Faegre Drinker Franchise Summit
Published August 30, 2022

3 Takeaways From the Faegre Drinker Franchise Summit

The hot topics that the most successful franchise systems are buzzing about

One of the greatest joys of working in the franchise industry is that no matter how long you’ve been around, there’s always something new to learn. I’ve been around the industry a mere four-ish years, and in that time I’ve had opportunities to attend many incredible conferences and learned so much from the panel presentations, roundtables and networking, but I recently attended the Faegre Drinker Franchise Summit for the first time and I was blown away.

The Faegre Drinker Franchise Summit delivered some of the most impactful content I’ve experienced in my years of franchising. With 175 franchise professionals gathered for a day and half of intense learning and sharing in Minneapolis, MN, the legal experts from Faegre Drinker moderated exceptionally well-structured panels that all included audience participation and questions, with interactive roundtables, an inspiring keynote from Alan Stein, Jr., and legal hot topics and industry updates from IFA President & CEO Matthew Haller.

Of all the content shared, there were three recurring themes that that really stood out:

1. Building strong relationships with franchisees is a powerful tool for testing, communicating and advocating for changes within your system. Change is inevitable—at some point you’re going to have to update a POS, shift your marketing strategy, bring in a new vendor…whatever it is, if you haven’t invested in building relationships with franchisees that includes actively listening to feedback around their frustrations and concerns, you’ll get resistance to change, even if it’s a good idea.

2. The way employees experience your brand should be at least as forward-thinking as the way consumers experience your brand. This one really struck me—if you’ve invested in all sorts of cool technology around consumer acquisition and retention but your employees are still filling out paper applications and watching training tutorials on VHS tapes, it’s likely that your franchisees are having a harder time acquiring new employees than customers, which doesn’t make for a sustainable or scalable business model. Joint employer concerns aren’t reasons to not introduce and encourage innovative and forward-thinking tools and strategies to franchisees to enhance the overall employee experience with your brand.

3. Never get bored with the basics. If you want to enjoy long-term success within your system, cultivate a culture that never tires of doing the little things with excellence. If you focus on doing those little, basic things (the systems and processes that are fundamental to your business model) with perfection, the big picture will take care of itself. Also, remember that culture is active. Particularly in uncertain times it’s not enough to have words in manuals and posters on your wall; you have to actively engage with your values, vision and purpose every single day, in every single communication and interaction. 

With most conversations swirling around employee engagement and franchisee success it was clear from several panelists that surveying (both franchisees and employees) is critical to measuring success and progress in a franchise system. Whether you use an internal survey or work with a third-party, the keys to survey success are strategic development of the survey structure and questions, a plan to share results, and deliberate next steps across all levels of your organization. It was not particularly surprising that most of the brands who shared how valuable and impactful survey efforts have been in their system have found that success leaning on the team at FBR to support their survey efforts and market their success as award winners.

If you aren’t ready to engage with a third party partner yet and want to tackle a survey on your own, I’m happy to share the questions on our standard franchisee and employee engagement surveys with you. Schedule a free 10-minute demo to see the questions we ask and what the results can tell you or shoot me a quick email at [email protected].  

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About the Author: Emily George

Emily is the Director of Membership Recruitment & Retention for the International Franchise Association (IFA) and a former client consultant at FBR. She enjoys collaborating with franchise brands to help them improve and grow. Emily lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, Eric, and three cats, Phil, Reese and Eliza. Outside of work she loves to spend time gardening and cooking with friends or shaking up a cocktail in her home-based cocktail bar known as The Banana Stand.
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