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How to Maintain Consistency Across Multiple Franchise Locations

To start and grow a franchise, business owners need to standardize their operations for quality control across the system, which includes optimizing the operations, hiring a corporate support team and developing marketing assets.

Franchising is a tried-and-true strategy for successfully growing a business. A business owner can start a franchise by filing a Franchise Disclosure Document, which allows the company to sell the concept to qualified entrepreneurs, who replicate the established business model and follow the guidelines in exchange for the payment of fees and royalties to the franchisor. But the key word there is “replicate” — franchisors need to create a replicable business model in order to maintain strong and consistent sales across their system and position franchise owners for success. 

1851 Franchise spoke with Kathryn Blackwell, CEO and co-founder of the emerging dispensary franchise Open Dør Dispensaries, to learn more about how an up-and-coming franchise company can maintain consistency across locations.

1851 Franchise: How can you know if franchising is right for you?

Kathryn Blackwell: For us, it was all about having a proven concept and being confident we were ready for growth and expansion. We felt we had a great grip on the operations and how things needed to be done, and we were ready to replicate that in multiple locations. That is when we knew franchising was the right opportunity. But businesses also need to be sure they can franchise, which is a whole other question. 

1851 Franchise: Whether or not a brand can maintain standards across multiple locations is certainly a big part of that question. How have you been able to maintain consistency across locations?

Blackwell: It all comes down to the operations manual — making sure you have every detail specified on how the process is going to work for franchisees. This includes everything from an opening and closing checklist, guidelines on how to manage invoices throughout the day, etc. That manual is for the owner and operator, but it also helps the entire system by ensuring consistency in products and services through ordering guides and more. Basically, you need to have everything spelled out for franchisees, leaving nothing to individual chance. 

1851 Franchise: How have you been able to consistently provide support across locations?

Blackwell: Ongoing support is probably one of the biggest benefits that a franchisor offers franchisees. Each owner is relying on help from the franchisor, as well as the team out in the field. You create the rules, and those rules are not meant to be broken. That is why a franchisor’s field team needs to be checking in on those franchisees, making sure that they are utilizing the products and services that are specified in the manual and ensuring they are up to speed and adhering to the particulars of the business model.

1851 Franchise: What do franchisors do if a franchisee isn’t maintaining brand standards at their location?

Blackwell: If the franchisee isn’t following the guidelines and if it is a first-time instance, there may need to be new training offered or closer contact held with the franchisees or maybe the general manager. Oftentimes, the true owner-operators are the ones who do the best job. A more hands-off franchisee may hire a manager who thinks they have a better way of doing things. If there is a consistent breach of policies, then there is a right for the franchisor to give a letter of default or take action from a legal perspective, but that is always a last resort. That is why constantly checking in on each franchise owner is so important. You need to make sure you provide those reports and share the reports with franchisees so they are aware of what is expected across the system.

1851 Franchise: How can franchisors optimize marketing efforts across locations?

Blackwell: My biggest advice would be to create as many marketing assets for franchises as possible so they don’t have to make their own. On the other hand, there is value in encouraging franchisees to become a part of their community by doing local grassroots marketing. This can include getting involved in local clean-up efforts, donating to food banks, team building, etc. If the individual franchisee can tie those efforts into national promotion, that's great. Either way, being able to provide those materials to franchisees is key. We have marketing kits mailed out to individual locations, for example, which includes all the materials they need to consistently promote the business in their market.