Critical Aspects of the Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship
CHOUDHRY: “Motivation and communication are by far the most essential keys to a successful relationship between the franchisor and the multi-unit operator. Without both of these, the multi-unit franchise can’t be completely successful.
I was a trainer for Edible Arrangements for about four to five years before opening my first store, and if I didn’t have the communication from Edible Arrangements we wouldn’t be where we are today. The clear communication from them is what brought success to franchisees like me and to the company as a whole. That’s how Edible Arrangements went from a handful of stores, not so many years ago, to more than 1,000 locations. What a multi-unit franchisee needs is for the franchisor to communicate a clear vision on where the company is headed. If a franchisor doesn’t give their multi-unit operators this vision, then we can’t understand the big picture that’s necessary to be completely successful. Luckily, we’ve always gotten that clear vision from Edible.
Also, as we say in the retail world, “the customer, our guest, is always right.” As a franchisee, you’re the customer of the franchisor. If you don’t have motivation from your franchise and don’t feel like someone is looking out for you, that’s when there’s a disconnect, and a franchisee can begin to feel that he are she isn’t being supported. Edible Arrangements headquarters has always supported us. That’s why we’ve been able to succeed with each of our four stores and grow our locations to become among the leaders in sales nationwide with the goal to become number one overall. Without the franchisor’s support, we couldn’t have achieved the success we have achieved nor will we be able to achieve our ultimate goal.
Because we’ve been given both motivation and communication, I have a lot of trust in Edible Arrangements and can continue to trust they will lead us in the right direction.”
SONENSHINE: “A healthy and strong relationship between a franchisor and its multi-unit franchisees is crucial to the long-term success of a brand. The most important aspects of this relationship are trust, cooperation and mutual respect. Each side must see the other as a partner. It should never be an ‘us versus them’ mentality, but a true partnership.
For the relationship to work, each must benefit. The franchisor must ensure that the franchisees are profitable and can meet debt and development obligations. The relationship will fail if the franchisor is focused too much on its own bottom line. Whenever the franchisor makes a decision affecting the brand, it should ask itself, “How does this help my franchisees succeed?”
The franchisees must also do their part. A brand is most successful and stands the greatest chance of long-term viability when its franchisees follow the dictates of the brand. Franchisees need to remember they bought into the brand and agreed to be bound by the rules for a reason. There is strength in numbers and franchisees’ bottom lines can only benefit when they stick with the program.
Wingstop refers to its franchisees as ‘Brand Partners.’ As Wingstop’s system faces food costs challenges now and in the future, Wingstop and its Brand Partners must remember to be good partners and to respect each other. As the writer Eric Hoffer once remarked, ‘People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.’ In the franchisor-franchisee relationship, this works both ways.”