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Best Practices

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...

Feature Story:

Millennial Psychology: Bringing Out The Best In Your Up-and-Comers »

By Jason Conrad

As I'm sure you've noticed in your dealings with Millennials, there can be significant differences between their attitudes and those of the Baby Boomers. What makes Millennials tick? How do their minds work, and how can we use that understanding to increase productivity in our businesses? Do Millennial leaders buy into the cliché portrayal of their generation as self-entitled, impatient, and erratic in the workplace? How do Gen Xers and Baby Boomers view these individuals as they rise within management ranks and take on leadership roles?
Millennials have much higher levels of perceived self-importance than their predecessors, typically brought on by the protection and emotional cheerleading of their Boomer parents. They crave career growth and progression and search not only for success, but also for meaning in their jobs and everyday lives...

Feature Story:

Consolidation Nation: Large Franchisees Continue Expanding »

By Eddy Goldberg

In the world of multi-unit franchisees, the big keep getting bigger. In our Multi-Brand 50 rankings, which we began publishing in 2008, the number of units operated by both the top 5 and top 10 franchisees has climbed steadily since 2010, following a post-recession drop-off when franchisees retreated from growth and instead focused on operational efficiency and selling or closing under-performing units.
Also during the past decade: many franchisors worked hard to refranchise their corporate stores; a generation of retiring franchisees with sizable portfolios sold them, whole or in part, to other large operators; and to help grease the skids for all these asset transfers, bankers relaxed their underwriting criteria, alternative lending sources sprang up, and the coffers of private equity firms (overfilled and searching for investment opportunities) expanded their strategic and acquisitional sights from franchise brands to franchisee organizations...

Feature Story:

Millennials Looking For More Purpose In The Workplace »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Millennials have something of a mixed reputation when it comes to work.
Studies show that they aren't loyal to employers so much as to the job itself. They also want to find a purpose to their careers beyond making money - which is a pretty good thing, says Jackie Dryden, co-author with Bethany Andell of Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line: And Build Your Brand on Purpose.
Companies have had a front row seat in recent years for watching the difference between Millennials and previous generations, the latter being motivated more by traditional incentives, such as money.
"Millennials might be feeling the backlash of receiving negative press but they are right - a company must first start with purpose; then innovation and profits follow...

Feature Story:

Out-Sourcerers: Mastering The Art Of Hiring Out »

By Helen Bond

Franchisees of all sizes are increasingly discovering that business goes better with outside help. Many have found the key to bottom-line success is to focus on what they do best and find the right fit to outsource the rest.
Former corporate controller and CPA Joel Karg has the know-how to tackle any financial function at his multi-unit Sky Zone franchise. He also knows enough to hand off time-consuming tasks to someone else.
Karg and his franchise partner David Beckett have chosen to outsource the payroll, tax, human resources, information technology, and social media marketing needs of their Columbus, Ohio-based company, which operates three parks in Dayton and Pittsburgh, with a fourth under construction. Going outside for help has allowed the duo, who honed their franchise management chops as executives at Stanley Steemer, to spend less time pushing paper and more hours strategically growing their indoor trampoline park business...

Feature Story:

The Trouble With Saying 'I Got This' »

By Champ Rawl

Designated successors generally have a vision of what one day being "the leader" is; I will do this better, this differently, and these changes will be made immediately. As one works toward this role of leader or owner, one key component to understand is the practice of humility. In addition, and probably most important but hardest to understand, is the idea of patience. As you take the stage, natural inclination may be to get overly excited with the mantra "I got this" and work full steam ahead towards your agenda and showing everyone how capable and competent you are.
A hiking analogy comes to mind. When tackling a big hill, I look ahead and find the highest peak; mentally take note of it and then put my head down and go for the top...

Feature Story:

When Is Big Too Big?: Re-Evaluating Unlimited Multi-Unit Growth »

By Dean Zuccarello

Consolidation is perhaps the single most significant trend we have seen in the restaurant industry over the past decade. It is easy to understand why franchisees and investors have chosen this direction. Under the right leadership, consolidation leads to greater predictability of operational results and returns through economies of scale, implementation of modern technology, market control, and fixed-cost leverage. We have entered into the era of the "mega-franchisee," but as these entities become ever more massive, is there a case to be made for these organizations to strategically divest assets, becoming smaller over time?
There are two catalysts for where a mega-franchisee could find deconsolidation the best course of action: 1) when it reaches an inefficient tipping point in the context of day-to-day operations, or 2) when it becomes more beneficial to break apart the whole to maximize shareholder value as it relates to an exit strategy...

Feature Story:

New Overtime Rule Compels Problems For Franchisees »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The U.S. Department of Labor's new overtime law will force thousands of employers to shift the pay status of their employees from salaried to hourly and diminish their quality of work life, says the International Franchise Association (IFA). The group has previously expressed its concerns in comments to Department of Labor and meetings with Office of Management and Budget.
"Far from 'giving America a raise,' the new overtime rule will compel many franchise businesses to reduce their managers' take-home pay simply to comply with the extreme new salary level," said IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti, CFE. "The rule is unfair to employees who will need to be reclassified from exempt to non-exempt, and thus effectively demoted. The Administration irresponsibly failed to conduct any economic analysts of this rule's impact on myriad stakeholders and millions of employees will experience reduced take-home pay, opportunity and flexibility in the workplace as a consequence of the Administration's actions...

Feature Story:

"Compassion" & "Empathy": Powerful Words In Customer Service »

By John DiJulius

I think the two most powerful words employees need to have permeating through their consciousness are "compassion" and "empathy." When you genuinely serve with compassion and empathy, your customer service is on a completely different level. The challenge is, How do you teach compassion and empathy? How do you make them more than just buzzwords and platitudes?
The top world-class customer experience organizations constantly put their employees in the shoes of the customer. When your employees really understand the plight of the customer--what the customer is going through, their daily battles--it starts to crystallize for them the critical importance of the customer experience they deliver, as well as the level of genuine caring they show each customer...

Feature Story:

Turning Today's Employees Into Tomorrow's Leaders »

By Jeff Bannon

One of the biggest challenges of business ownership is attracting good talent - but retaining them is even harder. As a multi-unit franchisee business owner, you look at your strong employees as future leaders. With changing demographics in the workplace creating generational diversity, how do you turn your current and future employees into leaders?
There are consistent core areas of leadership development necessary to turn employees into leaders, regardless of age and generational differences. Communication, commitment, recognition, and growth are requirements for helping your people to become leaders.

Communication: It is a skill that the potential future leader must have, but also an act of leadership that they expect from you...

Feature Story:

Limited-Service Chains Leading The Way »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Technomic Inc.'s annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report has one clear message: Limited-service chains are in the driver's seat. According to the Chicago-based market research firm, cumulative year-over-year sales for chains in their Top 500 ranking grew 5 percent in 2015, while limited-service concepts significantly outpaced their full-service counterparts at a rate of 5.5 to 3.6 percent. Contributing to this sales gap was a sizeable differential in unit growth. In 2015, limited-service chains in the Top 500 grew at a rate of 2.3 percent, nearly tripling full service's cumulative mark of 0.8 percent.
Drilling deeper into limited service's strong year reveals numerous interesting plot lines. With Panera's move into the No. 10 position, the top 10 ranked chains were composed entirely of limited-service concepts for the first time...

Feature Story:

Study Says Consumers Want More From Pizza »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Pizza consumption is trending at its highest level in four years and showing growth for pizza-focused concepts across channels, says a new report by Technomic. To maintain this momentum and stay ahead in the competitive pizza space, operators must innovate and adapt to consumers' evolving demands for unique, high-quality and better-for-you pizza ingredients and add-ons. This is according to Technomic's 2016 Pizza Consumer Trend Report, which highlights the menu and consumer trends shaping the pizza category.
"Today's consumers are less beholden to their standard pizza orders, as emerging players push the envelope of what's expected on a pizza menu," explains Deanna Jordan, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. "New chef-designed specialty pizzas positioned as customizable thought-starters will serve to convey kitchen skills and allow for the personalization these consumers increasingly expect...

Feature Story:

The 3 T's For Franchise Success »

By Chris Taylor

Higher customer expectations, lower brand loyalty, and pervasive consumer technology have created a dynamic landscape for companies looking to differentiate and win. But for today's franchisees, the ability to adapt will ultimately determine which locations thrive and which disappear.
In this ever-changing landscape, what sets the winners apart? I believe that today, franchise success depends on conquering the 3 Ts: Team, Tools, and Transparency.

Historically, franchisees have underutilized a not-so-secret weapon - the field organization. The field holds major responsibility as they funnel information from corporate to individual franchise locations, yet today they are not being used effectively. District managers are poised to be advisors for your stores, so making the most of your time with them to share objectives and goals can have a strong influence and impact on the success of your franchise...

Feature Story:

Benefits Of Employee Engagement Surveys »

By Dan Schneider

"The Millennial Generation loves itself. Its members have bad manners, contempt for authority, no respect for older people, and talk, tweet, or text nonsense when they should be working. They show no respect for the members of previous generations with whom they work; they contradict recognized authorities and experts; and they tyrannize parents, managers, and colleagues who are deficient in knowledge and practical application of social media and contemporary technology."
First, let me apologize to Socrates, a Greek philosopher who lived sometime around 450 BC, for having updated a quote often attributed to him about the generation that followed him into Greek society. While Socrates may not be around any longer, the human race is still going strong, and each generation seems to say to itself "Kids! What's the matter with kids today? Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way, what's the matter with kids today?" (from the musical "Bye, Bye Birdie")
Pundits and trainers everywhere are making a financial killing convincing organizational and business leaders that the Millennials have to be the greatest threat to the human race since the onset of the Bird Flu epidemic...

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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