bannerFranchise News

The Operations of Operations

A closer look the operations teams of 10 franchise brands

By Ben Warren1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSORED 4:16PM 07/31/18

Operations is the heart of franchising. When an entrepreneur purchases a franchise, they are buying two things: branding and operations. The branding will get customers in the door, but its the operations model that dictates every other facet of the business, from staffing to purchasing to execution of services. A strong operations model can support hundreds, even thousands of franchise locations in disparate markets, while a weak one will lead to store closures that can quickly domino until the business shutters.

It’s no wonder then, that most franchise’s corporate offices are occupied largely by operations teams dedicated solely to the refinement and execution of every aspect of the franchise’s model across units.

And yet, there’s a great variety of ways in which those teams are set up from franchise to franchise. We asked operations executives from 10 brands to describe their operations teams. What we found is that there is no template for how a franchise’s operations team should be built. Some brands leverage small staffs of experts from a home base while others deploy large teams to the field to work directly with owners.

Margaret Haynes, Chief Operating Officer for Right at Home* Inc.

Our operations team is made up of six main areas of focus, all of which report to me as the chief operating officer. Those six areas are Marketing, Franchise Business Solutions, Franchise Learning & Coaching, Standards & Quality, Technology Solutions and Strategic Operations.

Those teams have anywhere from four to 19 people, and most have a VP, a director and specialists.

Anibal Fernandez, VP of Operations for Hard Rock International

Our operations team includes a corporate support team and a franchise operations team, which consists of one vice president, three area vice presidents, eight directors and 11 managers. Managers report to directors of operations, directors report to area vice presidents, and area vice presidents report directly to me. This includes the director of retail and director of sales and marketing.

Matt Kelton, Chief Operating Officer for Showhomes

We take a slightly different approach than most franchises. Our home office is in Nashville, but most of us work remotely. I have directors in three different states and support teams in two. So we’ve decided to find highly experienced people who can wear a lot of hats — A-players who don’t need a lot of management. We have an extremely strong team. Most of us have been around for over a decade, so we don’t see much turnover. Typically, a franchise of our size would have triple the size staff we have, but we decided to invest in a strong team rather than a big team.

Scott SirLouis, Chief Operating Officer for Beef ‘O’ Brady’s

I have six restaurant franchise consultants, a vice president of company operations, and a vice president of training reporting directly to me. We also have two district managers reporting into the vice president of company operations and five training people reporting into the vice president of training.

Mike Sebazco, VP of Operations for MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

MOOYAH operations support teams are divided into what we call Shark Pods. Our president named them that because if a shark stops moving and water isn’t flowing over the gills, they die. Each pod consists of a field operations manager, who focuses on franchisee relationships and the overall needs of the business; a training specialist, who focuses on unit-level management, team-member behavior and execution; and a marketing manager, who focuses on the brand footprint in each restaurant’s community.

Gigi Schweikert, President and Chief Operating Officer for Lightbridge Academy*

We have a COO — myself — and quite a few company centers. There’s a VP of operations for our company centers, a VP of operations for our franchise centers, and business coaches under the VPs for each center.

Todd Crowe, Director of Operations for Pool Scouts*

Currently, it is myself as the director of operations and a field operations and business coach, Carl Alfred. Carl and I have known each other for over 10 years, and we each have more than 20 years in the pool business. We each started out stocking shelves in a retail store before growing our careers. Carl stayed on the B2C side, I headed towards the B2B side.

Sarah Meriam, Director of Franchise Operations for Port City Java

Our entire operations team is made up of six people and covers both franchise and corporate operations. On the corporate side, we have three corporate district managers who oversee 14 locations and report to our CEO. On the franchise side, I am our director of franchise operations and there are two franchise business consultants who report to me. Samantha Stroupe, our CFE, oversees our six traditional franchise locations, and Erik Maasch oversees our seven non-traditional franchise locations, all of which are located on university campuses. We work very closely with Corporate Operations to ensure we are all on the same page across our entire system of cafes and that all are held to the same standards of operation.

Lance Vaught, VP of Operations for Penn Station East Coast Subs

70 percent of our personnel is in operations. Other brands are much more focused on marketing and legal, but we are an operations company. The calculation has always been that Penn Station would be set apart from competitors by prioritizing quality of food and service. There are many ways to be successful, ours is to stay close to the counter and make sure everything is running perfectly for the franchisee and for the customer.

We have 16 area reps — more people with that title than any other title in the corporate office — and two regional consultants, who the reps report to.

People are blown away by how focused we are on operations. Other brands have one rep for every 75 restaurants, we have one for every 20 or 25, so we spend a lot more one-on-one time with franchisees. We’ve always felt its important that franchisees have a personal connection with their area reps, which in turn gives them a personal connection to the corporate office.

Josh York, Founder and CEO of GYMGUYZ

We have a variety of different teams. We have training teams for before a franchise launches, support teams for after the launch, continuing support teams and more. Every stage is covered.

We’ve only been doing this for four years, but we really have things down tight. Still, we always expect challenges. In fact, we embrace challenge. Challenge comes with change, and change is a part of growth. If you aren’t seeing challenges, you are doing something wrong. The key is how prepared you are to deal with those challenges, and we are very well prepared.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.