Consultant For Your Franchise QSR? Part II

Now a motivational speaker is exactly that, someone to stir the blood, to give you the motivation and inspiration to do the things you already knew you had to do and if done well the motivation will last long enough to get some of those tasks completed and hopefully you will retain 10% of that initial motivation over the long term.

A business coach is a different kettle of fish. These people are giving advice that could affect the rest of your life and they are using your money to do it. A business coach must be significantly experienced in your business and have the strength of character to say “Hey that is not my area of expertise; you should get independent advice for that. Here are some people I recommend and have worked with before”

A business coach should be a generalist within your business. Operations is a good basis for a business coach due to the fact that they deal with all parts of the business on a daily basis and will generally be able to steer you in the right direction for those areas where a true expert is needed. Legal and financial are two areas that come to mind.

So if you are looking for a business coach. STOP. Think about why you believe you need one. Lack of experience is a good reason. Running out of ideas to grow sales is not. With some online search and networking you can usually get some new ideas to help with sales. Hey you can even talk to me. It won’t cost you anything…… for now.

If you still think you need a business coach then make sure you do your research. Look for someone who has significantly more experience than you and is in a similar business. If you are in the convenience food industry a restaurant coach may not be the best choice to help you. Check references and make sure they have successfully helped businesses such as yours.

Do you need local help or are the issues you face better dealt with by someone with multi-concept experience. It is sometimes better to learn from outside of your concept. People think differently in different concepts and ideas from one concept can often work just as well in something totally different.

How much can you afford and what return on investment do you expect. Sit down and work it out on a scrap of paper. You may find that it is just not worth the time effort and money.

To tell you the truth, the best business coaches are often peers within your own business. Search out the successful ones and ask them for an hour a week of their time over the next 6 weeks. Take them out to dinner and wrack their brains once a week. You will develop a mentor and friend and save thousands.

Most importantly check the credentials of the business coach. An MBA or experience in presenting means little in our business unless they have done the hard yards just like you. Have they ever owned their own business, worked the 16 hour days, 7 days a week for months on end with their home on the line if something goes wrong. They should at least have an understanding of what the consequences are if their advice is wrong.

Good luck and good hunting.


Want to Hire a Consultant For Your Franchise QSR? Look Carefully

Part one

I have recently come into contact with two business coaches (so called QSR consultants) who are quite well known in their market and seem to have profitable businesses with a reasonable client base.

Now let’s get one thing straight. I do not have a lot of respect for the current crop of business coaches. In my recent memory I have worked for corporations that rightly or wrongly put a lot of time, effort and money into motivational speakers and business consultants to assist them and their franchisees to grow their business, save on costs and look at the long term viability of their business.

After listening to both of these coaches talk on a range of subjects I suddenly realized that everything they said, all the tips and tricks they used, were things that most of the franchisees present already knew. Likely they had even tried these things in some form many times during their careers in the food industry. Sure they had the gift of the gab and colourful presentations that were backed up by lots of pie graphs and interesting anecdotes but… none of it was their own.

All of the information and anecdotes are easily found online or by listening to other business gurus. Now there is nothing wrong with that, I do it myself. It is impossible to gain the information and insights needed to understand a business as complicated as ours without seeking outside help. I have been in the franchise restaurant business for 30 years and still learn something new every day.

What riles me is that these business coaches pass this stuff off as their own. A new revelation, a new way of thinking about your business. Crap! The best they can claim is that they have taken the ideas that have been around since Buddha was a boy and have repackaged it to appeal to the current crop of QSR franchisors and franchisees. It appeals especially to the corporate creatures that love buzz words and have almost developed their own language to discuss the business. You know the type.

Both of these business coaches had similar backgrounds. They started off as speakers in their local church and no, they do not know each other. They have never met and live in different countries. Only one of them had limited experience as a single store franchisee for a medium sizes concept. Both see themselves as business coaches and motivational speakers. My guess is that they both wanted to use their speaking experience to build a business and good for them.

Not good enough!!

Unfortunately it is easy to set yourself up as a business coach. Everything you need is available through a variety of sources – all you need is the confidence, the speaking ability and the time.

QSR Local Store Marketing In A Tough Economy – Cats or Dogs?

You used to have dogs, now you have cats whether you want them or not. Local store marketing (LSM) in this economy can be broken down like this….

Dogs are loyal, they like you because you are you. You feed them and they give unconditional love and loyalty. They protect you even if you are not the nicest person in the world because you are all they know and all they want to know. If you were to pass away in your sleep your dog would mourn you.

Cats are fickle. They make a big show of purring and rubbing against you, they sleep on your lap and will crawl into bed with you at night being very careful not to wake you up but let’s not kid ourselves – the feline motivation is very selfish. If the little old lady down the road is handing out cans of tuna fish and has a soft warm spot to curl up in then your cat may only visit you to see if you have anything interesting to eat and your expensive dry cat food will go moldy in the dish. If you were to pass away in your sleep your cat would eat you.

So what am I talking about? Simple…your customers.

Your customers used to come to you because they liked you and your product. They were willing to pay a little extra because you knew their name and what they liked. You were quite happy to cater to their needs to a certain degree as long as it did not effect your profit line. They were dogs.

Now customers are looking for value-for-money deals and are quite willing to spend the time and effort to search them out. They are willing to walk right past their old haunts to get a two-for-one or a “value meal”. They are all looking for the little old lady down the street with the cupboard full of tuna. They have all changed to cats.

So what do you have to do to get them back? Easy, become a cat person. The smart QSR operators are moving with their customer’s needs and wants so they don’t get left behind. They are planning their LSM to not only capture new customers but to get back or retain the old ones before they run off down the street.

I am a dog person but have had a few cats in my time. To be quite honest with you a warm purring cat in your lap is better than no pet at all. I am willing to be a cat person until the economy gets better and our customers have enough cash to not worry about those few extra dollars. Then I am going to get a dog.

R Stevens