As a franchise consultant, I often have clients who fear the systems, procedures, rules, policies and procedures they have to adhere to as franchise owners equate to “Straitjackets” that stifle innovation and creativity.
While, yes, you do have to comply with the franchisor’s systems … for example, there are 3 pickles on the McDonald’s Big Mac, not 4, not 2 … but 3 and ONLY 3. But, franchises create systems from years of experience and trial and error. That’s one of the greatest reasons for investing in a franchise -- you don’t have to “invent the wheel” yourself.
That said, can you “make the wheel rounder?” The short answer is … absolutely!
Here’s the favorite example I share with my clients: to this day, the best-selling sandwich in the history of McDonald’s is the Big Mac.
The Big Mac was developed by a franchisee!
Cutting and pasting from Wikipedia, here’s a brief history of how this best-selling product came to be:
The Big Mac had two previous names, both of which failed in the marketplace: the Aristocrat, which consumers found difficult to pronounce and understand, and the Blue Ribbon Burger.
The third name, Big Mac, was created by a 21-year-old advertising secretary who worked at McDonald’s corporate headquarters.
The Big Mac proved popular, and it was added to the menu of all U.S. restaurants in 1968.
Even well-established franchises that have hundreds of franchisees and hundreds of units throughout the US, innovation is encouraged. The franchise companies realize they the great advantage of having many, many franchisees who are all working the same processes. With that many smart people operating the same businesses, some franchisees are inevitably going to find ways to accomplish procedures more efficiently and/or effectively.
Franchise companies embrace this fact and actually create venues to promote improvement and innovation.
Every well-developed franchise company eventually forms a franchise advisory council made up of franchisees from throughout the system. Franchise executives meet with their advisory councils typically each quarter and during these meetings, the executives report on progress from the past quarter and objectives for the next quarter and for the year. But they also use this forum to solicit input from the franchisees.
What’s working well? What’s not working well? How can we improve? What are the franchisees in the field saying? Are there better ways to accomplish what we do?
Even more, at just about every annual conference franchises in any industry conduct, typically each year, they present “round table sessions.” These sessions are usually conducted in large meeting rooms at the franchise convention hotels. In the rooms are a half-dozen or so 20-seat round tables and at each table sit franchise owners who have found a technique to accomplish the systems of the franchises more efficiently and/or effectively.
Franchisees attending the conventions move from table to table every 15 or 20 minutes or so at the sound of a bell in order to be able to learn from each of their fellow franchisees who are hosting round tables.
Franchise companies treasure such events because when a franchisee learns how to improve procedures, advertising, marketing, or operations from a fellow franchisee, the franchisees are quick to adopt the new methods.
No … franchising is not a “Straitjacket.”
There is plenty of room for innovation and improvement and many franchise owners enjoy helping the entire franchise system evolve, improve and thrive.
Who knows? After you invest in a franchise, you just might be the franchise owner who creates your franchise system’s “Big Mac!”
Dave Cooley, Franchise Consultant
Let’s learn more about franchising together.
Call me: 720.259.9475 (Denver – Mountain Time)