If you’re a restaurateur considering taking that next step into franchising your business, it’s crucial you do it right. After all, there’s no guarantee of a second chance if your plans go awry. Before you even consider taking the risk, you must be fully confident that it’s a prudent long-term decision. Timing is everything, so don’t rush into this next phase of your career. Examine the signs first, and if your restaurant doesn’t seem quite ready yet, start planting the seeds necessary to achieve your goals now. When harvest season arrives, you’ll know it.
Decide if Franchising Makes Sense
Franchising isn’t always the best course of action. Some restaurants just don’t fit the mold of a typical franchise, and there’s nothing wrong with that. For your restaurant to be franchisable, it needs to be marketable, duplicable, and potentially profitable. Without these three essential components, you’re going to have a difficult road ahead of you. Of course, all three factors are highly subjective. If you believe your restaurant has what it takes, your main challenge is going to be convincing potential investors.
Consider Your Staff
Your team is the lifeblood of your business, and franchising without a solid staff is difficult and risky. Do you feel 100% confident in your managers? Are your employees ready and able to meet the upcoming challenges? Do you have team members willing to transition to your new restaurant, or are you going to have to hire and train a new crew? The people who work at and run your restaurants can make or break the franchise, so wait until you have a firm, dependable personnel foundation before you attempt to expand.
Solidify Your Local Reputation
Before you even think about franchising, you need to have a strong, loyal customer base. At very least, your community should be familiar with your restaurant, and ideally, you should be established at this point. Your restaurant should have plenty of Yelp reviews, blog features, magazine mentions, and other press. If you’re still relatively unknown, spend some time and money marketing your restaurant before you try to branch out. If you’re struggling to promote one restaurant, there’s no reason to open another. Look at your current promotional strategies as a way of creating a template to eventually follow for future franchises. Cling to successful techniques, and abandon the ones that don’t pan out. Once you figure out what works, and you start seeing real results, you can use the same strategies to scale up.
Talk to Potential Franchisees
To franchise your restaurant, you need people who are interested in investing. If you’re feeling confident this is the next logical progression for your restaurant, put some feelers out there. You don’t need to draw up any contracts just yet, but make sure your effort is going to be worth it. Put the initial framework in place first, and then your ideas will start to take form naturally. While it’s important to approach the next chapter of your restaurant’s story with caution, you’re probably not going to receive a lightning bolt message from the sky telling you this is the time. Sometimes you need to take risks to generate rewards. You want to do your due diligence, and talk to other more experienced restaurant owners. Become an authority on franchising before you get started, and learn from the mistakes of others. In the long run, the extra time you spend preparing will pay for itself.