The power of franchising
So you have bought a coffee shop franchise, the first few months were amazing. Plenty of customers, hitting all of your KPIs, living the dream! But a café just opened up across the street and all of your customers are disappearing. Their coffee isn’t better than yours, and they don’t even sell cakes!
Where did you go wrong? What can you do to get them back? You need help!
That’s the exact reason why you purchased a franchise – you didn’t want to do it alone. You have bought into a franchise system that has set up a business model that actually works. They have a team of trained support professionals who understand your business and why things sometimes go wrong. These trained professionals have worked diligently to prepare franchisees for situations like this. Some franchise systems differ as to the chain of command but let’s start at the beginning.
The franchisee always has a constant point of contact, the Area Manager – let’s call her Sally. You need to call Sally right now and tell her about the situation that you are in. Sally should have access to detailed store performance figures because of the transparency in the POS System. This transparency will assist Sally to diagnose your pain point – whether it’s a lack of sales in morning trade, not up-selling or maybe your staff don’t know the popular alternatives to coffee. Sally will be able to generate reports that will most likely confirm your earlier suspicions. But that’s not all Sally does, she has also set a meeting with you at 10am on Tuesday to further investigate the situation.
But how did you let your business get in this position in the first place?
During your franchise induction, the franchisor trained you and your staff on all of the tools and resources that you could leverage to operate a successful business. One month down the track and the training was still fresh in your mind and being utilised in the business – but six months later, you had forgotten about those tools that made life easy. Now sales have dropped dramatically, and you are crying for help!
The power of franchising is in the tools and resources. This is not the first time that a business’s top or bottom line has been impacted by a competitor – and most definitely not the last time either. Thankfully the franchise support is once again there for this occasion; and just quietly between the two of us – they are here to help and want to see you succeed.
It’s 10am, Sally arrives. She immediately notices that you are not taking advantage of the local area marketing campaign all of the other franchisees are currently promoting. She also notices that the sign on the door says closed – but the shop has been open since 6am!
Of course the café across the road is buzzing, there’s a line of people waiting for their mediocre coffee and here we are without a single customer waiting because our customers can’t see our amazing offers…
Sally calls Brian, the support office marketing genius to come down to the café with the latest marketing material to help with promotion. Brian’s job is to get you to engage with the local area - you may have heard the terms LAE or LAM before, specifically in your induction training. As a local business, it’s vital that the community actually know that:
• you are open and ready for business;
• what you do; and
• the special offers you have that customers can’t get anywhere else.
Brian takes out the marketing posters, publishes a couple of tech savvy Facebook and Instagram posts and the customers start rolling in. Now of course, customers won’t immediately start flowing in – but you get the idea. By using the marketing material that the franchisor has already created you give yourself the greatest chance of success. There’s a reason why the campaigns are created, and it’s because they tend to work. Brian’s work is done here, so he goes back to the office to work on your next exciting campaign. Sally has been observing your staff for the past half hour and notices an alarming trend. Your staff don’t know what they’re selling.
Haley, a young university student who has an exam this afternoon wants something strong – but she doesn’t know what to order, she’s not a coffee drinker. The staff member should be able to recommend two or three options for strong beverages; perhaps a double shot of espresso, or maybe even an iced drink. But instead, your staff member goes back into his shell and waits as confused Haley starts to walk away. The sale has been lost.
This customer engagement, especially in a café is a critical part of the sales process. Having a clear understanding of each of the products that are on offer makes sure that John with his skim milk iced caramel macchiato is able to order exactly what he wants without having to go across the road to your arch rival.
Information about your offerings are not only two feet above everyone’s heads on the menu, but they are also a major part of your operations manual. Product knowledge, keeping up to date with all of the latest promotions, and having a clear understanding of the pricing structure is
something that each employee needs to have. Sally sends you an email with a link (or PDF if your franchisor is old school) to the relevant sections of the operations manual that you need to look over. She also guides you through how you could educate your staff about the product offers.
You are already paying for the support services of Sally, Brian and anyone else in the support office, so you need to make sure that you are utilising them as much as you need to.
If you’re not yet part of a franchise system, and it’s something that you are considering, think about this - you may know someone who can design a logo, develop a website or even train staff if you’re lucky, but do you have someone that will do all of these things on call for you? Do you have someone who will prepare a 600 page operations manual that outlines every tiny aspect of your business? The simple answer is no! A franchise system offers much more than a couple of logos and brand recognition, it’s an entire system that works seamlessly for many others.
Sally and the team back at head office know what they are doing, they’ve seen it all before. Make sure to ask for help, and trust what they have to say.
FC Business Solutions is an integrated consultancy firm specialising in developing, growing and marketing franchise systems. A professional team provides expert service exclusively to the franchise community, in system development, marketing and communications, business health checks, and business operations. They also offer solutions in documentation, training, and human resources.
Here are a few of things that a field coach should be doing to help you and your business:
• conducting regular meetings with a clear agenda, resulting in action items;
• conducting regular audits to identify areas for improvement;
• utilising the franchisor’s benchmarks to review your key financial indicators against other franchises within the group;
• providing guidance on training for you and your team;
• keeping you up to date with all of the latest marketing campaigns;
• encouraging you to engage with other members of the franchise system;
• sharing with you the success others have seen with new initiatives.