Franchisee Field Audits: Planning Pays Off

Field Audit Calendar Looking for a quick way to improve franchise performance? Read on!

After having discussed franchisee field audits with hundreds of franchise systems, we’ve noticed that about half of the systems schedule their field visits performed by their franchise business consultants. But what do we mean by scheduling? Most of these visits are unannounced, meaning the franchisees are not informed of the upcoming audit to ensure the audit scores are representative of the day-to-day performance. Therefore, scheduling should be taken in the broad sense of planning ahead of time, not necessarily specifying an exact day and time for a visit.

If no scheduling is in place, the franchise business consultant is reactive. They try to visit everyone in their territory on a best-effort basis, but spend most of their time with those who require more coaching (or simply those they enjoy spending time with). On a general basis, this is “good enough” but you’re trying to be exceptional, aren’t you?

The problem of being good enough is that the coach will sometimes end up not having the time to visit all the franchisees in a certain period, or will not visit the right franchisees at the right time to maximize their impact.

If you want to be exceptional, you need to be proactive instead of reactive. Aren’t you coaching your franchisees to spend time working on their business instead of in their business?

Fortunately, when it comes to planning your visits at least, switching from reactive to proactive does not require much effort. All you need is to be conscious of the situation and do a small push in the right direction. On a general basis, most franchises give their field coaches great flexibility over their schedules. Therefore, the regional director of operations (or whoever oversees the work of the franchise business consultants in the field) should work with the coaches to establish high-level goals and milestones for the next quarter based on the current priorities.

The most typical pattern we see is “you must visit every franchisee once in the quarter”. Take a step back and think if this is really your goal or if it is simply a minimum expectation. If you spend a bit of time thinking ahead, you may see that the next quarter includes the roll-out of an important limited-time-offer. Did you have a set of stores last year that didn’t properly execute the limited-time-offer (either the product or the marketing campaign). Sounds like these visits should be timed with the launch of your promotion and not six weeks into it.

The specifics vary per franchise, but it doesn’t take much time to align your visit schedule with strategic objectives. Planning ahead is a small tweak but properly leveraging your franchise business consultants can have a huge impact not only on operational compliance but also on franchise performance.

If you’re interested in continuous franchise performance, please check out our franchisee field audits app.



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