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.

Persistence and Commitment Equal Success for Your Franchise QSR or Café

I was asked a while ago a very simple question by a franchisee of an international system; a system with all the resources and experience of a major player that has been in the business for over 50 years.

The question was, “Why am I not doing as well as the  guy down the road who is in a similar store to mine?”  Pretty simple question with no simple answer. I didn’t want to give him a glib corporate answer so instead kept my mouth shut for a while and said “I’ll get back to you.” I asked a few questions had a look around and went to see the guy down the road.

On the way to see the other store I remembered a franchise system where I had worked many years ago that had similar problems. A good portion of the business was in growth while the remainder was down on the previous year.

Now this system was unusual in the fact that it was a small country (Belgium) that had one master franchisee and many individual single or double unit franchisees. The split was about 40% of the stores owned by the master f/zee and the rest individuals. Close to 80 stores in total so both were a good mix of locations and demographics.

Usually, in most systems it would have been the smaller or individual owned stores that would have been the ones in growth, but in this case it was the opposite. The majority of the master f/zees stores were in positive growth while the majority of the others were not.

When I arrived at the store down the road and talked to the franchisee I had expected this owner to have the same mind set as the Belgian master franchisee.  Now neither of these guys was likable, almost bordering on arrogant (I hope that this is not the factor that makes them successful) but the one thing they did share was persistence and attention to detail. Be it LSM, training, implementation of policies and procedures whatever, both of these f/zees never cut corners where it mattered.

Training was a step by step process that was monitored and evaluated. All steps were signed off by management and nothing was missed nor shortcuts taken. The excuse, “we got busy” was not acceptable, even if it meant going back to the start. Fact was, his team were some of the best I have seen. LSM was planned and costed with back ups ready to go if something didn’t work and all LSM was evaluated on a cost and customer basis. These guys were investing in their future.

They also did this day after day, month after month never failing to follow there own procedures. Most small business owners look for ways to cut corners, save money, do things quicker. I understand that, I have been in the same situation but what I have learned from these two QSR owners is that you cannot do that with the important things. Training, marketing your business, food quality, service, cleanliness and the overall image of your business and team are paramount to the ongoing success of your business.

Fact is, I did not like either of these two guys…..but I sure did respect them and the way they ran their businesses.