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Franchisee lawsuits in the restaurant industry are heating up. Their existence causes both franchisor and franchisee to pause and ask, how can a harmonious franchise system be created?
Fast Casual explores the secret, answering that it is good communications from franchisor to franchisee that provides the solution.
According to this old recipe, first stir in a franchisee advisory council and a franchisor who will really listen to franchisees. It is important to make sure you clearly tell the franchisees the direction the chain is going. "Franchisors need to let franchisees know what direction the company's going to take next year, the year after that and five years later," says Popeye's CEO Cheryl Bachelder.
And what is the special spice that brings out the flavor? "Each group's interests aren't always aligned, so people have to put their egos aside and work toward a balance," says Aziz Hashim, a 40-unit franchisee of Checker's, Rally's, Subway and Popeyes concepts.
What do you think? Will this recipe create harmonious franchise relations and success?
As for me, I'm all for better listening, flexibility and long-term planning. But I don't think those are sufficient to do the job. Franchisee Hashim has hit on a salient point. Each group's interests are not always aligned. I am beginning to think that franchise governing structures are more often than not misaligned, reflecting some sort of Rube Goldberg apparatus borrowed from corporate systems of yesteryear. It needs to be fixed. Good communication skills are not enough to smooth over the incongruencies of purpose or the abuses built into franchising.
A new scenario is needed. I will explore this notion for some time to come. I plan to ask many of the game changers and thought leaders inside and outside of the industry on what that future franchising organization should look like in order to be best aligned and harmonious.