This year, franchisors are projected to open 26,000 locations, contributing 800,000 new jobs in the USA alone*. And it’s easy to see why such explosive growth is also on the cards in the UK and Europe.
On paper, hospitality franchising is the easiest and fastest route to scale your brand. Limiting the financial risk of opening new sites, faster growth, and less day-to-day running responsibilities are just some of the benefits for successful franchises.
But unfortunately, as some often find out the hard way, it’s easier to get franchising wrong than it is to get it right. Without proper preparation for staff onboarding, and training, control and consistency of service will always be the first to suffer.
Here’s how to set yourself up for success with 3 key considerations for your staffing needs.
Avoiding ‘the old way’ to train franchise staff
By now, we’re going to assume you might have heard franchising advice that sounds something like the below:
- “Get as many ‘ticks in the box’ as quickly as possible. You’ll know your partners are ready to operate once all mandatory checks and training are complete.”
- “When it comes to training, focus on operational elements. Almost everything else is better learned on the job and should be handled locally.”
- “Give the franchisee as much information as possible. There should be a correlation between volume of information and consistency of service.”
Here’s where some of this traditional advice could do with a review.
From our work with leading high street operators who have made this model work to outstanding levels, these are the 3 most important factors to get right with your franchise staffing:
1. Keep staff engagement high (from a distance)
For any hospitality operator, it’s enough of a challenge to onboard, upskill, and retain staff under your own roof. But for a franchise model to work as intended, these standards need to be rolled out consistently over multiple locations run by your franchise partners.
In other words, it’s about training other people’s staff with all the due care that you would your own.
To make sure your franchise staff operate to a high standard consistently, your training methods must be equally consistent. Tick-box e-learning programs and passive video training are all too often completed once and never repeated. Simply put, with competition levels where they are today, that won’t cut it.
Instead, make sure your training is powered by the more advanced mechanics available today. Adding gamification, storytelling, and interactive experiences can turn your training from an obligation into something your staff will want to compete and repeat.
The repetition factor is key here. Human beings forget as much as 80% of what they are taught if training happens only once*. By repeating the material multiple times, our chances of remembering our new knowledge increase exponentially. The only way to make this apply to training is to make it engaging, and even entertaining, for your people.
And that kind of repetition is key to learning more than just operational tasks.
2. Go beyond just operations and instill your values at scale
It’s one thing to roll out new menus, hygiene routines, and branding guidelines. But what about ensuring your company values are upheld?
Your values are what will set you apart from your competitors. They set the tone for what your customers will expect when they walk through the doors of one of your franchise branches. But these ‘softer skills’ are notoriously hard to train for consistently, and even more so to measure.
Here’s where the effectiveness of your training will pay dividends. Your company values must be baked into every customer and employee interaction. And the best training solutions will allow you to customize your training to accommodate this.
LEON Restaurants pulled this off to outstanding effect in 2020 with the launch of its gamified training. As a mobile-first solution, LEON’s training allowed team members to brush up on the company’s values in a bite sized format when it suited them. All through a medium that they were already familiar with – their mobile devices.
Amongst those that completed it, 95% of LEON team members agreed that the training ‘helped them better understand LEON’s values’.
3. Ensuring transparency and effective measurement
How do you plan to accurately and consistently measure the levels at which your franchise partners are operating?
As mentioned earlier, one of the great benefits of franchising is that you don’t have to be on the ground to show every new team member the ropes. But this is a double-edged sword, as you also won’t be there to ensure their training levels are up to scratch.
As your franchise expands, site visits alone will not be enough. Your training methods need to generate enough data points and analytics to give you a comprehensive overview of where all franchise branches are with their staff progression.
Ensure you have complete transparency between you and your franchisees, so any issues or shortcomings with training engagement or repetition can be spotted ahead of time before they become a headache. Whatever your chosen core KPIs – retention, time to competency, revenue – they should all be measurable against, and impacted by, your staff training.
If these links are not abundantly clear, it’s time to upgrade your provider.
Giving yourself the best possible chance at franchise success
Franchising is a wonderful opportunity for any hospitality operator to expand their business. Just make sure your staff training solutions match your ambitions.
Do away with the tick box exercises and offer your franchise staff genuinely engaging training material that will excite them for their new roles. Make sure your company values are included and reinforced at every step. And ensure you have all the analytics and data points you need to spot any gaps ahead of time, to help maintain a transparent, trusting relationship with your franchise partners.