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Best Practices

Feature Story:

A Cry For 'Yelp': Tips For Franchisees »

By Jenna Oltersdorf

Your Yelp page will make or break your business. It's usually the first place a potential customer will go, even before your website, so it's important that it's all buttoned up. The restaurant scene is already competitive, so don't let your Yelp page, something you can (mostly!) control, be the reason customers eat down the street.

Have a complete and accurate page
Make sure you have all of your restaurant's information listed, including hours, the phone number, and address. It's über convenient for customers that are already on your Yelp page looking at reviews. When they decide they want to try your restaurant, they'll love that the phone number and address is listed right there so they can skip the extra step of Googling it...

Feature Story:

People Power: Your People Are Your Greatest Strength »

By Jason Conrad

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Dave Ridley, who spent 27 years with Southwest Airlines as a senior executive in a variety of operational, commercial, and staffing roles. These included CMO, SVP of people and leadership development, SVP of business development, and VP of ground (airport) operations. Now a senior advisor to CEO Gary Kelly, Ridley is the embodiment of Southwest's mission: dedication to the highest quality customer service, delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.
Working with him at our annual customer conference and hearing him speak got me thinking about how all of us in the service industry, vendors and franchisees alike, could learn a thing or two from Dave. But as Dave would say, these aren't lessons; they're just reminders of what we've already experienced, seen, or heard...

Feature Story:

Restaurants Take The Blame For Others' Mistakes »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Industry research firm Technomic just released a new study "On Demand Delivery: Disrupting the Future of Foodservice" that confirms that even if restaurants have a formal agreement with third-party ordering portals and delivery services, the majority of consumers (76%) hold the restaurant at least partially responsible for any errors.
"This puts operators' brand reputation at risk each time a customer orders delivery through these services," says Melissa Wilson, a principal at Technomic Inc. "Even if delivery is not a current strategic initiative, operators should educate themselves about and understand the dynamics of the third party delivery market so they can put guardrails in place to maintain quality and brand reputation."
The On Demand Delivery study helps operators and third-party delivery services interpret the evolving dynamics with this distribution channel to strengthen their ability to create effective strategies for capitalizing on this emerging trend, devising plans related to the potential impact on operations, product mix, and store design, or developing their own delivery offering...

Feature Story:

Technology And The Multi-Unit Operator »

By Dan Schneider

How often do you conduct business via your cell phone? And when was the last time you took a picture with a traditional camera? Technology has developed so today, that our phone has become our constant companion fulfilling a variety of needs. If you had to guess when the first camera phone was released, would you know? I was surprised too, it was 2002; and it was one of those flip phones. Today, in addition to taking pictures, we can stream live video, and even see the person with whom we are talking, in the moment! The reality check here is that although the introduction of the camera phone was impressive at the time, it was a very small step to introducing a new way to communicate.
Are you reading this on a screen, maybe through your tablet, computer, or phone? If not, how many times over the last week have you received some sort of news or information from an online source...

Feature Story:

Speed Thrills: Today's Customers Expect Instant Response »

By John DiJulius

Time and speed of service are critical to the customer experience. Everyone in the organization has to understand how valuable time is to the customer. In today's busy world, it is vital for businesses to demonstrate to their customers that their time is always regarded as a critical resource. It doesn't matter what industry you are in today. Companies like Google, Zappos, and Amazon have changed your business because they have affected the expectations of your customers.

It's all about time
The world of the Internet has made everything instantaneous, from information and answers to questions to getting products into people's hands. Today a friend can recommend a book for you to read, and within 30 seconds it can be in your hands on your iPad, Kindle, or other e-reader...

Feature Story:

Multi-Unit Franchisees Are Satisfied But Expect More »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

New data released by Franchise Business Review reveals that multi-unit franchisees are more satisfied overall and enjoy operating their franchise businesses slightly more than single-unit franchisees. The data was obtained from a study involving nearly 25,000 franchisees representing more than 350 brands that the firm conducted during the previous 18 months. 9,478 franchisees (38%) of the study's participants identified themselves as multi-unit operators. Franchise Business Review is a market research firm specializing in franchisee satisfaction and performance.
Overall, multi-unit operators tend to score 2% to 7% higher than single-unit operators on their satisfaction and enjoyment with their franchise business. That said, multi-unit franchisees also have higher expectations for their franchisor and are more critical of areas like technology, system innovation, advertising, training & support, and communications...

Feature Story:

Creating Harmony In Sibling Partnerships »

By Champ and Kendall Rawls

Sibling partnerships create a dynamic environment - especially when managing relationships in a highly competitive multi-unit franchisee organization. Everything can feel personal because nothing can be "just business."
It is common to have varying opinions and differences in your personal relationships, and this is especially true with siblings. Growing up together, you share common memories and history. If your history resembles closeness, and reflects a deep and trusting bond, this can play into partner dynamics both positively and negatively. Sure, you all work together wonderfully, and are able to accomplish great things as a team. However, on the outside, to non-family members, your bond and togetherness might be intimidating and work against you in gaining the trust and respect of your other team members...

Feature Story:

What College Students Expect From Quick-Service Restaurants »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A new study finds that college students are no longer satisfied with eating cheap food on the go. These kids were raised on well-prepared foods with a variety of cultural influences and trained to seek deals given economic uncertainty. Today's campus consumers expect more from quick-service restaurants (QSRs), according to the findings of a new survey from leading college marketing and insights agency Fluent.
"The next wave of consumers starts with a higher set of expectations for engagement than past generations: food that is tasty yet affordable, made with quality ingredients, and a social environment," says Fluent EVP Michael Carey. "In changing strategies over the past few years, QSRs set a new bar for themselves. Even a quick meal is an opportunity to relax, gather, engage or find quiet time, and enjoy...

Feature Story:

Whatever Works: Bring 'Em In, Keep 'Em In, Reward Them! »

By Eddy Goldberg

Attracting customers in 2016 takes many forms--and platforms--sometimes all at the same time. Here are a few tactics franchise brands are using to drive customers into their stores, keep them there, and reward them.

Feature Story:

Strategic Planning Creates Exciting Future »

By Dan Schneider

Some things in life are actually fun to plan - weddings, vacations, and special celebratory events. The planning that goes into the event usually leads to a happy outcome, even when there are bumps along the way.
Business Planning, however, usually gets a bad rap. Mention business planning to a multi-unit franchisee entrepreneur or a fast moving, high-energy executive and watch their eyes begin to gloss over. So how do we make business planning fun, exciting, and worthwhile for those involved?

Step 1: Dream Big
Franchise concepts, approaches to attracting and developing talent and unique customer acquisition/service initiatives all begin in the greatest nation known to the human race: the imagination.
Here's an interesting fact about "vision": You cannot not have one...

Feature Story:

Family Business Perspective Matters »

By Kendall Rawls

An owner's perspective about the purpose and who the business serves directly impacts culture, ability to recruit and retain good people, and drive performance - all of which influences customer perceptions, revenue, and profits. In the franchise industry, often times, multi-unit franchisees do not intuitively view themselves as a family business owner. This misperception can and does have an impact on overall business success, sustainability, and value.
Is the purpose of your business to serve you and your ambitions? Or is the purpose of the business to serve and provide opportunity to your community? Is it a mix of both? If the mission and vision of your business includes serving those around you, then it is important to begin thinking like a family business owner...

Feature Story:

Overcoming Franchise Marketing Constraints »

By Alex Vaccaro

Owning a franchise business has its pros and cons. On one hand, you benefit from your franchise having a strong, trusted identity. Local customers may choose to visit your business based on what they know about the national organization, and you have a vast network that can support your business with ideas and resources.
On the other hand, you may feel constrained in marketing your business within your franchise's standards. It's a delicate balance: you want to get word out about your business, but you don't want to violate the overarching organization's specifications.
Here are some suggested solutions and tips for dealing with three top concerns related to branding your franchise.

Concern #1: I'm Worried About Breaking Franchise Rules
You've got a great marketing idea for your business, but it breaks several different franchise rules...

Feature Story:

Why Financing And Site Selection Matter »

By John T. Hewitt

Multi-unit ownership is a franchising trend that's likely to keep growing. It picked up during the recession, when capital was hard to come by and franchisors saw how their single-unit owners struggled. Now, multi-unit operators own more than half of the franchise units in the U.S., and the upward trajectory is expected to continue. Single-unit ownership has its benefits, but multi-unit owners tend to have more experience, more business relationships, and the ability to move quickly when expansion opportunities present themselves.
So when considering a franchise opportunity, it makes good business sense to consider a multi-unit plan from the start. And in considering a multi-unit strategy, take a careful look at financing and site selection...

Feature Story:

7 Tips For Franchise Sales Mastery »

By Steve Olson

It's been more than two years since I re-entered franchise sales consulting full-time, and here's the good news! Seasoned recruitment executives are capitalizing on the resurgence of qualified franchise buyers. These "Franchise Sales Masters" continue to capture quality candidates during this higher-growth period. These top performers are artisans of franchise development, applying a well-defined sales process, while establishing credibility, confidence, and trust with their buyers.

(For a free copy of a research summary of 41 recruitment pros conducted by Olson & Associates and Zoracle Profiles, email me at

The unfortunate news

Too many good brands are losing qualified franchise candidates, specifically because their sales people don't carry the characteristics, traits, selling skills, and values needed to bring new franchisees aboard...

Feature Story:

Expertise On Call: Making Multi-Unit Knowledge More Available »

By Darrell Johnson

A couple of years ago we worked with a really big search engine client to help them better understand and approach the franchise community. Their epiphany (which we in franchising all know) is that franchising is a business model, not an industry.
Until then they had been frustrated in both their vertical industry sales efforts and in the efforts of their regional sales partners to crack the franchise code. They knew success would lead to hundreds of millions in sales. They now are realizing it. I mention this because multi-unit operators (MUOs) have a similar set of characteristics: like franchise brands, they frequently span industries with the same basic attributes.
Sometimes stating the obvious provides new perspectives. Here the obvious perspective is to consider MUOs their own community, something Franchise Update has been instrumental in creating over the past couple of decades...

Feature Story:

Leading By Example: How To Avoid Common Mistakes Even Smart Leaders Make »

By Dan Schneider

Admit it, you sometimes find yourself in a situation where you say to yourself, "Doh! I cannot believe I just did that!" Often it's something simple or small, but the fact that we showed some chink in our leadership armor shows we are not perfect, and we hate it. What we don't realize is that when we work so hard to be perfect and drive to exceed even our own expectations, we are constantly making some very common mistakes.

As leaders, we strive for everyone to see us as masters in our roles, the Obi-Wan Kenobi's of our universe. But the reality is that we actually get caught up in complacency and habitual routines. We also work in environments where it is rare for someone, especially a subordinate, to speak up and tell you that you are doing something that makes you look like a fool...

Feature Story:

Growing Gross Margin: Small Steps Taken Over Time Boost Profits »

By Rod Bristol

Do you know the seven drivers of gross margin? More important, do you know how to actually manage them in your business? Let’s look at each one in turn—and they are remarkably similar in virtually any kind of operation.

Feature Story:

Managing Uncertainty: Trends To Watch In 2016 »

By Carol Schleif

After an extended period of complacency, markets have whipsawed in 2016. Will this level of heightened volatility continue? Does it signal an impending recession? We think the answers may well be "probably" and "we think not." Let's look at what could go right, what to watch, and what might be different in 2016.

What could go right?

Feature Story:

Using An SMS Loyalty Program »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Customer loyalty programs are a smart way to cater to your most important customers - the ones who consistently spend their money at your business. Such programs, when used effectively, can also take a customer who didn't used to be loyal to your brand and make it so they shop exclusively with you in order to reap the benefits of savings, promotions, and discounts. SMS (short message service) is the perfect tool for promoting loyalty programs for your brand.
With the world "going mobile" and desktop activities migrating increasingly towards mobile phones, all aspects of marketing have had to adapt. According to research that says 91% of smartphone owners have their device within arm's reach 24/7, you will need to reach your customers on their mobiles...

Feature Story:

The Emotional Toll Of The DOL Ruling »

By Dan Schneider

Well, there they go again. Those folks at the Department of Labor (DOL) just can't leave well enough alone. This time they've changed the overtime rules creating administrative/legal headaches for HR departments, and essentially reclassified a lot of people from salaried back to hourly positions. As a result, many franchisee owners are convinced that the impact will be complete demotivation of those who have been 'demoted' by the DOL. Long-term, it probably won't have a negative impact on your franchise business because your high-value employees will be promoted back into an exempt higher-salary position.
Reason says that this change isn't the end of the world, but individual motivation is based more on emotion than on reason. So if you have some disgruntled employees come to you concerned about their take home pay, their ability to grow in the organization, and feeling demotivated because the bureaucrats in Washington, D...

Learn More

2016 MVPs: Celebrating This Year's Outstanding Operators    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue III, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2016 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

Top Opportunities »

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