Twenty years ago, when you wanted to know what was happening in your stores, you might have called in mystery shoppers. They would clock how quickly your front-line employees were greeting customers, whether your store displays followed the plan-o-gram, and whether your operations manual was in play.
This issue marks the 20th anniversary of Franchise UPDATE, the company and the publication.
1987 was a good year for franchising. Up to then, franchising was young, brash, and not always professional. Franchises werenâ€™t much concerned with history. They were built mostly by young entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity and grabbed it, looking forward, not backward. The first 30 years of modern business format franchising had the feeling of the Wild West (like the Internet of the last 10 years).
Eddy Goldberg & Ripley Hotch
If history has taught us anything, itâ€™s that not all good things from the past necessarily follow us into the future. Employee attitudes and work ethics that were around two decades ago are no exception.
The franchise industry is having an increasingly large impact on the Canadian economy, with franchised businesses accounting for 40 percent of all retail sales. Provincial legislators are taking note of this growing industry and, in response, are introducing and passing legislation that addresses many of the perceived issues that arise between franchisors and franchisees. Most recently, the Province of New Brunswick passed franchise legislation (the â€œNew Brunswick Actâ€), making it the fourth Canadian province to adopt such legislation, after Alberta, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island.
In the chronicles of franchising history, some names come immediately to mind - Ray Kroc, S. Truett Cathy, Dave Thomas. The names conjure up images of independent-minded entrepreneurs with the savvy, know-how, and vision to create successful business models replicable anywhere. As part of the celebration of Franchise UPDATE's 20th anniversary, we look back at some of these colorful, inspiring, and sometimes controversial characters.
Life was easier for a franchise sales person in 1987. There were fewer media, fewer regulations, and what prospects knew about your brand was mostly what you told them.
The franchise community landscape was dramatically different for executive search 20 years ago. When we began servicing the hiring needs of franchisors in 1983, the franchisor population was in the hundreds, with almost all franchisees, owners of individual locations. A very small number of U.S. franchisors had any international presence.
Looking back at how technology has evolved in franchising, by far the most significant changes have taken place in the area of lead management. Some industry experts trace the first concerns over franchise lead management back to right around the invention of fire, while others maintain the issues arose later on in evolution, shortly after Nixon resigned. No matter. Franchise lead management and the use of technology for other mission-critical functions in franchising have come a long way in the past 20 years.
In the last week of April 2007, Chinaâ€™s Ministry of Commerce issued new franchise administration rules as a follow-up to the Regulation on the Administration of Commercial Franchise promulgated in February and made effective May 1 of this year. The new rules are important steps toward clarifying the regulation. In particular, the Administration Rules on Commercial Franchise Filing clarify the so-called "two plus one" rule and support the view that offshore franchisors will no longer need to operate at least two locations in China. New rules also elaborate on information disclosure.
The incredible surge in outsourcing prospect generation to franchise brokers has - literally - reshaped the sales programs of many franchise systems.
To those readers who are interested in legal affairs in the franchising context and are not subscribers to the American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising's listserv, you are missing one of the greatest shows in town. Listservs, chat rooms, blogs, and whatever else, are means to dialogue on the Internet and can turn into today's electronic equivalent of a lynch mob, as demonstrated by two recent exchanges on the forum's listserv on the subject of arbitration.
Rupert M. Barkoff