The Franchise Team

Franchise Team

How combining creativity and operations can amplify a franchise brand’s success.

By Drew French

Ingenuity plays an integral role in any brand’s longevity; however, it must be coupled with operational excellence to ensure success. How can brands strike the right balance between creativity and operations for long-term growth?

Here are a few ways you can channel out-of-the-box thinking into a successful and sustainable franchise business.

Empower Franchisees

As a business owner, it is important to value creativity and foster it at every level of the brand, from the corporate office to the local stores. As a brand grows, it can become harder for leadership to keep a finger on the pulse of every local market it serves and maintain creativity at the store level.

Your franchisees are your best resource when it comes to localizing your brand, so build some creative freedom into your model to encourage them to find unique ways to engage their local communities. Do this exceptionally well, and it will soon become a cornerstone of your brand.

At Your Pie, we take pride in localizing each of our 50-plus stores to best fit the communities they call home. Whether it’s a mural inside the store by a local street artist, or an ongoing giveback to a special cause within the community, our franchisees are always finding new ways to make Your Pie their own. By empowering our franchisees to take ownership of their creative localization, we have been able to build deeper and more lasting relationships with our customers than had we replicated the same corporate concept in every market.

Inspire and Educate

Most franchise brands host an annual conference where franchisees and corporate leadership gather for a couple of days to evaluate the past year and dream for what’s to come. Your conference is a perfect opportunity to re-engage your franchisees and inspire creativity for the year ahead, while also continuing to educate on operational excellence.

Avoid filling your days with presentations and panels; be sure to schedule some down time, as well as some fun activities that have no agenda. This will give franchisees an opportunity to connect organically and exchange ideas, inspire one another and learn from shared experiences.

In addition to inspiring creativity, your conference also allows you to remind your system that customer experience drives the bottom line. Address any pain points in your current customer experience and identify what improvements need to be made across the system to become the best in the category.

What operational outputs do you want to perfect in the coming year? Whether it’s learning customers’ names, making a second table touch or streamlining the ordering process, use your time with a captive audience to emphasize the importance of providing an exceptional experience and creating shareable moments to keep customers coming back for more.

Be Positive 

As a leader, it is important to demonstrate a strong work ethic while maintaining positive attitude in everything you do. Personally, I have found that I’m more apt to come up with new and innovative ideas when I’m focused on what is working well, rather than focusing on the myriad challenges that come with leading a brand. Leading with positivity will only benefit your company culture by fostering an environment of collaboration, active participation and problem solving.

Challenge your franchisees to adopt this attitude and project positivity onto their teams at the local level, too. This is especially important for companies whose millennial and gen Z employees are often seeking more than just a job. These generations are known for wanting to have a positive impact on the world around them and are often looking for mentorship in the workplace.

To attract a team with diverse ideas, but with a common work ethic and vision for success, you must first foster a positive environment that is conducive to team-building. Like anything in business, good leadership must start at the top in order to attract good people at every level.

Do What is Right

Business owners have to do what is right for both their team members and their customers day in and day out to achieve long-term operational success. While it is important to identify creative ways to localize your franchise, one thing that must stay consistent across markets is the experience.

Sometimes teams fail to teach the “why” when they train a new team member or a new franchisee. You’ll see significantly more buy-in when you clearly define why your business does things in a certain way, and the end-results are always better when everyone understands the purpose behind the process.

It’s also important to be able to look in the mirror and accept when you need help. When our franchise first started growing, I had countless ideas for ways to elevate our brand, but I struggled to put them into actionable plans. I recognized the need for operational and franchising expertise and brought on our current CEO, Bucky Cook, who has been an invaluable asset to our brand’s growth and success. Excellence is an ever-evolving process, and it requires both creative visionaries and business-minded, operational gurus. Both are a necessity and an asset to a successful franchise.

Drew French is the founder and president of Your Pie. French opened the first Your Pie location in Athens, Ga., in 2008.



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