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How to Get a Feel for a Franchise Brand's Culture

Discovery Day events and meeting with experienced franchisees can help potential investors get a glimpse of a brand’s reputation and team interactions.

By Jeff DwyerStaff Writer
Updated 9:09AM 10/26/23

There are many factors in play when you seek to buy into a franchise: the initial financial investment, learning the guidelines set by the franchisor and a holistic look at navigating the world of business ownership. And at the center of the chaos and excitement to join a franchise is an often-overlooked concept: culture.

The Role of Culture in Franchising

Culture plays an important role in every business, and franchising is no different. Cultivated by a brand’s leadership, this can refer to values, behaviors, policies and interactions of a franchise. Michelle Rowan, the president of Franchise Business Review, noted that culture can have a significant impact on a brand’s potential success, as it has the ability to influence franchisee satisfaction as well as customer perception.

“A positive culture significantly and positively impacts business productivity and profitability by enhancing team commitment to the goals of the enterprise,” wrote Rowan. “Conversely, a negative culture disrupts the ‘team spirit’ and significantly reduces cooperation among team members, increases turnover and reduces productivity.”

Blue Rock Search, an executive recruiting firm, finds that company culture can improve a franchise in a number of different ways. 

“By creating a positive company culture, you can improve the performance of your franchise, create a more motivated and engaged team, provide a shared sense of purpose, and establish a favorable reputation,” wrote Nancy Estep of Blue Rock Search.

To further support those claims, Franchise Business Review conducted a study and found a direct link between satisfaction and franchise performance. The outlet reports that brands with high franchisee satisfaction “drastically outperform brands with low satisfaction on every key performance metric.” These results showcase just how important a positive culture is in the workplace.

But as an outsider looking in, how can you get a feel for a franchise’s culture before deciding to invest?

How to Assess Culture

There are several ways you can get a feel for a franchise’s culture before signing the franchise agreement and officially becoming part of the team.

  • Online Research

The most immediate way you can get an idea of a brand’s culture is by scouring the Internet and conducting comprehensive online research. This includes exploring the franchise’s official website, social media profiles and any available marketing materials. Many franchisors, like Teriyaki Madness and CarePatrol, will publish franchisee testimonials so you can get a glimpse at what the brand is like behind the scenes.

Social media can also give you an idea of how the brand presents itself to the public, while online reviews can offer invaluable insight into the real-world experiences of both franchisees and customers alike. Reviews are a handy resource as they often contain candid feedback on various aspects of the franchise, from its products or services to its customer service and overall atmosphere.

  • Attend Discovery Days

Discovery Days serve as a golden opportunity to immerse yourself in a company’s environment. For the uninitiated, Discovery Days are held by franchisors as a way to provide prospective franchisees with an in-person look at the brand. This opportunity will allow you to see how the franchisor presents itself and how it interacts with its team.  

  • Speak with Current and Former Franchisees

There are few better ways to get a grasp on a brand’s culture than by hearing it straight from the mouth of those who have experienced it. If you’re considering joining a franchise, we highly recommend you speak with both current and former franchisees. Their firsthand accounts and insights can provide you with valuable perspectives on the day-to-day operations, support from the franchisor, challenges they’ve encountered and much more.

Trust Your Instincts

Culture can still be a hard thing to gauge. Do your best to trust your instincts. If something about the franchise’s culture doesn’t sit right with you or doesn’t align with your personal values, goals and vision, it’s perfectly acceptable to hold off. After all, investing in a franchise is a significant commitment, and finding a franchise that resonates with you is essential for long-term satisfaction and success.