Two of 3 Franchisors Fail the Mystery Shopping Phone Inquiry Test
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Two of 3 Franchisors Fail the Mystery Shopping Phone Inquiry Test

Two of 3 Franchisors Fail the Mystery Shopping Phone Inquiry Test

Results are in from the 2021 Mystery Shopping on brands participating in the annual Franchise Leadership & Development Conference (FLDC), held in Atlanta in late October. While there were some noteworthy individual findings, there continues to be a huge gap much as in previous years.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of brands mystery shopped either did not call back; didn’t have a phone number listed on their website; told the mystery shopper to call someone else; or simply did not respond within one business day.


Mystery shop completed


Did not call back at all


Did not call back within 1 business day


No phone listed


Bad number or no voicemail set up


Instructed shopper to call another number

Collectively, the brands shopped invest anywhere from $8 million to $12 million annually to generate leads that they hope will turn into candidates for recruiters to work with. And maybe enough of them are a right fit, want to sign an agreement, and become a franchisee. Fulfilling the vision of the brand depends on getting this right.

Why 63%?

We ask this question each year after we look at the results, act shocked, talk about solutions and what to change, get excited about making those changes, and then return to FLDC to find the same result one year later. We all know this definition of insanity: Doing the same thing again and again expecting a different result. We know that some brands do make a change and get a better result. But as a group of brands at FLDC the data is saying we all might be a bit insane???? (said with love).

I recently read a blog from best-selling author Seth Godin that might unlock part of the mystery and help answer why 63%? 

“If you have a million Twitter followers, that means that 99.9% of the people on Twitter are ignoring you, which, with a little rounding, means you have 0%. If you write a book and it sells a million copies, it will be one of the bestselling books of the year. It will also reach far fewer than 1% of the country’s population, never mind the world. There are very few things that ever rise to 1% of the market. Not only don’t you need everyone, the act of chasing everyone is probably keeping you from reaching anyone. Zero (rounded) is enough.”

Seth’s post should get us thinking about why it is so important for every brand to be crystal clear on who they are looking for in a new franchisee. Sometimes it is phrased as the “ideal candidate.”

There are 333 million people in the U.S., so 1% of the population equals 3.3 million! Most brands are looking for just 15 to 30 new people annually for startup and transfer units. That easily rounds to zero and drives home Seth’s point that zero (rounded) market share is enough for a franchisor to grow.

But to get zero (rounded), we must know who we are trying to reach. The good news is that those 15 to 30 are out there… waiting for you to reach them and connect. Thanks to Seth for so clearly reminding us that if we chase everyone, it can keep us from reaching anyone.

Revisit your ideal candidate. Reduce who you are chasing. Show up immediately and appropriately. And enjoy connecting and working with individuals who are closer to a fit from the start.

Let’s go to work!

Art Coley is CEO of CGI Franchise. CGIF was founded in 2015 with a mission to help franchise companies implement and execute repeatable and sustainable recruitment systems using the Recruitment Operating System. His team is based out of Temple, Texas, and works with brands worldwide. Contact him at 281-658-9409 or

Published: November 12th, 2021

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