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Darnelle White's picture

Zees can be cooks but get no credit for mgt innovations

This recounting exemplifies what some would argue is the most under-used, absolutely free resource available to all U.S. businesses today: An open channel of honest two-way communication between top brass and the troops on the ground. [S Whitehead, Pizza Marketplace]

Franchisees are much more than "troops on the ground."

The Jim Delligatti story of the invention of the Big Mac eventually became folklore in the industry. Although the franchisor staff at McDonald's would be resistant to change suggested by franchisee entrepreneurs, they gradually would accept franchise owners as chefs who occasionally could come up with a good sandwich idea, thanks to Mr. Ray Kroc. However, the reality was that franchisee entrepreneurs in franchise chains have created and lead brilliant national product, price, placement, national & local promotional campaigns, distribution, supply chain logistics, financial tools, business analytics, corporate governance, and franchise governance efforts.

Those stories go untold.

Franchisees are almost never in the press or among franchisors touted as management gurus and brand problem solvers. Franchisor staff and franchisor executives quickly take credit for management ideas from franchisees. Fortunately, there is a legacy of at least giving franchisee "troops and workers" credit for coming up with a successful sandwich. The folklore of sandwich chefs works against franchisees in that it categorizes them as labor and keeps them at arms length from franchisor management and operations. These "frontline workers" are only deemed capable to give advice to "management" and the "top brass", particularly when it comes to what sandwiches customers will like.