What Does It Really Mean to Franchise My Restaurant

If you are the type of restaurant owner who likes to create menu items then you might be able to relate to this piece. When creating a new menu item,  it all starts with a vision; then you plan it out and carefully pick your ingredients . You then prepare the item and along the way tweaking it. Once you have it perfected you roll it out and start selling it. What was once an idea in your head, has now become reality. It’s very likely that one of your biggest joys is watching people enjoy what you have created, hearing them rave about it and these people keep coming back for more. Guess what, that is exactly what franchising is ALL about. Initially your restaurant probably started out as a vision or an idea. You took that vision and created a plan for your restaurant. Everything from how it looks to the food that you envisioned serving. After quite some time of making a few adjustments and seeing what works you have a restaurant that is doing great. Now that your restaurant operations is down to a science, you want to duplicate it. You may be asking yourself what does it really mean to franchise my restaurant, will franchising my restaurant change the quality of my food and how do I know if it is time to franchise my restaurant? All of these are very good questions and let’s jump right into it.

When you franchise your restaurant, it’s really not much different than when you first opened your restaurant and needed to hire different people to help you. The only difference in franchising is that you are not hiring your own people, instead you have a franchisee who is responsible for doing all that on their own. In franchising, the franchisee is not an employee of yours but rather a mini-you directing the ship (more on why franchisees are not employees). When franchising, a franchisee is someone who has bought into your concept and has a vested interest in making the business work because they are leveraging their own resources (time and money) to make it all happen (compared to an employee, head chef or general manager who is someone that you hire to do a job and is simply collecting a paycheck… you might find that these employees aren’t real good at thinking outside of the box or being resourceful on their own because let’s face it they really have nothing to lose because either way they are getting paid). When bringing on franchisees, these operators must know every aspect of how to run your restaurant. This means you will be responsible for training them how to do everything that you have learned to do over the years (such as: who and how to hire, how best to manage employees, how to keep food costs low, your methods of serving customers, how to make the food (including presentation standards), how to attract new customers, and this of course is just the tip of the iceberg (check out our article on training franchisees). As a franchisor it is not just about teaching someone how to run your restaurant but it is really helping them get into their own business. This means your experience and assistance in things such as finding locations, building out the restaurant, strategies for getting butts in seats, etc. becomes very important. You may now ask, “okay, when franchising my restaurant what’s the drawback?” The drawback is you will need to have patience and devote time to your franchisees to train and support them in every aspect of running your restaurant. The advantages of course are that these people will be opening your restaurant using their own resources and are self-sufficient. Duplicating this effort over and over again results in your restaurant having a presence in markets that you otherwise can’t get into yourself.

Taking it one step further, when franchising is done right there are many different ways that you can monitor food quality once your franchisee has their restaurant operational. This includes but is not limited to: requiring your franchisees to purchase certain products and ingredients directly from you (not necessarily pre-made meals but perhaps certain ingredients or combination of spices), requiring that such products and ingredients are purchased only from specific vendors, ongoing site visits, inspections, etc. These are just a few examples of things that we build into the restaurant franchise programs we create (read about our strategy when franchising your restaurant). The idea here is whatever you can do on your end to make things simple for your franchise operators, without losing the freshness of your products, will be beneficial for everyone. By the way, all of this operational oversight is in addition to any administrative oversight that you will have as a franchisor.

Now that you have a pretty good understanding of what it really means to franchise your restaurant you are probably asking, “how do I know when is time for me to franchise my restaurant?” After you have mastered your menu and are satisfied with how your restaurant is operating, perhaps you have customers who come from all over just to eat your food. You may even have customers thinking you are already a franchise because your restaurant is so polished. You are in a spot where you can even run your restaurant blindfolded because you know it like the back of your hand. You may also be experiencing rapid growth, gaining local recognition (whether it is press or online) and maybe your restaurant has even won some awards. Taking your restaurant to the next level is really just about teaching someone else how to do everything that you are doing (learn about duplicating what you are doing). Some triggers that may indicate it is time for you to franchise may look like: customers flat out asking how they can run one of your restaurants, property management companies wanting your restaurant in their different locations or you simply have a hunger to get your restaurant out there in other markets but you just don’t have the time or the money to do it yourself (unless you have a huge infrastructure or are backed by a private equity group it is usually hard for an operator like yourself to open up multiple locations on their own).

If you are at that tipping point and you know instinctively that getting your restaurant out there is what you need to do not just because of the demand for your food, but to satisfy your passion for growth; then maybe it is time to seriously think about franchising your restaurant. Call us directly at 1-877-615-5177 or send us your contact information. We will gladly talk with you and further answer the question, “what does it really mean to franchise my restaurant and is it time?” You can also visit our main website to learn more about franchising.