The key to operating a franchise unit is successful replicability of the original prototypical franchise unit. This means the franchise unit must look and feel like the original concept for customers to be able to recognize the brand. If not, the whole purpose of taking up a franchise is lost. But having replicability at the start alone is not enough, what is really important after that is to maintain the standard for systems and processes thereafter.
What’s A Franchise Field Visit?
A franchise field visit is usually performed by a franchisor representative who has been appointed by the franchisor with the main purpose of ensuring the franchise unit is operated in accordance with the guidelines provided for the franchise system. In short, a franchise field visit is quite like a compliance check. The importance of these checks will be especially apparent for overseas franchise units as the franchisor may not constantly be in the same country to implement governance.
Increasing Efficiency & Effectiveness of the Franchise Field Visit
1. Plan For The Purpose Together With Franchisees
Before actually sending the franchisor representative to perform the field visit, franchisors should plan out the agenda with franchisees in order to determine the purpose of the field visit. When franchisees are involved in the planning process, there is a sense of involvement rather than just a feeling of contractual obligation. Furthermore, franchisors should note each remark that franchisees put forward because if it weren’t important, it would not have been raised in the first place. However, certain topics should still remain non-negotiable, such as those relating to brand integrity and quality standards.
If data or information is to be collected from franchisees, ensure that prior notice is given to allow preparation time. Some franchisees may be resistent to the provision of their business-sensitive information so highlight the usage of such data to allay any concerns and reinforce the purpose of these collections are to perform analysis to implement improvements for the benefit of the whole franchise system.
2. Stop, Look & Listen
While performing compliance checks, the franchisor representative should keep in mind the following:
- Stop - Take time to meet people and understand their roles in the franchise unit. This will provide a better overview of each and every personnel’s responsibilities and provide insights into who is doing a good (or bad) job.
- Look - As the brand integrity is at stake, be sure to perform thorough checks for key areas such as (not limited to):
- Franchise unit appearance and maintenance.
- Product/service quality.
- Customer service experience.
- Operational, administrative and management processes.
- Listen - Don’t make assumptions because there could have been an unforeseen situation that happened earlier. Always allow franchisees to provide explanations before drawing to conclusions.
3. Ask For Feedback From Franchisees
After the field visit has been completed and a review has been performed, have the franchisor representative ask franchisees for their opinion on what more could have been done in order for future compliance checks to be more productive. This will signify to franchisees that this relationship has a 2-way communication channel instead of an autocratic system. Furthermore, franchisors can get to learn of areas they could improve on. Most often, positive franchise relationships are formed when both parties - the franchisor and franchisee - arrive at decisions together.