Yearly Archives

2019

6 Tips to Keep Franchisees Motivated Throughout the Year

By | Franchise Business Plans, Franchise Engagement
franchisees motivated

Did you start your New Year’s resolution to create a franchise business plan across your system? Guess what – it is half-way through the year.

Question… how are those plans going?

While most franchisors recognize the value of franchise business plans, with competing priorities, they can be hard to stick to.

The good news is, we are not down to the wire. It is not too late. Your franchisees can still achieve their goals – but they have to start now!

So get energized and get focused on these 6 actionable ways for franchisees to stay motivated towards their goals.

1. Leverage Triumphant Franchisee Stories

In the daily grind, sometimes it is hard for franchisees to stay motivated. Hearing stories of fellow operators who pulled through a challenge and succeeded can be a fantastic way to motivate. This can be done through webinars, pictures in one of your regular eBlasts or even through internal social media.

2. Encourage a Healthy Routine

Exercise, nutrition and sleep are fantastic for mental and physical help. Exercise alone has been scientifically proven to create more confidence and a more positive demeanor. Some franchisors have taken this idea and ran with it, creating fitness contests for their franchisees, encouraging them to submit a new healthy habit to be put into a draw, for example. Everyone likes to do business with someone who is healthy and confident, so this will be positive for the system as a whole.

3. Reward Regions on Achieving Milestones

Milestones are so important when it comes to motivation. In franchising, we have the unique opportunity to reward whole regions! This could be with an appealing Marketing initiative from the Adfund that would boost business further, such as money towards exhibiting at a prestigious regional show. It could also mean a visit from the CEO, or a motivating learning opportunity. Rewarding a region will also create harmony there, which helps everyone, including your customers!

4. Encourage Personal Time

With an increasing mountain of workloads and an “always on” culture, sometimes we lose track of our franchisees and what is going on in their lives. We have discussed before on this blog about co-creating plans and keeping the personal in mind. You may want to remind franchises to have a little personal time – whether it is getting out fishing, going to the game on the weekend or practicing yoga, asking about these activities can cement relationships and help prevent franchisee-burnout.

5. Remain Positive

It can sound trite, but it has to be said. Although franchise networks can be an incredible support structure, sometimes they can also get negative. The stakes are high – getting into a negative mindset can hurt even the most successful business. It is important to listen and respond to challenges, but you also want to balance that with a bright view of the future and a clear vision of where the franchisee can go. Introducing franchisees to a group of positive friends can make a world of difference, if they are open to it.

6. Set Reminders

Part of staying motivated is having reminders on what to do. We spend so much time distracted by reminders, having ones that keep the franchisees focused on the business can “break through the clutter”. You can do this with software, with FranchiseBlast’s automatic reminder system, for example.

Last Word

Ready to learn more about franchise business planning? Check out our collection of articles here.



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Databox: Top Marketing KPIs

By | News

We are pleased to be featured on the databox blog on 28 Advertising KPIs that Every Marketer Should be Tracking. These list the top Marketing KPIs, and are definitely worth a read. Sr. Marketing Director, Stefania Sigurdson Forbes says:

“If you’re only going to track one metric, I would recommend tracking cost per lead (CPL),” says Stefania Sigurdson Forbes of FranchiseBlast. “It is your North Star.” 

“Qualified leads are people who are looking for your product and are qualified to buy it; vendors contacting you or spam don’t count.”

“The disadvantage of this metric is that if you are not spending on media, it doesn’t work. It also reflects the media type that you are using, not just the quality of your site.”

To learn about how to track Marketing KPIs in your franchise, check out FranchiseBlast’s performance tools.

How to Ask the Right Questions on Your Audit

By | Field Audits

When you are selling a franchise, what are you actually providing?

  1. A system that is proven to work in providing value to the target market
  2. A brand creating value in the market
  3. 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.

Recommended Model

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 guests.

Other Examples

  • 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.

  1. Match questions to existing standards found above. Some questions, such as food safety, can be reviewed by food safety consultants or internal experts.
  2. 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
  3. Remove extraneous questions. If you have questions that are not linking to any sort of process perse, it may be time to remove them.

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.

Learn more now.  

57 Management Field Audit Questions Your Franchise Needs to Know

By | Franchise Audits, Franchise Coaching

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:

To wrap this incredibly popular series up, we examined over a dozen audit questionnaires, and found the following great questions that you can add to your audit:

Procedures

  1. Is there a program in place to ensure daily cleanliness, including checklists?
  2. Are monthly inventory counting procedures being completed and records retained?
  3. Is the location using the CRM, and do they have a dedicated CRM person in place?
  4. Are bank deposits made on time?
  5. Management actively monitors culture, and takes steps to further develop a positive one consistent with that of Home Office.
  6. Is there a “complaints or compliments” file?
  7. Adequate travel time in place for all schedules.
  8. Are staffing ratios to standard?

Communications

  1. Are all technical alerts from Home Office being signed for when required?
  2. Are Home Office communications being held and documented?
  3. Does the business owner and management communicate in a respectful manner towards the Home Office staff?
  4. Client schedules sent to staff by Wednesday of every week.
  5. Call monitoring system is in place.

Team Communications

  1. Is the 7 Steps Poster displayed in the center for all staff to see?
  2. Has every member of staff signed a copy of the Rules of Engagement document with copies kept in the center?
  3. Emergency phone numbers listed.
  4. Are team meetings being regularly scheduled?
  5. Are policies and procedures easily accessible?
  6. Does the management team have dependable and regular communication with the owner?
  7. Is the business owner physically in the location on a regular basis?

Compliance

  1. Are all necessary state inspections up to date?
  2. Is there an inspection rating posted in a prominent location?
  3. Is the insurance certificate displayed?
  4. Is payroll compliant with applicable regulations, corporate policy and completed on time as required?
  5. Is the location generally in good standing with the Home Office, financial or otherwise?
  6. Is the location generally in good standing with all strategic partners?
  7. Are finances analyzed on a monthly basis with deficient areas highlighted in action plans?
  8. Are there any specific significant deficiencies that require urgent attention? If so, please describe them here along with a plan on how to address them.

Performance

  1. Is KPI information in use?
  2. Are monthly management financials being sent to Home Office within the appropriate timeline?
  3. Is the franchise business plan reviewed, updated and submitted by March 31st of each year?
  4. Is the minimum performance criteria of 85% of urgent orders completed within one hour?
  5. Are task audits being conducted?
  6. Are there any corporate orders over 1-month old with no action-items in the CRM?
  7. Does management know how the store is trending relative to the current month’s sales targets?
  8. Does management know what last week’s sales were?
  9. Does management know how their store’s performance compares to similar ones?
  10. Are finances analyzed on a monthly basis
  11. Are staff scheduled based on projections?
  12. Review franchisee’s cash flow projections to ensure that they have adequate funds to cover expenses during the summer.

HR and Training

  1. Are all hiring and recruiting processes being followed?
  2. Do all staff have a contract of employment?
  3. Have all staff received and signed for an employment handbook?
  4. Review all job descriptions.
  5. Are job descriptions available to all staff?
  6. All new hire paperwork and background check processed before staff begin training?
  7. Are all performance reviews filled out and turned in on schedule?
  8. Are all personnel files secured in a locked filing cabinet?
  9. Management is following all current mandatory corporate compensation and benefitspolicies including extended health benefits, wages, commissions etc.
  10. Management is in accordance with human rights and employment standards of the region.
  11. Every team member has enrolled in team training and is either on track to, or has already finished their learning plan.
  12. Technical training is occurring on a quarterly basis.

Health and Safety

  1. All accidents being recorded in the center accident book and previous entries available.
  2. Have there been any lost time accidents within the last 12 months?
  3. Is there an appointed First Aider – is the ratio appropriate and information available to all staff?
  4. Emergency phone numbers listed?
  5. Was the safe locked upon arrival?

Last Word

Franchisee audits are much easier when you have the right tools in place. Check out FranchiseBlast’s Auditing software for more information.



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Franchise Field Audit Mistakes Infographic

By | Infographic

Are you making any of the Franchise Field Audit Mistakes? If you want to learn about some solutions, check out out post on Field Audit Mistakes, along with some solutions.



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79 Cleanliness Audit Questions Your Franchise Needs to Know

By | Franchise Audits

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.

Outside

  1. Customer parking clear and adequate with customer parking signs.
  2. Landscaping clean, maintained and trash-free.
  3. The outside area is properly lit.
  4. Sidewalk is clean and weed-free.
  5. Exterior garbage storage is covered and doors kept closed between uses. Dumpster containers are emptied as necessary
  6. and the surrounding area is maitained and clean to avoid attracting pests.
  7. Patio and exterior area walkways are clean, no deep visible traffic stain.
  8. Patio rails, gates, furniture and umbrellas are clean and in good condition.
  9. Drive-through menu board panel, signage and speaker post in good condition.

Front or Front of House (FOH)

  1. Air temperature is set for the comfort of the guest.
  2. Entrance and waiting area clean, tidy and welcoming.
  3. Layout is set as per operations manual.
  4. POS work station clean and organized, no visible clutter in the workspace, online pick-up sign properly displayed.
  5. Customer seating made available while waiting.
  6. All lights and lamps in working order.
  7. Ventilation is adequate: vents, fan guards, ceiling fans and filters are clean.
  8. 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.
  9. Ceiling or ceiling tile areas do not show dust or water damage.
  10. High chairs and booster seating are clean, no broken straps, or visible physical damage.
  11. Tables are maintained clean, no physical damage to laminate or table edging.
  12. Booth seating and chairs clean, materials are clean of dried food, debris or damage.
  13. Paint, walls and chair rails are clean with no physical damage.
  14. Floor tiles, grout lines, baseboards and drains are clean, in good repair and free ofexcessive build-up or standing water.
  15. Beverage systems ice machines do not have mold or dust build up. Top not used for storage.
  16. Display case is clean inside, outside and around.
  17. Pictures and décor is approved, dust-free and straight.
  18. No graffiti present.
  19. Sanitized rags used to wipe down counters and tables.
  20. Garbage containers are cleaned and emptied as needed.
  21. No hand-written signs.
  22. List recommendations to increase visibility of location.

Back or Back of House (BOH)

  1. Walls and ceilings are in good repair and fre of excessive dust and debris.
  2. Ventilation is adequate; vents, fan guards and filters are clean.
  3. Hand mixer clean, in good repair and safely stored when no in use.
  4. Can opener maintained clean, no rust or food debris present.
  5. Knives are clean, no physical damage, properly stored in holders without rust or debris.
  6. Sinks, pans and smallwares washed and sanitized.
  7. Trays and baking sheets are clean and in good condition.
  8. Workshop floor layout as per operations manual?
  9. All lights and lamps and light shields in working order, fully lit and clean?
  10. Counters and island clean and clutter-free.
  11. Oven is clean.
  12. Stainless steel/chrome surfaces polished daily.
  13. Refrigerator and freezer clean and organized.
  14. Pans free from excessive build-up.
  15. Proper dish washing method observed.
  16. Hand-washing sinks are clean and used only for hand-washing.
  17. Hand-washing reminder signs at all sinks.
  18. Under counter area cleaned and organized.
  19. Mop and utility sink clean, organized, in good condition with no standing water.
  20. Approved cleaning and sanitizing products used and labeled.
  21. Back room/off-site storage areas/shelving organized and clean.
  22. Chemical shelf clean and organized.
  23. Exit doors close automatically: secured, without damage.
  24. Location free of other cleaning or maintenance issues. If not, please list below.

Merchandise

  1. Retail area including shelves and displays are clean, dusted and in good repair.
  2. Retail is mechandised according the brand standards.
  3. Retail area only sells approved products.
  4. Only approved displays, shelving and signage are present and in good repair.
  5. Proper min levels are set for all active products in ERP.
  6. Min levels and product mix are actively monitored and adjusted based on product performance, upcoming promotions, seasonal increases etc.
  7. Inventory numbers in ERP are accurate.
  8. Inventory on-hand level appropriate for sales volume.
  9. Retail shelves and displays fully stocked with minimal preventable out-of-stocks.

Restrooms

  1. Restrooms clean (floor, faucets, handles, toilets, trash can) .
  2. Restroom stocked with toilet paper, soap and paper towels.
  3. Employees must wash hands sign posted in bathroom.
  4. Record temperature of hot water in the men’s restroom.
  5. Record temperature of hot water in the women’s restroom.
  6. Deodorizers are stocked and working.
  7. Walls, mirrors, doors and stall partitions are clean and streak-free.
  8. Baby change table is clean and sanitized with liners available. The safety buckle is also in good repair.
  9. No visible political, religious or offensive postings.

Health & Safety

  1. First aid kit onsite and stocked.
  2. Insurance certificate on display and up-to-date.
  3. Crisis event poster properly displayed in kitchen area, replacing any outdated copies.
  4. Wet floor signs are clean and available, used for any spills present. They are stored out of guest view.
  5. Fire extinguishers, serviced and not expired.
  6. Staff in uniform and wearing safety boots when needed.
  7. CO2 tanks are secured in accordance with safety protocols.

Last Word

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.



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How to Create a Killer Franchise Marketing Plan

By | Marketing
Franchise Marketing Plan
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.

Understand Trends

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.
  • Aging population.
  • 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.

Franchisor

  • Sports Fans
  • Parents of Students Taking the SAT earning 100k+
  • Health-conscious single women

Franchisee

  • 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.

Franchisor

  • 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.

Franchisee

  • 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

  • Direct Mail
  • Events
  • Doctor Referrals

Franchisee Tactic

  • Rollout Direct Mail from library
  • Do 1 event/month
  • Make 10 introductions to Doctors/month

Determine KPIs

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.

Franchisee Tactic

  • Newsletter
  • Events
  • Customer Retention

KPI

  • 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!

59 Customer Service Audit Questions Your Franchise Needs to Know

By | Brand Consistency, Field Audits

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.

Overall

  1. Hours of operation current and posted.
  2. The store atmosphere – energy is positive.
  3. Staff is engaged in “guest first” culture.
  4. Employee teamwork, positive attitude and high morale apparent.
  5. Proper staffing levels to handle current sales volume.
  6. Manager present and on the dining room floor and conducts table visits.
  7. Manager conducting shift huddles every shift.
  8. Manager visibly leading shift and coaching team through peak periods.
  9. Music style playing in keeping with brand standards.
  10. Sound quality good and all speakers are working.
  11. Temperature is appropriate for the time of year.
  12. Additional information available on nutrition and allergies – take picture.

Timing

  1. Was there a sense of urgency while making products?
  2. Dine-in food order – record time off of timer.
  3. Dine-in coffee order – record time off of timer.
  4. Drive-through food order – record time off of timer.
  5. Drive-through coffee order – record time off of timer.
  6. How long does it take to make a smoothie – record time off of timer.

Uniform

  1. Each crew member wearing an approved uniformed shirt and it is clean and crisp – provide picture.
  2. Each crew member wearing pants or shorts, consistent with uniform policy.
  3. Each crew member wearing an approved hat or visor.
  4. Each crew member wearing an approved apron which is crisp and presentable.

Quality

  1. Focused service on the guest in front of crew member.
  2. Genuinely interested in customer and natural.
  3. Knowledge of ingredients and able to suggest toppings.
  4. More than two plates are delivered on trays.
  5. All drinks are delivered using a tray.
  6. Teachers are applying lesson standards according to the curriculum for the appropriate level.
  7. Teachers are giving proper assistance for students including on the spot corrections.
  8. Lesson equipment in good condition.
  9. Teachers are rotating at correct times during lessons.
  10. Reception team properly handing the guest off to the stylist with an introduction.
  11. Reception is checking notes in the CRM regarding the guest’s previous experience.
  12. There are no magazines older than two months and no newspapers older than one day.
  13. All tablets are clean, charged, functioning and have cool apps installed.
  14. Refills are offered on the dining room floor.

Promotional

  1. Customer asked if they have a rewards program card or app.
  2. Process stamp card or introduce new guests to the loyalty program.
  3. Upselling opportunities are consistently observed; friendly in nature to assist building in store sales.
  4. Utilize suggestive selling and talking points at POS.
  5. Sampling program implemented.
  6. Customer informed of upcoming promotions.

Experience Management

  1. Customer feedback management in place.
  2. Has more than 20 guest experience reviews.
  3. Store resolves complaints within 48 hours.
  4. Store has an over 70 NPS score in the last 30 days.
  5. Feedback is actively being used to adjust and improve the guest experience.

Exit

  1. Guests are thanked upon leaving the counter or exiting the building.
  2. Team members using the guest’s name during check-out process.
  3. Thoughtful closing: close the transaction in a friendly manner.
  4. 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.



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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.



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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.



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