Welcome back for week two of Four Things to Know Before You Franchise Your Restaurant! Now that we understand the difference between a chain and a franchise, it’s important to begin considering how to duplicate your restaurant model in anticipation for franchising your restaurant. Some of my favorite restaurants in the world are single-location, hole-in-the-wall stops which are wonderful for a unique experience, but when I get that craving for foie gras from that quaint bistro in Paris, I am on a wild goose chase that never seems to end. This is why one of the best parts about restaurant franchises is that you can go nearly anywhere in the country (or, in some cases, the world) and receive a meal that meets your expectations every time. But in order to execute this, as a franchisor, you have to understand that consistency is key.
The menu items are just one example of how consistency creates the foundation of a successful restaurant franchise. From your staff uniforms to the building layout, everything must match in order to deliver the experience that your customers have come to expect. So how do we ensure that uniformity is maintained across the board? You map out an easy “turn-key” guide, also known as an Operations Manual, for your franchisees so that all they have to do is plug in the foundation you built and voilà! They’ve created a replica of your model without having to start from scratch.
As the franchisor, you’re essentially giving your franchisees the tools they need to run a successful location of your restaurant, so it is important to identify which of these tools are absolutely essential to them. Here is a short list of things to make note of when starting your Operations Manual:
- Construction vendors – who you used when building out the format of your location. It is important to pick similar formats for each location, so having the same construction company create the floor plans for your sites and then building them out will help establish the same look and feel in every location.
- Menu items – be sure that your franchisees are able to replicate each dish time and time again so that your customers can satisfy that craving they drove all across town for.
- Restaurant environment – this is comprised of the décor, the personality of your staff, how you want the tables arranged, whether you use paper napkins or cloth, etc.
- Vendors used – take note of where you get your ingredients, the beverages, the décor, the signage, the cooking equipment, what goes on the tables, what technology (if any) is used to seat customers, etc.
- Daily Operations – what types of employees need to be hired, interview guides, separation guides, suggestions on typical business hours, cleaning schedules, food preparation, how to open and close the restaurant at the beginning and end of the day, etc.
- Protocol – have a game plan for when something goes awry. Think through all of the problems you’ve faced and list them out with detailed solutions. You want to avoid as many frantic phone calls as possible.
It may seem like a daunting task to create such an extensive Operations Manual, and it truthfully could be one of the most time-consuming steps you take to franchise your restaurant, but I assure you it is a worthwhile and necessary tool to create. Your franchisees will need to lean on you in order to get themselves afloat in the beginning. Why not spare yourself some time in the long haul and physically hand them everything they need to know in a convenient turn-key guide?