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What Makes A “World-Class” Franchise

I am often asked what it takes to become a world-class franchise. The answer is simple, but far from easy to achieve.

Based on our experience surveying thousands of franchisees over the years, I have found that the single greatest predictor of a franchisee’s success is the quality of their relationship with their franchise company. A good relationship in almost every case equals a successful franchisee. Rarely have we found a franchisee with a great relationship with the franchisor who is not successful.

On the other hand, while franchisees can be successful even if they have a contentious relationship with their franchisors, it makes the road to success much more difficult. And in most cases where franchisees and franchisors do not have good relations, failure is often just around the corner. And if that happens, everyone loses.

So what is the key to building a great relationship with a franchisee?

Most franchisees depend on their franchisors to provide expert guidance and assistance in setting up and running their franchise business. The more effective a franchise is at sharing its expertise, the greater the chances are that the relationship will be strong and individual franchisees will be successful.

That’s why our "World-Class Franchise" certification was designed to provide a fair and unbiased evaluation of how effectively each franchise company supports its franchisees. Unlike many franchise rankings and lists that are often based on nothing more than a franchise’s ability to open locations or generate sales, or are based on information provided by the franchisor, we believe a more accurate evaluation is produced by going direct to those in the best position to determine the level of a franchise company’s support -- the franchisee.

That is why, when a franchisor hires us to evaluate their company, we contact every franchisee and require that a minimum of 70 percent of all franchisees participate in our confidential survey before we will ensure that the rating is accurate.

And we look at all of the key variables in a franchise relationship, including training, helpfulness of the support staff, quality of products and services and more. This also helps provide us with a sense of whether current franchisees are energetic, successful, profitable, and enthusiastic about the future of their franchise business.

The result is a clear picture of the current state of the franchise as well as a good sense of its future outlook.

Why is this important?

To the potential franchisee, the importance is obvious. When a potential franchisee makes the decision to invest in a franchise opportunity, they want a clear, unbiased assessment of each franchise they’re considering. They want to make sure that their financial and personal investment will be well spent.

For the franchisor, earning the right to display the World-Class Franchise seal signifies a documented commitment to supporting and assisting franchisees. But it signifies much more. It signifies to the potential franchisee that the franchise company is so serious about supporting its franchisees that it is willing to have an independent third party like the Franchise Research Institute find out what its franchisees think about the level of support they receive.

And a franchise company that cares that much about the honest opinions of its franchisees is well on its way to becoming a World-Class Franchise.

About the author: Jeff Johnson is the CEO and Founder, Franchise Research Institute

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About Jeff Johnson

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Jeff Johnson is the Founder/CEO of the Franchise Research Institute and FranSurvey, The Institute was established in 2003 to study and promote high standards of excellence throughout the franchise industry. For further questions about our franchisee research services, please contact Geri True, Director of Marketing and Communications at 800-410-5205 ext. 257 or email

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Franchise Consultant