Published July 30, 2019

357 Audit Questions to Turn Your Compliance Check into a Support Tool

Enhance your field audit by getting inspired by the questions of others.

Do your franchisees feel supported during compliance checks? Most franchisors will say “no”. Even though we don’t want this to be the case, it is unfortunately true.

As a leading supplier of audit tools for the franchising industry, FranchiseBlast has explored dozens of audits and they are sharing it with Franchise Business Review and our community. Using questions wisely can elevate the compliance check from an exercise in “catching” franchisees doing something wrong, to “coaching” them to make the business be its best.

This comprehensive resource will show you sample questions from the top franchisors around the world, and much more:

  • 357 questions including Customer Service, Marketing, Food Safety and Quality, Cleanliness and Management.
  • How to make sure that your questions link back to your processes.
  • How to “audit your audit”, ensuring it is as effective as possible.
  • Where to find your processes – it is easier than you think!

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This resource can be used by people across the operations team. Though the questions can be used for inspiration, the guide is really a resource to strengthen your audits overall. It can also be used to enhance your franchisee relationships and build trust.

How to Use this Guide

Follow these three steps to make best use of this guide.

1) When building a questionnaire from scratch, you’ll likely start with the standards you think are meaningful and complement them with some you find appropriate from section two of the guide Field Audit Questions. This should give you a baseline checklist. This is typically where most people stop. Over the years, various members of the team will haphazardly add or remove questions reactively based on things that happen in the field. Let’s look at what you can do to make this process proactive.

2) The next step is to annotate every standard with an operational process; bring up the level of abstraction. While you build this library of processes in a separate document, group them logically under systems.

3) Then think about the strategic initiatives of your franchise and how you’d measure if they were successful or not. Take the initiative and think about it from the facet of each System. Think about which processes you’ve already established include standards addressing this strategic objective. If not, ponder if there are any questions you should be adding to your questionnaire to address this.  This is a top-down way of adding new standards into your questionnaire.

You can also go bottom-up and reflect on each standard. Ask yourself why is it there? What strategic initiatives or key results does this tie to?  We’re smiling and welcoming guests because we want to drive customer satisfaction scores. We know happy customers return faster and have higher average check sizes. This generates revenue.

Leading and Lagging Indicators

Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a lagging indicator to evaluate how well you’re doing on customer satisfaction, but these standards are leading indicators. If you stopped doing all these special little touches today, your NPS score would suffer over time. After reviewing a standard, if you’re not sure why it’s being evaluated, it may be a candidate for removal.

Speaking of removing questions in an audit, pruning questions from your questionnaire is a very valuable exercise to do on a recurring basis. When questions have 97-100% compliance and aren’t linked to anything critical or strategic, it is a good idea to remove them to reduce your auditor’s workload. Why bother evaluating something that never fails? This also comes into play with relation to having impactful audit scores; we’ll cover more of this in section four, Is Your Franchise Audit Too Generous.

To summarize the process:

  • Pick and choose a number of standards or questions
  • Annotate every standard with the backed process or system
  • Top-down: Starting from strategic initiatives, review if the audit includes enough standards to properly evaluate a key result. Bottom-up: Review if your standards are still relevant and prune dead weight

As a final note, once this exercise is done, you will have good quality questions in your franchisee field audit questionnaire. It’s important, however, to structure your audit to follow the flow of the coach throughout the unit (outdoors, front of house, back of house, coaching, etc.), not by process/system. This will make their visits more efficient and they’ll be able to spend more time coaching.  Take a peek at section three of the guide, Audit Your Audit Checklist for other valuable tips and tricks for continuous questionnaire reviews.

We hope that this resource is helpful to your franchise, to continually build operational best practices.

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Franchise Business Review can help you measure the success of your operations initiatives and identify gaps. Learn more about how we can help you obtain detailed, objective, quantitative and qualitative data on the health of your franchise system – or get started now by registering for your free survey.

About the Author: Jason Kealey

Jason Kealey is President and CEO of FranchiseBlast, a software development firm producing an integrated software solution for franchisors. Jason co-founded the company in 2007, building it from the ground up. He is a licensed Software Engineer, has a Masters Degree in Computer Science and lives in Gatineau, Quebec.
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