Interested in working in a dynamic, diverse environment that caters to the needs of new people everyday? Then a career as a restaurant franchisee might be perfect for you! Here are six tips for running a restaurant franchise successfully in an undeniably competitive industry.
When you’ve found a franchise opportunity that suits you, the next step is understanding how to succeed, how to stand out from the competition, achieve profitability and avoid pitfalls. Read this article, and put yourself in the best possible place to start a restaurant franchise on the right foot.
Why start a restaurant franchise?
The food service industry is an extremely lucrative area of operations, and restaurant franchise operations see consistent, reliable demand from the UK public. In fact, the value of the restaurant sector is expected to reach a value of £11.7 billion by the end of 2021, growing a third in recent years [Lumina Intelligence]. Beyond the clear and growing demand for restaurant food, there are many advantages to running a restaurant franchise, including:
- Opportunities for expansion and adaptation (delivery options, multiple units, so on)
- The chance to benefit from a brand name/connect with an existing customer base
- The ability to make a difference in the local community
- Access to a support system and franchisor guidance every step of the way
- The varied, exciting day-to-day work
- The chance to develop a brilliant team of employees and managers
>> Read more:
- 12 Things to Consider When Identifying the Right Location for Your Restaurant Franchise
- 3 Ways to Get Funding For Your Restaurant Franchise
- Regulations and Licences Required to Open a Restaurant
- 14 Tips for Defining and Reaching Your Restaurant's Target Customers
- Hiring Employees for Your Restaurant
- Choosing a Concept for Your Restaurant
How to run a successful restaurant business
As a franchisee in the restaurant industry, you will need:
- Customer service skills
- Commercial awareness
- Interpersonal and teamwork skills
- The ability to communicate
- The ability to organise and solve problems
You’ll also need to cover all of the following bases, from making sure your money will go far enough to expertly marketing your franchise once everything is up and running...
1. Go into the investment feeling financially certain
Making sure that you have the funds you need to support your franchise (and not just to make that initial investment) is extremely important, and if you fail to do so, you might doom the future success of your franchise. Initial and running costs will vary depending on the brand name and the location, type and size of the investment, and different franchise businesses will charge different fees and rates for things like royalties and advertising.
To give you an idea of what you can expect: The average cost of establishing a franchise in 2018 was £42,200 [British Franchise Association]. And, to give you an idea of what you can expect within the pool of restaurant franchise opportunities, here are two examples:
- Wolf - This Italian street food franchise requires a minimum investment of £100,000.
- Centenary Lounge - Multiple investment levels are available with this Art Deco inspired restaurant/cafe franchise, but the minimum initial investment cost is £75,000.
2. Choose the right location for your franchise unit
Location is one of the keys to success for a restaurant, and choosing your base carefully is a must. Your decision will be impacted by your franchisor’s guidelines, the available franchise territories, and the constraints of your budget. You should be considering the following questions when choosing the right franchise unit location:
- Will this location be accessible and preferable to my target market?
- What’s traffic like in the area, in cars and on foot?
- Is the location accessible and visible?
- What’s the parking capacity, and what level of parking capacity do I need?
- Who will my competition be in this area?
Parking and accessibility can be as crucial to a restaurant's success as great food and service. There is a famous saying in real estate that also holds true for restaurants: "You make your money when you buy." A restaurant's location influences many aspects of your operation, including the menu and style of the dining room.
—Lorri Mealey, The Balance Small Business
3. Take advantage of training and support opportunities
Training and support is one of the biggest benefits to life as a franchisee. You don’t have to do it all on your own or learn it all on your own when you’re a member of a franchise network, supported by your franchisor. Though you’re likely to benefit greatly from the initial training programme and the set-up support on offer, the help and guidance you can receive doesn’t end there. Take advantage of the ongoing training and support opportunities that arise throughout your role as a franchisee, and keep yourself up to speed with all the latest in your industry.
>> Read more:
4. Follow the proven business model all the way to success
Similarly, becoming a franchisee means gaining access to the franchise’s proven business model. Don’t try to divert from this model for the sake of it, when it’s been shown to work successfully. Listen to the hard-learned expertise of your franchisor and follow that proven business model to profitability and success. Think of it as your business bible, helping you to do any and all of the following:
- Market your business
- Run your business
- Create value for your customers
- Beat the competition
- Reasonably assess costs
- Determine which products and services will sell, and which won’t
5. Provide excellent customer service
Without excellent customer service and positive customer feedback, a restaurant is unlikely to thrive. Invest time in training staff and emphasising company values, and making important customer service skills like friendliness, attentiveness and patience the norm for servers in your restaurant. Cultivate a flexible, positive and empathetic workforce that can remain calm, actively listen and problem-solve, even when customers are demanding a lot.
6. Invest time in marketing your business
You’ll cover some marketing details in your business plan, and more will likely be covered in the franchise agreement signed by yourself and your franchisor. It’s also not unusual for a franchisor to request an annual marketing plan from a franchisee. Whatever the level of marketing prowess required from you, good marketing strategies are sure to improve and promote your restaurant business. Consider things like:
- Launching a good website
- Making engaging content that genuinely adds value from the customer perspective
- Using social media regularly and engaging with customers in this space
- Creating solid relationships with the media (digital and print)
- Understanding your competition and targeting areas that they aren’t
- Controlling the sales funnel
- Considering the needs and wants of the local community to boost reputation
Running your own business in the food service industry could tick all your career boxes
After reading this article, you should have a strong idea of how you can run a restaurant franchise successfully, and all that you’ll need to account for. Now’s the time to keep researching and expanding your knowledge base ahead of (or during the process of!) an investment. Stay on Point Franchise, and discover the state of franchising in the restaurant sector in 2021, or read up on some top tips for building a restaurant franchise business plan.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©