Restaurant Franchises: What You Need to Know

If you’re thinking of opening a food service business, most people go with the traditional route. You open your own restaurant, with all the work that goes with it: thinking of a concept, writing a business plan, crafting a menu, looking for a location, applying for permits, the list goes on.

 

Of course, you can make your life easier by going the franchise route instead. By buying a franchise, you get to ride on the back of an already successful brand. If you are looking for a restaurant franchise opportunity, here are a few things you should bear in mind:

 

  1. Decide on a concept

 

There are many franchise concepts available for every taste and preference, from fast-food chains and takeout counters to coffeehouses and sit-down restaurants. When choosing a concept, make sure it’s something you’re comfortable with. You might find it challenging to run a Mexican fast-food restaurant if you don’t know anything about the cuisine. It can be very costly to back out once you’ve made the jump.

 

  1. Don’t tinker with the formula

 

Franchises have rigid standards and systems in place that you cannot change at will. These standards are one of the reasons why the reason why the brand is thriving and scalable, but it also leaves little room for improvisation. If you’re the type who tinkers with the menu and lighting, a franchise might not be for you.

 

Any changes should come from the top. Fiddling with things without authorization might not only result in loss of revenue, but you also risk having your franchise revoked. If you have ideas or suggestions, send them to the head office first.

 

  1. Brush up on your business skills

 

Running a business involves a lot of trial and error. But wouldn’t you want to lessen your chances of making a mistake? Many businesses fail for one simple reason: The owner doesn’t have enough know-how to run it properly. If you’re thinking of running a restaurant, consider taking a few business classes to supplement your skills.

 

For example, if you’re good at marketing but lack knowledge of basic bookkeeping, you might want to take an accounting class at your local community college or business office.

 

  1. Never stop promoting

 

The lifeblood of any food business is foot traffic—lots of it. And to attract people, you need to do a lot of marketing. Most franchises already have brand recognition, but that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. Your primary job is not to cook, or to manage the staff, but to promote the business. The head office will assist with marketing strategy, but it’s your responsibility to market your restaurant in your locale.

 

It’s for you to decide whether a particular marketing strategy works for your area or not. The head office might suggest running a few commercials to boost traffic. Still, if most people in your town listen to the radio, it’s your prerogative to adjust your strategy to maximize effectiveness.

 

Franchising can be easier than starting a business from scratch. You get support from the head office every step of the way. They provide access to their operational expertise, marketing programs, training materials, among other things. But that doesn’t mean that things will be a walk in the park. They might provide the foundation you need, but success still ultimately falls on you.

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