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FranX | The Hunt for the Great Multi-Unit Franchisee

The aha moment many franchisors have is the aha moment when they discover that multi-unit franchisees are easier to work with, grow with, and sell with.

By Nick Powills1851 Franchise Publisher
Updated 7:07AM 02/14/22

The Next McDonalds (Big Idea)

Do Emerging Brands Have a Fighting Chance at Attracting High Performing Multi-Unit Operators?


Today’s successful multi-unit franchisees have all experienced and profited from successful franchise investments and franchisor relationships. They know the value of multi-unit ownership, they understand the significance of scalability, they require measurable ROI, and they know what a winning culture and franchisor leadership team looks like.

If you're an emerging brand, do you have a shot at attracting these high performers?

To start, larger franchise systems have a metrics and data advantage over you. They have more franchise operators, longer track record, validation, and Item 19 data sets that, if favorable, provide data that multi-unit operators are more confident in relying on. Your Item 19 may look great, but how scalable has your system been proven?

If you're looking to attract successful multi-unit operators, you need to be genuine about your goals and the advantages you provide. Some factors to consider:

  • Unit Level Economics - Does your business model afford more reliable unit level economics that multi-unit operators can rely on? We're not just talking about traditional Item 19 data, but KPI’s and unique attributes about your business model that are more reliable and repeatable. For example, is your business based on a “big box” retail experience that fills a unique space in the marketplace and produces repeatable revenues and unit economics that a multi-unit franchisee would be comfortable relying on?
  • Management Team Execution and Vision – Have you invested in building your leadership, support, and coaching team specifically for multi-unit franchisees? Individual unit franchisees and multi-unit franchisees are two different categories of franchise buyers. You won't attract winning multi-unit franchisees without building the team and tools to support them.

Too many emerging brands sell multi-unit franchises to the wrong franchisees. Others waste capital marketing to multi-unit franchisees when they are just not ready. For most emerging franchise brands, the best strategy for attracting multi-unit operators is to build them from within. Support and coach your franchisees into successful multi-unit ownership. If you do that, you’ll win!

News You Can (Actually) Use

Franchisees Kicking Ass: The Franchisee is King

The Great Franchisee: Viking Dietrich, Griswold Home Care, Spring Valley, TX

The former energy professional left the corporate world behind to start his own business with the leading senior care brand.

Viking Dietrich spent nearly three decades in the energy industry, building a successful career in gas marketing and trading. Now, Dietrich is closing the chapter on that career and starting his own business with Griswold Home Care, the 200-location leading senior care franchise.

A little over a decade ago, Dietrich was introduced to a new colleague, a business management professional named Brandon Harrison, who was just beginning his career in the industry. The two struck up a friendship and worked together for years, all the while planning to one day leave their corporate jobs and go into business for themselves. In 2020, they decided the time had finally come.

Last November, Dietrich and Harrison began searching for franchise opportunities that might fit their financial and lifestyle goals. They researched more than 15 brands, but Dietrich says they kept coming back to Griswold. It was the only brand that allowed them to give back to the community directly while also meeting their financial goals. Now, both Dietrich and Harrison are opening their own Griswold franchise locations in Texas.

Yo Broker, Sell My Franchise

Sylvan Learning* Plans to Add a New Location Every Other Week Throughout 2022; Finishes 2021 by Awarding 47 Deals During its Best Year of Franchise Development in More Than a Decade

After awarding nearly a deal per week in 2021, the nation's leading supplemental and enrichment education franchise is continuing to grow at a rapid clip to help students recover from the COVID slide.

Sylvan Learning, the leading provider of personalized supplemental and enrichment education for students in grades K–12, with more than 750 points of presence worldwide, finished out 2021 with an impressive surge of growth, including 55 new franchise partners, 47 total centers awarded, 29 new openings and six existing-owner expansions for the year. Now, in 2022, the brand is gearing up to open a new center, on average, every other week throughout the year, following its best year of awarding franchises in over a decade. New franchisees have already entered the year on a high note, with six of the planned openings already generating revenue through the brand’s virtual model while the brick and mortar locations are under construction.

“We want to penetrate more of the country and be in communities that could really use Sylvan Learning,” said Sylvan’s CMO, Amy Przywara. “We are also working on accommodating self-service options. For example, someone could book a virtual session for tomorrow or the next day because they sense that their child needs something.”

The Bottom Thoughts

The aha moment many franchisors have is the aha moment when they discover that multi-unit franchisees are easier to work with, grow with, and sell with.

“By gosh, I got it,” said the Franchisor. “We will only market to multi-unit franchisees – the biggest, the brightest, the best. And they will come in droves. They will desire our brand and grow with it. We will take over the franchise world, (dark laugh) ha, ha, ha, ha.”

Then the tires screech, as they pull up to the franchise parking lot full of others who have figured out their aha moment.

“What are all these franchisors doing in this franchise marketing and sales parking lot,” the Franchisor screams. “How did they figure out our secret plan?”

Well, unfortunately, and unfortunately again – franchisors have been going after this elusive group for quite some time. Area Developers, master franchisees (can we just retire that name), multi-unit owners – the name of the game/target has changed, yet the actions have stayed on course.

So, here’s the thing. You are absolutely not wrong to want a multi-unit franchisee – especially one who came from another brand, has built up wealth, understands franchising, etc. But where you will be challenged is there is no magic to the sales process – they are hard to move. And then, the biggest challenge is the amount of franchisors who are marketing to this exact same target – there are hundreds of them (just look at the multi-unit conference).

Thus, just like anything else, you need something to snag their attention when they are ready to diversify their portfolios. You need to stand out. You need to differentiate your offering.

This is likely when the, “there is no way I can do that” comes into play. Royalty relief, marketing support, turnkey development – things that drive cash back to the buyer…now the ears listen.

So, when you pull up to the park full of franchisors looking to sell to franchisees, remember that this is still a big investment, still comes with risk, still has challenges – and then after all of that, you have to really showcase a clear why you/why now.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.