When you are selling a franchise, what are you actually
A system that is proven to work in providing
value to the target market
A brand creating value in the market
Support for the franchisee to succeed better
than they would on their own
Today, we are going to take a look at the first point, but
asking the right questions on the audit covers all points.
Every franchise that chooses to do in-person audits, is
taking on a project that is a costly undertaking, including staffing costs,
overhead and travel. It is important then, to make sure that the audit
questions are correct, and are actually strengthening the system as a whole.
Our model is to connect back-end processes to each question.
Back-End Process –> Question
For example, as discussed in our Audit of
Your Audit post, a standard such as “Smiling and welcoming guests” could be
categorized as “Service” but a better way would be to tag it as “Training:
Going above what’s required and wowing the guest”.
Training: Going above what’s required and wowing the guest à Smiling and welcoming
HR and Training: Finding the Right People –> Formal staff orientation using orientation checklist
HR and Training: Retaining Your Team –> High performing crew members identified for advancement
Customer Service: Creating a Memorable Experience –> Prioritizing the guest in front of you
Approved Vendors: Using Approved Products –> Authorized snacks sold only
Where Can You Find Back-End Processes?
The franchisor’s back-end processes are within the DNA of
the franchise. This DNA is typically found in the following places:
The Franchisee manual: This manual will show
exactly the value and recommendations that you give your franchise.
Training: For many smaller and emerging systems,
the training team is the custodian of all things process related. What
franchisees are learning is a great place to find your processes.
FDD: Although it will not show all of your systems,
the FDD can be a good place to find what is important.
Purchasing: for approved vendors for what, the
purchasing team can help determine your back-end processes.
Safety Regulations: Restaurants will have to
comply with local food safety regulations that may not be in the manual, but
will be recommended by consultants or internal experts experienced in the space.
Making the Connection
If you are trying to connect an existing audit with existing
back end processes, here is a suggested process.
Match questions to existing standards found
above. Some questions, such as food safety, can be reviewed by food safety consultants
or internal experts.
Fill in the gaps. Did you find some standards
that are not being checked by your audit? These are fantastic points to add to
your audit to make it more relevant. Or – are there questions currently in your
audit that are incredibly relevant, but are not
Remove extraneous questions. If you have
questions that are not linking to any sort of process perse, it may be time to
Are You Ready?
Are you ready to bring your audit to the next level? Our
auditing tools are used by thousands of users in North America, the UK,
Australia and beyond.
What is a core value that franchisors bring to franchisees? Management, training and systems including Human Resources (HR). Any franchise field audit is not complete without this section included. This post is part of a series on audit questions, that also included:
Do you want to create a welcoming experience for your guests? It is starts with a franchise location that is sparkling clean! This is not only common sense, but it is backed by Science. In fact, according to Psychology Today, people with clean houses are less stressed out, depressed and are even healthier.
“A study led by associate professor NiCole R. Keith, Ph.D., research scientist and professor at Indiana University, found that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses… In fact, house cleanliness was even more of a predictor for physical health than neighborhood walkability.”
After exploring over a dozen audits, we found the 79 best cleanliness audit questions that your franchise needs to know. This is part of a series of audit questions that we have done including Marketing, Food Safety, Food Quality and Customer Service.
Customer parking clear and adequate with customer parking signs.
Landscaping clean, maintained and trash-free.
The outside area is properly lit.
Sidewalk is clean and weed-free.
Exterior garbage storage is covered and doors kept closed between uses. Dumpster containers are emptied as necessary
and the surrounding area is maitained and clean to avoid attracting pests.
Patio and exterior area walkways are clean, no deep visible traffic stain.
Patio rails, gates, furniture and umbrellas are clean and in good condition.
Drive-through menu board panel, signage and speaker post in good condition.
Front or Front of House (FOH)
Air temperature is set for the comfort of the guest.
Entrance and waiting area clean, tidy and welcoming.
Layout is set as per operations manual.
POS work station clean and organized, no visible clutter in the workspace, online pick-up sign properly displayed.
Customer seating made available while waiting.
All lights and lamps in working order.
Ventilation is adequate: vents, fan guards, ceiling fans and filters are clean.
Windows and ledges clean, streak-free with no physical damage to glass or frame. Main entrance doors and threshholds are in good condition or clean.
Ceiling or ceiling tile areas do not show dust or water damage.
High chairs and booster seating are clean, no broken straps, or visible physical damage.
Tables are maintained clean, no physical damage to laminate or table edging.
Booth seating and chairs clean, materials are clean of dried food, debris or damage.
Paint, walls and chair rails are clean with no physical damage.
Floor tiles, grout lines, baseboards and drains are clean, in good repair and free ofexcessive build-up or standing water.
Beverage systems ice machines do not have mold or dust build up. Top not used for storage.
Display case is clean inside, outside and around.
Pictures and décor is approved, dust-free and straight.
No graffiti present.
Sanitized rags used to wipe down counters and tables.
Garbage containers are cleaned and emptied as needed.
No hand-written signs.
List recommendations to increase visibility of location.
Back or Back of House (BOH)
Walls and ceilings are in good repair and fre of excessive dust and debris.
Ventilation is adequate; vents, fan guards and filters are clean.
Hand mixer clean, in good repair and safely stored when no in use.
Can opener maintained clean, no rust or food debris present.
Knives are clean, no physical damage, properly stored in holders without rust or debris.
Sinks, pans and smallwares washed and sanitized.
Trays and baking sheets are clean and in good condition.
Workshop floor layout as per operations manual?
All lights and lamps and light shields in working order, fully lit and clean?
Counters and island clean and clutter-free.
Oven is clean.
Stainless steel/chrome surfaces polished daily.
Refrigerator and freezer clean and organized.
Pans free from excessive build-up.
Proper dish washing method observed.
Hand-washing sinks are clean and used only for hand-washing.
Hand-washing reminder signs at all sinks.
Under counter area cleaned and organized.
Mop and utility sink clean, organized, in good condition with no standing water.
Approved cleaning and sanitizing products used and labeled.
Back room/off-site storage areas/shelving organized and clean.
Chemical shelf clean and organized.
Exit doors close automatically: secured, without damage.
Location free of other cleaning or maintenance issues. If not, please list below.
Retail area including shelves and displays are clean, dusted and in good repair.
Retail is mechandised according the brand standards.
Retail area only sells approved products.
Only approved displays, shelving and signage are present and in good repair.
Proper min levels are set for all active products in ERP.
Min levels and product mix are actively monitored and adjusted based on product performance, upcoming promotions, seasonal increases etc.
Inventory numbers in ERP are accurate.
Inventory on-hand level appropriate for sales volume.
Retail shelves and displays fully stocked with minimal preventable out-of-stocks.
Restroom stocked with toilet paper, soap and paper towels.
Employees must wash hands sign posted in bathroom.
Record temperature of hot water in the men’s restroom.
Record temperature of hot water in the women’s restroom.
Deodorizers are stocked and working.
Walls, mirrors, doors and stall partitions are clean and streak-free.
Baby change table is clean and sanitized with liners available. The safety buckle is also in good repair.
No visible political, religious or offensive postings.
Health & Safety
First aid kit onsite and stocked.
Insurance certificate on display and up-to-date.
Crisis event poster properly displayed in kitchen area, replacing any outdated copies.
Wet floor signs are clean and available, used for any spills present. They are stored out of guest view.
Fire extinguishers, serviced and not expired.
Staff in uniform and wearing safety boots when needed.
CO2 tanks are secured in accordance with safety protocols.
When doing your cleanliness audit, it is great to have tasks that you can assign and track to franchisees, their staff or others on your home office team. FranchiseBlast’s Audit app has this functionality and much more.
Brand consistency is so important, as is getting leads. Sometimes in franchising, it can feel like those things are at odds. Sometimes franchisees will feel the need to “go rogue” and do their own thing to get the leads they need. Other times, those “off brand” initiatives can create problems and confusion in the marketplace for their neighbors. According to a study from Demand Metric, 71% of respondents said an inconsistent brand creates confusion in the market. In this article, we will look at how you can create a Killer Marketing Plan for your franchisees, while staying true to the parent brand.
Marketing is very much a discipline which relies on trends, both in the way that people consume and the way that people communicate. Google searches to show marketing trends in your vertical, or within your typical marketing mix are a great start. If you want to go further, you can do a competitive analysis (having a group “competitive database” where franchisees submit competitors local to their market can be a fantastic and collaborative way to do this) or you could engage in a formal market research exercise. Sample trends include:
Increased use of Social Media.
Reduced use of mail system.
SMS messaging increases.
Increased awareness around mental health.
Determine Target Audience
Overall, you want to determine your target audience at the brand level. But franchisees will have a subset within their region that they will want to focus on. For example, they may have an ethnic group in their area that is very oriented towards the food at your restaurant such as a vegetarian option. Or, if you are in senior care, there may be an aging population in a certain part of your territory where houses were built in the 50s. This can help the franchisee drill down effectively.
Parents of Students Taking the SAT earning 100k+
Health-conscious single women
Toronto Blue Jay Fans
Parents of Students taking the SAT earning 100k+ living in Coral Gables
Health-conscious single women who shop at Whole Foods in Manhattan
Make a List of Marketing Goals
Some of the goals may be linked to a central, corporate initiative. Others could be associated with the franchisee themselves, such as an kids extracurricular program franchise making a big “splash” at the annual children’s festival. But marketing goals will differ from system to system. Goals can be project-based or metrics-based, and you always want your goals to be SMART.
Rollout updated branding guidelines to include SMS rules to system in Q1.
Test Instagram marketing with 12 Influencers in 3 markets in Q2.
Create central campaign for April tax season as per FAB meeting notes by Q4.
Increase leads from Social Media to 10/month at a cost of $40/lead by end of Q4.
Execute a 5,000 piece direct mail campaign, repeated 4x by end of Q4.
Rollout April tax season campaign managed by corporate by Q2.
Determine Franchisee Marketing Tactics Based on Marketing Mix
One role that the franchisor can play is to determine the right marketing mix for the system. While there will always be a certain amount of experimentation, the marketing mix should be defined. For example, PPC and Direct Mail may be the right combination for your system. Others find that Facebook is as good as gold. No matter what, you want to have your franchisees to complement your marketing mix.
Different systems do different things in terms of execution. Clearly, if the franchisee is not executing on a tactic, you want them to have a follow-up task.
Franchisor Marketing Mix
Rollout Direct Mail from library
Do 1 event/month
Make 10 introductions to Doctors/month
Now that you have set Marketing tactics, you want to see what KPIs will be connected with them. This will help you measure final results, and track key milestones along the way.
Open Rate and CTR
Leads/Event and Cost/Lead
Lifetime value of customer
Set Marketing Budget
Of course, when starting a franchise, this may mean using newly acquired funding, borrowing or self-financing. One thing to remember is that marketing is absolutely essential to the success of any franchise. When setting tactics for your franchisees, having ones that are low or no cost is important for those who may be struggling.
As the franchisee begins to gather costs for the marketing tactics outlined in the previous step, they may find that they have exceeded your budget. Simply go back and adjust your tactics until the mix is affordable. The key is to never stop marketing — don’t concern yourself with the more costly tactics until the franchisee can afford them.
Determine Review Cycle
Don’t forget, this is a marketing plan, not a marketing bible. You will want to review both results and tactics monthly, quarterly or twice a year.
Interested in learning more about KPIs and tracking? Check out our Scorecard eBook!
Some call it customer service, others call it guest experience. No matter what, understanding the end-to-end experience that you are giving customers is key to keeping them coming back again and again. But, when was the last time you reviewed your service audit? We researched over a dozen audits, and found some of the most relevant questions in them to effectively manage service. Please note that these audits come from an array of businesses, including restaurant, both table service and QSR, salon and education. This is part of a larger series including questions on Marketing, Food Safety and Food Quality.
Hours of operation current and posted.
The store atmosphere – energy is positive.
Staff is engaged in “guest first” culture.
Employee teamwork, positive attitude and high morale apparent.
Proper staffing levels to handle current sales volume.
Manager present and on the dining room floor and conducts table visits.
Manager conducting shift huddles every shift.
Manager visibly leading shift and coaching team through peak periods.
Music style playing in keeping with brand standards.
Sound quality good and all speakers are working.
Temperature is appropriate for the time of year.
Additional information available on nutrition and allergies – take picture.
Was there a sense of urgency while making products?
Dine-in food order – record time off of timer.
Dine-in coffee order – record time off of timer.
Drive-through food order – record time off of timer.
Drive-through coffee order – record time off of timer.
How long does it take to make a smoothie – record time off of timer.
Each crew member wearing an approved uniformed shirt and it is clean and crisp – provide picture.
Each crew member wearing pants or shorts, consistent with uniform policy.
Each crew member wearing an approved hat or visor.
Each crew member wearing an approved apron which is crisp and presentable.
Focused service on the guest in front of crew member.
Genuinely interested in customer and natural.
Knowledge of ingredients and able to suggest toppings.
More than two plates are delivered on trays.
All drinks are delivered using a tray.
Teachers are applying lesson standards according to the curriculum for the appropriate level.
Teachers are giving proper assistance for students including on the spot corrections.
Lesson equipment in good condition.
Teachers are rotating at correct times during lessons.
Reception team properly handing the guest off to the stylist with an introduction.
Reception is checking notes in the CRM regarding the guest’s previous experience.
There are no magazines older than two months and no newspapers older than one day.
All tablets are clean, charged, functioning and have cool apps installed.
Refills are offered on the dining room floor.
Customer asked if they have a rewards program card or app.
Process stamp card or introduce new guests to the loyalty program.
Upselling opportunities are consistently observed; friendly in nature to assist building in store sales.
Utilize suggestive selling and talking points at POS.
Sampling program implemented.
Customer informed of upcoming promotions.
Customer feedback management in place.
Has more than 20 guest experience reviews.
Store resolves complaints within 48 hours.
Store has an over 70 NPS score in the last 30 days.
Feedback is actively being used to adjust and improve the guest experience.
Guests are thanked upon leaving the counter or exiting the building.
Team members using the guest’s name during check-out process.
Thoughtful closing: close the transaction in a friendly manner.
Any notes that might make the guest’s next visit better is getting added to the CRM.
Question for You
Now that you have looked at the questions from our research, we have a question for you. Are you integrating timers, pictures and forced tasks into your audits? You can do this using the Field Audit app with FranchiseBlast. With a 30-day free trial, it is simple to see what our audits can do for you.