Monthly Archives

April 2019

5 Ways to Use Data in Your Franchise Business Plan

By | Field Audits, Franchise Business Plans

According to the Harvard Business Review, “Recent studies show that only about 15% of decisions made by doctors are evidence based. For the most part, here’s what doctors rely on instead: obsolete knowledge gained in school, long-standing but never proven traditions, patterns gleaned from experience, the methods they believe in and are most skilled in applying, and information from hordes of vendors with products and services to sell.” If only 15% of doctor’s use evidence, it is extremely likely that franchisees use data in their decisions even less. This means smart franchisees using data will win a competitive advantage over those who do not.

In our recent post on franchise business plans, we discussed a step-by-step approach. Now we want to do a deep dive into data for the franchisor audience.  Using data is a fantastic way to uncover problems which can be valuable in that first part of the planning cycle of “identifying the issue” and then uncovering if the issue identified is actually a real business problem.

Rank

When referring to “rank” that is the franchisees ordered from best to worst, compared to the system or a sub-group, such as region or training class. The first few metrics include benchmarks, a vital metric for franchisees.

Why it’s important

Rank is important because you can see where the franchisee is compared to others in the system. It is like the “you are here” symbol on the map – orienting them as to where they stand in the system in terms of performance. While not everyone needs to be in the top 10, understanding rank can help them get a realistic view about what is truly going on in their business compared to their peers. Seeing the performance of like franchisees also helps them get inspired, and maybe curious about what is giving others ‘the edge’ such as off-premise sales or a neat new promotion.

Trend

Understanding how the franchisee is doing compared to previous months helps you see where they are going. In fact, some in the Private Equity world consider the trends to be more important than the numbers themselves.

Why It’s Important

Comparing to previous performance encourages self-directed competition, rather than looking to others. Franchisees can find this metric more motivating, since it is not externally driven; they find the motivation within themselves. This also helps get away from the “my market is unique” objection.

Example

In this example, imagine that % of online orders is something that you focused on strongly with the franchisee. Looking at the trend column, you can see that Sales and Checks are going down, even though online orders are going up. This could indicate a greater focus on the new online orders, resulting in neglect on the side of the traditional business. According to the book Measure What Matters, when a new goal is set, you want to look at the balancing metrics as well.

For example, when sales to up, you don’t want quality to go down. When a new product line is introduced, you don’t want the old product line to suffer. Setting two goals instead of one, such as keeping traditional sales consistent while increasing online sales, is a good practice.

Questions to Improve

This list shows the places where the franchise can get better in terms of being an operator. This serves as a starting point for the planning cycle. When you identify an issue, it may not get resolved right away. Instead of it getting forgotten the moment you step onto the plane on the way home from your franchise visit, you can have a plan and keep track of it so it will be resolved in the future.

Why It’s Important

Keeping the “questions to improve” top of mind helps crystallize what the most important action is based on the audit. After all, it is one thing to do an audit, but it is quite another to act on it.

Example

Above, you can see a number of failed questions on the audit. After a quick review, all of the questions are regarding cleanliness and food safety. In terms of planning a straightforward idea would be to group them together and create a plan around this issue.

Top Store Weaknesses

A franchise system is only as strong as its weakest link. When looking into weaknesses, it gives you a picture of the potential vulnerability of the franchisee, and what actions can be done to resolve it.

Why It’s Important

Having a weakness with a label of severity based on the franchise system helps the franchisee understand the seriousness of a potential issue. This then makes future discussions, and potential escalations simpler when there is a clear audit trail.

Example

In the example above, you can see this data at work. Important elements are marked as “critical”, such as Net Sales and Gross Sales – with a serious shrinkage of over 15% each. Smartphone usage is considered less important and is marked that way.

Bird’s Eye View

Pulling the focus back from individual questions, looking at the big picture helps you coach and plan appropriately.

Why It’s Important

An audit is a lengthy process, and it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees. Seeing the overall picture shows if the franchisee is failing on full sections, helping identify areas of staff concern or training needs.

Example

In the heat map above, you can see that the areas of failure are marked in red. In the next section up, you can see groupings of questions which were highlighted. Although this example does not show a full grouping failure, there are a few “collections” of 3-4 adjacent questions which are marked in red. Exploring those questions and finding a big-picture resolution in terms of training, equipment purchase or staff change, for example, could be transformed into a goal.

The Last Word

Are you ready to deep dive into data, for various parts of the audit? Take a look at our Franchise Scorecard eBook -full of metrics, KPIs and samples from a variety of verticals.



Request a Demo

Would you like to receive a demo of FranchiseBlast? We'd be happy to give you a personalized tour based on your needs.

Sign-up for our newsletter

Interested in receiving franchise news and tips & tricks? Sign-up for our newsletter.

54 Food Quality Questions that Your Franchise Needs to Know

By | Field Audits, Franchise Audits

Every restaurant has their own unique flavor, and it is the dozens of little details that make it right. Although different systems have their own recipes, there are certain things, such as fresh water and food temperatures that are relevant to everyone.

In the big picture, having high quality food not only helps your franchise, but it also helps families in your community. Having a quality meal at a restaurant can help children try new foods and a family “tradition” of eating out can foster bonds and even enhance brain health.

According to the family dinner project, “recent studies link regular family meals with the kinds of behaviors that parents want for their children: higher grade-point averages, resilience and self-esteem. Additionally, family meals are linked to lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, eating disorders and depression.”

We explored dozens of food quality audits and took a look at questions that are most relevant to a general audience. While it is important that each question connect to a back-end process, we thought these questions could serve as inspiration, to ensure that your guests get that great experience that keeps them coming back for more. We also have related posts on Food Safety Audits and Marketing Audits in this popular series.

Big Picture

  1. All food is prepared and served according to current, approved operational standards as defined in the recipe manual and training guides.
  2. No unapproved ingredients or menu items present or being served. All food supplied comes from the approved supply chain including produce.
  3. All branded proprietary food products, ingredients and packaging fully utilized.
  4. Any cheat sheets in use are accessible, accurate and clean.
  5. All required menu items are available.
  6. Pastries look eye appealing with a minimum of 3 and are made fresh daily.
  7. Appropriate system in place to track 2-hour shelf-life of coffee pots.

Recipe

  1. Observe and verify recipe accuracy and presentation.
  2. Timers are programmed correctly and are in use according to “items sold” projections.
  3. Chicken nuggets are being dipped and agitated in milk wash properly.
  4. Chicken nuggets being breaded and put on colored tray properly.
  5. Chicken nuggets being put into fryers properly.
  6. Fried foods are draining for at least 15 seconds.
  7. Pizza recipes and assembly are correct with ingredients evenly spread to ensure “flavor in every bite”.
  8. Dough tastes to recipe standards.
  9. Donut fillings were prepped according to recipe standards.
  10. No pre-making of product.
  11. Was product being held for next-day sale or consumption?
  12. Frosting light and fluffy – not a glaze – no time temperature abuse apparent.
  13. All recipes followed for dough and toppings.

Warm and Hot

  1. Rice is moist, fluffy, served with slotted spoon and does not exceed 12-hour life.
  2. Steak is moist, a good color with steak sauce flavor evident, served with 2 oz spoon and does not exceed 1-hour life.
  3. Chicken is diced in 1/2″, not overcooked and caramel in color, served with a 2 oz spoon and does not exceed 1-hour life.
  4. Bacon is brown in color cooked crisp without white spots and free of clumps served with a 2 oz spoon and does not exceed 6-hour life.
  5. Record the weight of a random meat portion. Medium: 2.2 oz. Large: 4.4 oz
  6. Order a random sandwich. Check weight and compare to standard. Take picture.
  7. Soups should be monitored throughout the shift, stirred, hydrated as needed to keep the original consistency and prevent scorching. Pans with scorching on the sides must be changed out as needed.
  8. Brewer calibrated and clean, including spray heads.
  9. Espresso machine is kept clean, steam wands sanitized after every use.
  10. All selections of coffee offered at appropriate time of day.
  11. Coffee grind is accurate.
  12. Check coffee flavor – ensure there is no evidence of grounds.
  13. Final bake temperature is verified for all products with a calibrated digital thermometer.

Cool and Cold

  1. Chips are fresh tasting, crisp, properly salted with consistent color.
  2. Water filtration in use, cartridges must be dated when changed (every 6 months to a year), filters clean.
  3. Shaved meats are sliced as thin as possible without shredding.
  4. Bun interior characteristics feel soft and moist and have an open, honeycombed grain structure.
  5. Bun top exteriors have smooth surface with no significant cracks or ridges.
  6. Mayo properly spread and going from “coast-to-coast”.
  7. Creamer carafes are stored appropriately and meet temperature requirements.
  8. Ice machine producing flaked ice in an appropriate volume, kept clean.
  9. Ice tea bubbler clean and in good repair.
  10. Proper ice tea procedure followed with flavor check.
  11. Donut standards followed on handling, cooking and assembly.
  12. Lettuce standards followed on storage, presentation and assembly.
  13. Buns are being buttered according to procedure.
  14. Cookies are baked to standard, chewy and moist, baked daily and properly dated (24 hours)
  15. All baked goods selections meet quality, weight and presentation requirements.
  16. Fruit donuts ONLY strawberry, lemon and raspberry.
  17. Pastry eats moist throughout without being over or under done.
  18. Proper amount of frosting used on pastries – it is evenly spread and appears moist.

Temperature-Specific

  1. Macaroni and Cheese: 160F-170F
  2. Sliced Tomato: 35F-45F
  3. Coffee Brew Temp: 190F-200F
  4. Coffee Serving Temp: 170F-178F

While your individual food quality audit will be associated with your own brand and recipes, we hope that these sample questions have served as some inspiration.



Request a Demo

Would you like to receive a demo of FranchiseBlast? We'd be happy to give you a personalized tour based on your needs.

Sign-up for our newsletter

Interested in receiving franchise news and tips & tricks? Sign-up for our newsletter.

5 Steps to Using Benchmarks in the Franchise Business Plan

By | Benchmarking, Franchise Business Plans

You understand the benefits of planning and you have discussed the franchisee’s goals and expectations. But, how do benchmarks fit into the overall picture? Benchmarks allow you to measure performance of one franchisee against the other. With this in mind, here are 5 steps to connect these two key pieces into a valuable whole.

1. Identify the area where the franchisee needs to improve

Finding the area of improvement can be either proactive or reactive. If it is proactive, it is part of the franchisee planning process, and it is a goal to strive for. If it is reactive it is perhaps in response to a violation on an audit. Areas for improvement can also come from program rollouts from head office, from a new service line to an annual Marketing contest in the busy season.

2. Measure the franchisee’s performance in that area

Measuring performance in the area gives you a “before” and “after” picture. Financial performance metrics are easy to quantify, and the more “direct from source” they are, the better. Customer Satisfaction can also be looked at through Net Promoter Score (NPS), Google Reviews or a tool like Review Trackers. Finally, the Franchise Audit provides a score-based method for you to put numbers to actions. If you are measuring “self-report”, it is a bit fuzzier, because human nature means that some franchisees may over- or under- report. Having “hard back-up” can help – such as requiring receipts for investments in marketing submitted to get rebate.

3. Decide which franchisee you would like to benchmark against

While every franchisee will have a reason why their market is unique, there are always ways to compare them to other businesses, whether they are in the same region or training group, for example. If they have similar business types, such as a business with a drive-through, in a mall or off-premise – you can also look at that as a benchmark peer. Compare your franchisee to a like group, to be both fair and results-driven.

4. Compare data collected to franchisee performance

Now it is time to look at what is happening for the franchise compared to others. If they are below average, you will want to boost their score. If they are average, and they want to be more of a leader, you can shoot for that – in fact Ben and Jerry’s does just that with great success. Sometimes the franchisee will want to win an award in their area of choice. Awards give franchisees audacious goals to strive for, inspiring others to follow in their wake. If you are running a scorecard program, this information is readily available. If not, you may have some work to do in terms of data gathering.

5. Create a project or action plan

Any good sales manager will tell you that revenue goals alone do not help sales teams succeed, activity goals do. So – instead of thinking of that 5 Million Dollar target, a salesperson can think about one appointment with a qualified decision maker per week, for example. Action plans are the building blocks to goals. Having an Project Management or Action Plan tool is a fantastic way to track this.

Final Word

Once you have your benchmarks integrated with your plans, the franchisee can get back to focusing on the day-to-day in a more effective way. After this, you can do regular calls or check-ins with franchisees on a monthly or quarterly basis. As a leader in benchmarking tools for franchisees, FranchiseBlast is a great way to accelerate your planning cycles.



Request a Demo

Would you like to receive a demo of FranchiseBlast? We'd be happy to give you a personalized tour based on your needs.

Sign-up for our newsletter

Interested in receiving franchise news and tips & tricks? Sign-up for our newsletter.

Social Geek Radio: Personal Branding

By | Events

FranchiseBlast’s Stefania Sigurdson Forbes joins Social Joey‘s Jack Monson and Liane Caruso for Social Geek Radio’s special on Personal Branding. In this exciting podcast edition we discussed:

  • How can you develop your own Personal Brand quickly and effectively?
  • Does showing your uniqueness help find your tribe?
  • Can consistency in social media engagement grow your personal brand?

Listen now at Social Geek Radio!

50 Food Safety Audit Questions Your Franchise Needs to Know

By | Field Audits, Food Safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from the year 2000, “foodborne disease causes approximately 76 million illnesses; 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths here in the U.S. each year.” Food safety has therefore become central to the food experience for all restaurants.

Food safety leader Steritech says “Today, more than ever before, food safety violations are top of mind with your customers. Consumers don’t hesitate to share their experiences — a single negative food safety incident can pose serious risks to your bottom line and your brand.”

According to food inspectors Noraxx, there is a high cost to “good enough” when it comes to food safety. “In a heartbeat, that one bad experience could undo all the good will that might have taken months or years to build up.”

We researched over a dozen audits on food safety, and found questions that you could find useful as you update your food safety audit.

Temperature Control

  1. Cold foods maintained at 41 degrees or below in all cold-holding devices including refrigerators, storage devices and ice-wells.
  2. Hot foods maintained at 140 degrees or above.
  3. Refrigeration records are available and complete.
  4. Proper cooling methods (placing food in shallow pans or using cooling wands etc.) are used for foods that require time/temperature control for safety.
  5. Frozen foods are held solidly frozen so that they are hard to the touch.

Food Handling

  1. Date marking is applied at time of preparation to ready-to-eat food prepared on site and intended to be held cold more than 24 hours and does not exceed a 7-day shelf-life.
  2. Food products dated, and not held past their expiration date.
  3. Discard policy is being followed – old food is “wasted” during inspection.
  4. Received food put away promptly.
  5. All ingredients are refrigerated when not in use.
  6. Foods are from commercial suppliers. Foods and packaging are in sound condition.
  7. Foods and food-contact packaging are stored at least six inches off of the floor.
  8. Fruits and vegetables are properly washed prior to processing and serving.
  9. Produce wash procedures are executed properly and have the correct concentration.
  10. Foods are properly protected from contamination.
  11. Staff know the proper procedures for preparing gluten-free menu items.

Equipment and Utensils

  1. Food-contact surfaces properly sanitized (at least every 4 hours during continuous use).
  2. Food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils durable, non-toxic, easily cleanable and in good condition.
  3. Utensils in the prep area are clean and well-maintained.
  4. There is a dedicated thermometer available in the kitchen area for verifying temperatures – which is clean and well maintained.
  5. Fire extinguisher – accessible with inspection dates.
  6. First aid kit – stocked and easily accessible.
  7. Wiping cloths are kept clean and dry or else immersed in properly diluted sanitizer. Separate cloths are used for wiping food-contact and non-food-contact surfaces.
  8. Disposable cutlery – stored in a sanitary manner with all handles facing the same way.
  9. Sanitizer test kits are open and readily available for use.

Personal Hygiene

  1. No bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. Disposable gloves worn when handling them.
  2. Eating, drinking and tobacco use restricted to non-food areas. Drinking allowed from cups with a lid and straw and stored so they cannot contaminate the food-contact surfaces.
  3. All hand sinks have hot and cold water available.
  4. Every employee has a branded hat and long hair is tied up.
  5. Employees, including drivers, are not wearing outdoor clothes in the food preparation area.
  6. Jewelry on the hands and wrists is limited to a plain ring with no set stones.
  7. Associates frequently washing hands to standard using correct hand washing steps.
  8. Associates not displaying symptoms of illness.

Cleaning

  1. Chemical sanitizer solutions at proper concentration and temperature per label instructions.
  2. Original containers of toxic materials have a legible manufacturer’s label. Bleach not allowed or approved in restaurants.
  3. Interior garbage containers are cleaned and emptied as needed.
  4. Exterior garbage storage is covered and doors kept closed between uses. Containers are emptied as necessary and the surrounding area is maintained clean to avoid pests.
  5. Sinks – not used for prep and dishwashing at the same time.
  6. Floor – clean under shelving.

Facilities and Controls

  1. Ventilation is adequate: vents, fans and guards are clean.
  2. Plumbing provides adequate pressure.
  3. Pest prevention program is effective.
  4. Floors, walls, and ceilings are smooth, easily cleanable and in good repair.
  5. Potable water is available from the public water system or a non-public system that is properly maintained.
  6. Air gaps/backflow prevention devices are in place where required. Sewage disposal systems, including grease traps, are operating properly.
  7. Mop sink is clean and in working condition, with mops and mop buckets hung or stored properly.
  8. Back door area – clean and organized.
  9. Shelving – clean/organized/no rust/sufficient.
  10. All employees preparing food have a valid food handlers certificate on-site.
  11. National food safety certifications posted.

Food safety audits are an important part of franchising. That is why FranchiseBlast has integrations with food safety leaders such as Steritech and Noraxx.

*The questions in this post are for information only. To do a compliant food safety audit, please consult a certified professional.



Request a Demo

Would you like to receive a demo of FranchiseBlast? We'd be happy to give you a personalized tour based on your needs.

Sign-up for our newsletter

Interested in receiving franchise news and tips & tricks? Sign-up for our newsletter.