One of the tough parts of adjusting to being a part of a franchise program. Having less creative freedom can be a struggle for entrepreneurs who pride themselves on being independent thinkers. As a franchisee, you are expected to follow the brand requirements including especially when it comes to advertising, design of franchise and menu, and depending on how hands-on a franchisor you have, you might need to get official approval for any changes or new additions you want to make.
Don’t panic though. Having a personal touch is still important, especially for restaurant franchises. Connecting with your local community is so important and luckily, there are still ways to give your restaurant franchise the personal touch. If you have done your homework, you have found a franchisor who encourages their franchisees to express their personality within the boundaries of the core brand.
Here are some tips on how to give your restaurant franchise the personal touch:
Add Some Local Color to Your Restaurant
All franchise units for a regional or national franchise are typically expected to use the colors of the brand and to design the space in similar ways, but usually there are ways you can make your particular location grounded in your local community. If you store is down the shore, then add some little beach touches or if you are a sports bar, hang pennants and hats from your local teams. This way there is the familiarity of the brand, but also a little something that makes your particular unit unique.
The key to personalizing without facing the wrath of the franchisor is to check with your franchisor first before implementing any of these changes. Not only to make sure you are not breaching contract, but also to get their support. If they believe the personal touches will help the overall mission of the restaurant franchise they might even help you get the changes done.
Don’t Be Afraid to Tailor the Menu A Little
Especially when franchises are spread all over the country, you know that the locals in each area are going to have slightly different taste buds, but surprisingly, you will also find that what sells on a college campus is also going to be different than what might be the hot items at the franchise unit in the heart of the downtown area. Because of all of this, it is a smart idea to tweak the basic menu of all franchises in your program to fit your specific customers. Maybe you need more family-friendly fare or more vegan options. Let your customers tell you what they are craving. Or if you are certain fresh fruits and vegetables that are popular in your area then you might want to play them up more.
Provide the Ultimate Customer Experience
Probably the simplest but easiest way to add the personal touch to your restaurant franchise is to provide top notch customer service. When your staff takes the time to get to know each customer and develops a strong rapport with the regulars, people will always prefer going to your location than any of the others.
Get Involved In Community Events
Partnering with other local businesses on special community events is also a great way to show a little personal touch to a franchise. Your place will be the one people will travel to if they know they are getting local bands playing and special events.
While not having complete creative control is a drawback of going the franchise route, there are a lot of benefits that may counteract this for you. One big benefit is that you are given an already established product or service to sell allowing you to capitalize on the franchisor’s brand name recognition and that you are offered a support structure and training to help you get your franchise unit up and running. Typically the franchisor will help you with financing and constructing your store as well as with the grand opening and ongoing management support.
Plus, there is the financial burden. Besides the initial franchise fee to get started, you will also have to pay royalties and advertising fees.
If you definitely want to get into the franchise business as a franchisee, one the biggest decisions you will have to make is picking the right franchise to join. There are so many out there offering both products and services so you really need to have a heart to heart with yourself about what would be the best fit for you. You also should interview a bunch of franchisors and their franchisees to find out more about their particular type of franchise.
Here are some other questions you should ask yourself:
- Are there certain products, services, brands that I am passionate about? Are there certain values that are important for potential franchisor to have?
- Is there a viable market for this?
- How much are initial start-up costs? Is this doable for me?
- How long does it take to see a profit? Do I have enough money to keep everything afloat till then?
- Does the franchisor offer adequate training and ongoing support? What do they offer for advertising and marketing?
- Where will my franchise unit be located? Will I get rights to certain territory?
- Are there any bankruptcies or legal problems in the franchisor’s present or past?
- Are the franchisor’s trademarks federally registered?
- Does the franchisor compete with its franchisees in the same market?
- What are your financing options?
- If they offer training, where will it take place and for how long? Will it cost additional money?
- Who leads the training and what are their qualifications?
There are a lot of factors that go into whether a franchise is successful or not. Zac’s Burgers has a franchise program and they are looking for new franchisees that are passionate about the business. Call them today.