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Bringing Transparency Back Into Franchising: How Modern Market Eatery Sets a New Standard

Modern Market’s commitment to transparency, coupled with its innovative approach to fast-casual dining, positions the brand as a compelling opportunity for franchisees looking to invest in a business that prioritizes honesty, collaboration and shared success.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 4:16PM 06/10/24

In the complex world of franchising, transparency is often a key differentiator that separates thriving partnerships from struggling enterprises. Modern Market Eatery, a fast-casual restaurant brand known for its innovation, health-conscious menu and sustainability, is redefining transparency in franchising. By ensuring that franchisees have clear insights into every aspect of the business model, Modern Market is setting a new standard for franchise partnerships.

A Commitment to Walking the Walk

At the heart of Modern Market's approach to transparency is the company’s own experience as operators. 

“As a franchisor, we own several company-owned locations across the country, which means we are the largest operator of our brand,” said Chris Cheek, chief development officer of Modern Market. “We've walked a mile in the franchisees’ shoes. Transparency has always been core to our brand. We believe there is a lot of credibility in that. We are out there doing what our franchisee partners are doing every day, whether it is HR, operations, or marketing.”

This firsthand experience provides Modern Market with a unique perspective, enabling the franchisor to share practical, real-world insights with its franchisees. The company regularly conducts quarterly business reviews led by senior leadership to share these insights, Cheek notes. These sessions include detailed discussions on what marketing strategies worked, what didn’t, and the specific results achieved by various initiatives.

Transparent Communication and Partnership

Modern Market’s dedication to transparency is not just about sharing successes but also about being open with challenges and failures. 

“We are sharing that insight into with franchise partners — we are treating our franchise restaurants as if they are our own company-owned restaurants, while recognizing that franchisees are taking the risk themselves,” Cheek said. “It really is just about being true partners with our franchisees and being open with what we share.”

This philosophy of open communication is evident in how Modern Market handles new initiatives. For instance, when the company rolls out a new marketing campaign or menu item, Cheek says, they don't just implement it across the board without consultation. Instead, they share the intention behind the initiative, the expected outcomes and the actual results once the program is live. This level of detail helps franchisees understand the rationale behind corporate decisions and enables them to align their local strategies accordingly.

Balancing Local Expertise With Corporate Support

Another significant aspect of Modern Market’s transparent approach is balancing corporate expertise with local franchisee knowledge. “You want a franchisor that has the guts to say no,” Cheek said. “Every franchisor in the world wants units to open. But you have to be able to say ‘no’ to a location that you know will be a poor one.”

This commitment to making data-driven decisions, even if it means turning down potential openings, underscores Modern Market’s focus on long-term success over short-term gains. By being transparent about site selection criteria and involving franchisees in the decision-making process, Modern Market ensures that new locations are set up for success from the start.

The Road Ahead: Building on a Foundation of Trust

Looking forward, Modern Market’s strategy is clear: to continue fostering a culture of transparency and partnership that benefits both the brand and its franchisees. This approach not only builds trust but also empowers franchisees to operate more effectively and confidently.

“We aim to fully embrace the franchise model, collaborating with exceptional operators who have expertise in their local markets to expand Modern Market’s presence nationwide,” Cheek said. “We want to partner with passionate and experienced restaurant operators who believe in our brand and recognize our leading position in this category.”

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