Love The Ones You’re With | Global Franchise
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Wednesday 7th December, 2022

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Love The Ones You’re With
Love The Ones You’re With


Love The Ones You’re With

Selling and opening more units at the expense of properly assisting the ones you have is a huge mistake, says Doug Mark of Learning Zen

Selling and opening more units at the expense of properly assisting the ones you have is a huge mistake, says Doug Mark of Learning Zen

I’ve been in the franchising industry for about seven years now as an LMS supplier. I work with different kinds of businesses, in a myriad of industries, and it blows my mind when I come across a franchise that is more focused on selling and opening units than assisting the ones they have. You are trying to build an empire, I get it, but empires aren’t built with pixies and fairy dust. I did a demonstration the other day for a pizza franchise. The specific franchise doesn’t matter for this story to resonate, trust me you’ve seen this movie before. This wasn’t even the first time we’ve talked to this group. They are always too busy opening new stores to make training a priority. Again, I get it. You are opening new stores because you want franchise fees to start trickling in so you can buy your beach house in Bali. But before you know it, if you don’t stop trying to expand and start trying to teach your franchisees why they chose you to begin with, it’s going to burn out and fade away.

Franchisees are not often wealthy people with money to toss around and hope something works out. They’re usually people like you and me with more bills to pay than money to burn. They’re often dumping their entire savings into this opportunity. Getting them to your facility to train for a couple of weeks and then setting them loose on the world isn’t going to cut it. You need to invest in your franchisees. Give them a path to make them successful.

Not all people are created equal and not everyone has the patience, knowledge and knowhow to be good teachers and educators. You can’t expect that all your franchisees are going to have the same level of skills that you have and you spent maybe two to four weeks with them. How long have you been doing this? How many pizzas have you made? Do you know when pizza has expired? When it is past its prime and no longer represents your brand, your legacy, your blood, sweat and tears? If you wouldn’t eat it don’t reheat it and slap it in a box and send it on its way to a customer. That person eating a dried out, reheated version of your pizza is someone who quite possibly might stop and take the two minutes it takes to blast you on social media.

Your brand, your legacy

It’s a brave new world and if you don’t put out the quality and consistency that brought you into franchising to begin with, you might as well pack up and go home. The public runs the world. If you are putting out marginal interpretations of your food it will be reported, diners will take notice. It’s going to cost you a lot less now to throw that old slice away and build a fresh pie that represents how you built your name. That name, your brand, that’s your legacy and that’s how you build your empire.

You find a way to stay focused on the quality and the customer experiences the key differentiators that built your company to begin with. I promise if you can keep that consistency you will make money, and lots of it. It’s not like the folks at Chick-fil-A are hurting for cash. Do you think they train their employees? Invest in them? Work with them? Have you been to one? Any of them? I’ve become a connoisseur of this brand, they aren’t a customer but I wish they were. Every location I’ve been to, including at an airport, it’s clear that Chick-fil-A invests in their people and trains their staff religiously, pun intended. And let’s be frank, airport restaurants are a nightmare and often pale in comparison to an off-airport version of that brand.

At Chick-fil-A their staff is friendly when taking your order, handing out the order, always asking you, the customer if there is anything else they can do to make your experience better. That seems novel. Heck, they have someone walking around the dining facility checking in on you, making sure everything is okay. Running low on fresh lemonade? Not a problem! They’ll refill it for you and bring it out to your table. Who does that, and at a fast-causal joint, no less! It’s as if every employee in this brand has been empowered to solve any customer’s problems.

You don’t get that through osmosis. You get that from training and investing in your most valuable assets, your employees. Stop and think about this from a prospective franchisee’s side. You are asking them to dump their life’s savings into your concept. Wouldn’t they be more comfortable doing this if you had a training program in place that was consistent, available any time and fun to use? Look, I know you are making a massive investment but we are here to support you. I can’t be with you every day but a version of me can be. We’ve recorded all the training for all the positions you’ll need to hire for so you don’t have to be a world class trainer, you can focus on the business. Today’s learning management systems are often intuitive, easy to use, have built-in authoring tools and won’t break the bank. It doesn’t need to be my LMS, but invest in someone’s so you don’t leave your franchisees wondering why they ever bought into this concept.


Douglas Mark is the President at LearningZen. He has been involved with all forms of training for almost 20 years and is referred to as the Learning Sherpa. He’s been with LearningZen for seven years. LearningZen is an easy to use, cloud based and cost effective online training platform(LMS). LearningZen has built the easiest authoring tool on the planet allowing subject matter experts to take their knowledge and transfer it into beautiful online courses.

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