Welcome to part three of our blog series on the nuances of the Freedom Franchise (here are parts one and two).
Now we get to the fun part. Why our franchise model works for you. And I recognize it won’t work for everyone. And, I also recognize that my views of our business model have changed over time. I don’t think absolute freedom is as precious as I used to. I think rational, well thought out, focused freedom is. I will come back to that again at the end of this ─ but for now let’s focus on why this concept works for you.
I generally think that the best businesses are the ones where decisions are made at the lowest possible level that is rational. All decisions can be made at the entry level — but you shouldn’t do that. There has to be some overall vision and strategy.
Decisions should be pushed down to the lowest level that gets and influences the strategy of the company. In a franchise system, that generally means at the store level. That allows the people most in tune with the customer to make the decisions. But it also begs for the Freedom Franchise. By all means, let customers and markets inform such things as your bakery’s look, menu and social involvement, etc. But in order to execute everything effectively, let the franchise set the underlying systems to support that.
The modern-day “mom and pop”
True mom and pop stores have changed. The world is too smart and in touch. Now mom and pop have to know what they are doing. At least that is how the food world is. It wants local and family and fresh. But it also wants good and sophisticated.
Where do you get all of that? Well, you can go to the Culinary Institute of America for a degree. Or you can work with a Freedom Franchise. What people want is a place where they know the owner and can also trust them. Local. Family. Trustworthy. Tasty. And that is why the freedom model rules. You get all of that but you get the background support and systems, too. The trick is to use them. ;)
Familiarity is one thing, being dated is another. In 2015, people don’t want stores that haven’t been changed since 1992. Some of the reasons are esthetic. The checkered tablecloth and hand-written sign look makes people wonder where else you are cutting corners. As does using cash boxes or simple cash registers. Or not supplying nutritional information. Or not using technology.
Mom and pop have to stay on top of those things and a Freedom Franchise does that for you ─ while still allowing you to stay in touch with your customer base. Quaint increasingly looks old. And in the food business, old generally translates to people questioning safety. Our franchise model lets you move beyond this while retaining your right to make calls on look and feel, menu planning and local presence as you see fit.
In closing, I want to share some things I have observed in my 14 years of managing Great Harvest’s national franchise system. First, it manages me and not the other way around. But I digress. . . Keep in mind that just because something works for me doesn’t mean it works for you. One way of doing things shouldn't be taken as the only way that will work.
Freedom is a balancing act
Freedom in business really does require an understanding of that old story about true freedom of speech, which is when someone else gets to say something that you or I may find totally repulsive. Freedom in a franchise means that not only do I get to do what I see fit but also that I need to respect the opinions of others.
Finally, I admit that my views on our franchise system have changed over the years. Why? Technology. Virtually everything I mention that should be systematized in a franchise system is technologically driven.
Technology-based systems mean more freedom
The advent of iPads as POS systems changed everything. They are affordable. And they have been adapted to work as time clocks, labor management tools, ingredients control tools, communication devices, loyalty program trackers, test marketing servers and more. None of that was true three years ago. With those it makes little sense to not coordinate systems. That also means that our franchisees now have more time to do their own thing and establish their own presence.
Our franchise system is a proven business model. We added the word freedom in front to convey the flexibility you have to make it work for you. Take what we have that is proven to work and then make it your own where it matters. That is truly the best of all worlds.
Find out if the Freedom Franchise is a great fit for you:
Read the other posts in this series: