Harvard Business Review: The CEO of Popeyes on Treating Franchisees as the Most Important Customers
Harvard Business Review: The CEO of Popeyes on Treating Franchisees as the Most Important Customers

Popeyes CEO explains how she turned the brand around by focusing on franchisees.

Cheryl Bachelder became the CEO of Popeyes in November of 2007. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, Cheryl came on board
with the company after four CEOs in seven years, choppy sales and struggling franchisee
relationships. She knew the way things were being done there would have to change.

Bachelder realized she had quite the job ahead of her to change minds and grow the company. A lover of the franchise business model, she truly enjoyed working with talented entrepreneurs that operate each restaurant and work so hard to be successful.
 
With this passion, she decided it was important to focus on franchisees rather than stakeholders to turn the brand into a successful franchisor, and the results have significantly improved nine years later.
 
Popeyes had a long list of problems holding them back, and it created a group of extremely frustrated franchisees. Bachelder knew they would have to become the brand’s top priority in order to see any future success.
 
“If we use our influence on the franchisee, he can bring his influence to bear on the restaurant manager and the frontline team members,” Bachelder wrote.
 
Focusing on restaurant-level profitability to give franchisees the ability to open new locations with their profits and cash flow, and a national advertising campaign, started to help with the brand turnaround.
 
In franchising you’re only as good as yesterday’s results—there is no emotional bank account into which you can make deposits. It feels unfair sometimes, but it’s our job to keep modeling and earning trust,” Bachelder wrote.
 
Check out the full article here.

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