In a franchise, support from operations departments and leaders are the gears that keep things turning. Without the proper operational mechanisms in place and those to facilitate them, franchisees would not only not know where to begin, but would have no one to fall back on.
This proven support system itself is often the reason that individuals choose a franchise concept for business ownership in the first place. Leaders in operations make it a point to show that the system is working to support the franchisee effectively from day one.
To prep a franchisee to open their business and contribute to the system, operations leaders begin by executing training programs. For Pita Pit, this means instilling their core values from day one and Pita Pit VP of Restaurant Operations Bill Wilfong is front and center making sure it happens.
“Following up to the completion of the construction and development piece, we focus on PCOMM - which stands for, People, Customer Experience, Operations, Measurement and Metrics,” Wilfong said. “These make a up a successfully functioning restaurant in full. For example, the best operations in the world don’t happen without the best team of people behind them.”
The Pita Pit brand itself has taken this one step further through the recent implementation of their Business Coaches, who will help oversee operations at individual franchise locations nationwide. With each Business Coach as an experienced restaurant industry veteran, they will bring advice, input and motivation to the 20-25 franchisees who they will be in constant communication with and stop by in person on a monthly basis.
“These new Business Coaches are going to bring some pizazz to each restaurant’s operations. They are there to be cheerleaders,” Wilfong said. “For example, if you have a 1,000 sandwich catering order, here is someone who can come in and cheer you on. If sales are low that week, they can come in and help pump the team up. They are positive people contributing to the creation of a positive culture - which creates a positive customer experience at each location.”
Mobile fitness franchise GYMGUYZ has also implemented a team of individuals to act as cheerleaders for franchisees with their MTS team: Motivation to Succeed team. They are there from day one to make sure that franchisees are warmed up and ready to hit the ground running.
“We implement training at our corporate headquarters, but our MTS team begins pre-launch training about four weeks ahead of the in person training over the phone. This helps us to best utilize our time when the come in at the corporate office and we begin training on best practices,” GYMGUYZ Vice President of Franchise Operations & Director of Business Development, Jo-Ann Houston said.
Houston also emphasized that, for GYMGUYZ franchisees, the training never ends just because they leave headquarters. It is ongoing, and they learn something new every day with the operations team standing my by to support along the way.
“Our top priority is that, truly, the training never ends. No only do we do two day onsite visits after training concludes, but it takes many forms and is integrated into post launch work. The support always continues,” Houston said.
Buffalo Wings & Rings takes a similar route of pre-training training. Operations leaders begin checking in with franchisees quite some time ahead of their opening, and leaders have a specific role in facilitating this process.
“As the FBM (Franchise Business Manager), I will join the training team physically sometime between the VIP opening training or opening day. There will be weekly conference calls leading up to the opening training which I will join about a month prior to opening,” Buffalo Wings & Rings Franchise Business Manager Morrison said. “The FBM typically will stay anywhere from a week to 15 days at the location supporting the newly opened franchisee, depending on their experience level and if they have opened a store with the brand yet or are a multi-unit operator.”
Like Houston, Morrison explained that just because operations training is over does not mean his role is. In fact, he states that it is just beginning.
Post opening is just the start of the working relationship with a franchisee. Once the opening “honeymoon” period is completed, there is still monthly support phone calls, quarterly visits, yearly conferences and a franchise business manager available to help develop, coach, and mentor the owners and management teams. Those managers will conduct a check in at least once a year with each location to guarantee the brand and safety standards are adhered to as well as making sure the culture, atmosphere, and service promise is being trained, practiced and values lived. In conclusion, these three brand examples show that In a franchise, strong operations support from the franchisor are important to all parties’ continued success.