Some franchises, when they start, have just one quarterly audit – often driven by legislation such as food safety instead of having multiple franchise questionnaires. But did you know that the average franchisor in FranchiseBlast has six different questionnaires in the system? According to Atul Gawand, author of the book, The Checklist Manifesto, “The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably.”
In a nutshell, this means that even in fields like aviation and medicine, checklists are needed to pool the collective knowledge. In the world of franchising, this is particularly meaningful because franchise owners are buying into a system because they want to tap into expertise. Let’s take a look at some of the common franchise questionnaires we find in our system, representing over 13,500 franchise locations. To keep it simple, we separated them out into Operations, Training and Marketing.
Most franchise questionnaires we utilize are within the Operations team. Although the stereotype is of the ops person as a checklist wielding intruder, there are many ways to make operations activities helpful and even collaborative. See some ideas below.
Quarterly or Annual Business Plan
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Business planning is a common questionnaire that is fantastic to build collaboratively with the franchisee, and one that you can come back to over and over again throughout the relevant period.
Pro Tip: Don’t make the common mistake of mistaking cash for profits. Profits is an accounting concept, while cash-in and out can make or break the business. See more business planning mistakes here.
Food Safety Audit
Food Safety is often driven by legislation thus is sometimes used standalone. Foodborne illnesses are preventable and safe food practices encourage longer lives, and a more resilient food industry.
Pro Tip: If you get your food safety assessed by a 3rd party such as Steritech or Noraxx, you can add it by integration to your Franchise Operations software. With this, you get the full picture of the franchise and create interesting comparisons such as cleanliness and customer service, for example, to gauge the customer experience as a whole.
Weekly/Monthly Phone Call Business Check-In
This is a simple audit, but helps you stay on top of communication with your franchisee. It simply records the call, and makes sure any follow-ups that you need get tracked in the Franchise Operations system.
Pro Tip: A picture can say a thousand words. Getting the franchisee to send photos for a phone check-in helps you know for sure that the topic of the call was actioned.
Countdown to Opening Checklist
Taking a snapshot at a key time before opening will make sure new franchisees are set up for success. Countdown-to-opening is one of the most common terms in training but making it a clear checklist with follow-up tasks and built-in accountability means you won’t have surprises (negative ones!) on opening day.
Pro-Tip: Some franchisors like to take several “snapshots” such as 12-week, 6-week, 4-week and 2-week.
Trainer Arrival Checklist
Some franchisors choose to have trainers on-site for grand openings. To give customers the best experience possible, there are a lot of details to look after. While the food may be ordered, and the proper smallwares are ordered and sparkling, other details may be missing, such as giftcards at the cash or maybe employees are not able to clock-in yet.
Pro Tip: Seeing aggregate results of common issues found in openings, can help you emphasize certain things in in-class training for later groups. For example, if there is an issue across the board with franchisees not showing their grand-opening promotion in the window, you can emphasize the foot traffic that such a sign would bring.
New Marketing Rollout Assessment
While it would be great to believe that as soon as the roll-out e-mail gets sent from the head office legions of franchisees march out and make the campaign happen, but in reality, that is not the case. Assessing a roll-out tells you about both perceived effectiveness of the marketing team from the franchisee side, and the compliance percentage from the franchisor side.
Pro Tip: When assessing a roll-out which requires specific training material on a recipe, for example, snapping a photo can act as a great proof point.
New Product Readiness Audit
When you are rolling out a new program, sometimes you need to assess the readiness of the team. This audit helps you assess where they are vs. where they should be.
Pro Tip: Training is the new marketing in many ways, as customers rely on reviews more and more for their food and entertainment options. Having training and a percentage of crew complete on your audit is a great best practice for a readiness audit.
Once you have the right collection in place, you can build a franchise scorecard. Take a look at our Franchise Scorecard eBook here.