There are tried-and-true ways for franchisees to promote positive vendor relationships.
So you’ve opened up a burger joint as a franchisee. Customers can’t get enough of what you’re selling, and you’ve decided to branch out by opening up two more locations.
While more franchise locations certainly open the door to higher profits, they also make the need for a strong, steady vendor relationship that much more vital.
Is business booming because of your fresh-baked buns and seasoned fries? Great, but remember this means your operational success is reliant on your suppliers providing you with the right products and enough of them in a timely and cost-effective manner.
You may have all your ducks in a row, but unless everything is on the up and up with your vendors, your bustling burger joint could become a flaming failure overnight.
It always pays to know how to maintain a positive relationship with vendors, but this goes doubly so for multi-unit franchisees. With that said, here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your vendor relationship.
Clear up confusion
The best way to avoid any misunderstandings down the line is by both parties knowing exactly what their responsibilities are. The ideal way to accomplish this is by getting everything in writing. This way both you and the vendor will know precisely what is expected of each other. Any potential dust-ups can be eliminated by one or both parties referring back to the contract and holding up their end of the bargain.
Pay your bills
This one should really go without saying, but all too many franchisees make the mistake of thinking a late payment here or there won’t impact their vendor relationship. Wrong. Suppliers notice this type of behavior, and it drains them of goodwill toward you and your enterprise at an almost supernatural pace.
You should know better than anyone what items you’ll need and when for your franchise locations. Put this information to good use by providing vendors with plenty of lead time on orders. Rushing suppliers with last-minute orders and then getting bent out of shape when they can’t deliver is almost as bad as failing to pay them on time.
Multi-unit franchisees will be interacting with vendors on a near-constant basis for any number of products. While it can be tempting to rush through these interactions in an attempt to save time, keep in mind there’s a flesh-and-blood person on the other end of the transaction. A little small talk can go a long toward creating a deeper relationship. After all, who do you think a vendor is going to be more loyal to: the guy who knows the name of his kid’s Little League team or the guy who didn’t know he had kids in the first place?
Keep your cool
Mistakes happen, and as long as businesses are run by human beings, they will continue to. This holds just as true for vendors as anyone else. The key is not to sour your relationship with a vendor over a temporary setback. Is an order running late? Were some products defective? Unless this is a constant issue with a supplier, your best bet is putting a smile on your face, calmly explaining the situation and refraining from any hot-tempered tantrums that will come back to bite you in the behind.