a charity night or other type of fundraising event, community is a big factor in many people’s lives.
- Hosting regular weekly events. Popular events include live music, trivia, themed menus, discount weeks, etc. Again, if you plug a location into the community, it’s not just another cookie cutter restaurant, but it becomes integral for bringing the city together.
- Take local teams and other community influences into consideration when choosing the décor. It is important to keep the same general vibe going throughout your restaurant, however you don’t have to make sure the exact same painting is hanging in the entryway of every single location. Personalize it.
While these suggestions are great for you to understand as the franchisor, this will not necessarily be your role to fill once you franchise your restaurant. It is important to note that while these are typically decisions that you make as a business owner, you will hand off this power to your franchisees, with some guidelines from you, once you transition your business model. This is why it is important to make sure when you are bringing on your franchisees to your business that you contract like-minded people who share your vision for the business. If a prospective franchisee is just in it with the hopes of milking a cash cow, they are probably not a good match for your restaurant. Folks who are driven, passionate about the brand, in love with the product, and open to different opportunities for creating success are the candidates that you should be locking in and moving forward with.
So now that you are armed with the basic tools for success, we hope what leftovers remain in your mental to go box (last food pun, I swear!) is the confidence to create a restaurant franchise that is consistent, yet authentic, and effective for your vision.