John Aizlewood, chief development officer at Pizza Hut Delivery, has some expert advice if you’re searching for the perfect franchise partner
If you’re reading this magazine, chances are you may well be considering taking the step to start a franchise.
It can be a daunting move, particularly if you have never done it before. The good news is the majority of franchise businesses offer a supportive, nurturing environment and are there to provide you with the right training and guidance you need to succeed.
Over the years I have met hundreds of people who have run successful franchise operations. If you’ve made the decision to start a franchise business, here are my top five tips to help you find the right franchise partner:
Pick the right brand and industry for you
As a starting point, choose a brand you admire and want to work for. You will become a representative of that business, so you should be proud to work for it.
It helps if you have an interest in the industry too. This will be your job for the foreseeable future and particularly if you’re looking at a people focused industry, it shows if you are passionate about your work.
I recommend researching different industries and brands to make sure you’re comfortable with the prospects on offer. For instance, the takeaway industry is performing well and represents a viable opportunity for people considering a new business venture.
This decade, expenditure on takeaway food is expected to grow to £7.6 billion, according to market research company Euromonitor International.
Have confidence in the business
While your priority is focusing on your first franchise adventure, you never know where your business might go in the future, so it’s worth thinking about your long-term goals when you start out.
As an example, our first ever franchise partner in the UK now operates a total of five stores, while others operate hundreds. Therefore, it’s important to look for a franchise partner that has solid plans for growth to support your ambitions.
We recently announced plans to open a further 200 stores in the UK - building on our existing 700-store portfolio. This represents an investment of £40 million over the next three years and the creation of 3,000 jobs.
Look at recent news stories about the business and ask your potential partner the right questions to help you make the correct investment decisions.
Look at the support network
At the start of your franchise journey you will likely be interested in having a strong support network in place, so that you can be guided to make the right decisions for your new business.
This includes help from other franchise partners, as well as assistance in marketing and communications to help you understand the business better.
We have a network of experts who are constantly available to help franchisees get the most out of their businesses. For instance, our Pizza Hut Delivery franchise council is made up of existing franchisees, who offer support and advice to colleagues and make sure our franchisees are never alone.
Through these relationships and this support network, we make sure we develop solid working partnerships that will last well into the future.
We also have a marketing board, which is again made up of franchisees alongside representatives from across the business. The aim of the board is to ensure all our marketing initiatives have the approval of Hut representatives.
As a franchise business, we set a central marketing strategy for the brand, which can often mean introducing special deals, new products or new initiatives at our Huts.
It is, therefore, hugely important we have the buy-in from our franchisees before we launch any campaigns. This helps us ensure they’re understood by our franchisees, but also - and importantly - that they are effective.
Review the training on offer
For those franchisees starting out for the first time, training and development should be a key consideration to ensure you are prepared to run your own business.
This could include training on recruitment, marketing and operations - just some of the ingredients you need to make your business a success.
We see training and development as hugely important and know we can only deliver faultless day-to-day operations if the team looking after our customers has the right skills.
When they join us, each franchisee will go through a comprehensive in-store training programme, where they will learn all the basics needed to run a Delivery Hut.
Importantly, our training takes place over a number of weeks and we ensure it’s tailored to previous experience, as well as the role the franchisee plans to play in the business. In some cases, they will have a hands-on role, but in others they will employ a principal operator to handle the day-to-day running of the Hut.
Choose a business that will listen and learn
While you need a strong support network and good training and development opportunities, it’s important to choose a franchise partner that listens to what you want and need.
We have built long-term business partnerships with our franchisees. Our goal is to always be a collaborative franchisor and ensure we are constantly involving and interacting with our partners, so that we can learn from them and gather ideas to help drive the business forward in the best direction.
You must do your research fully in order to find the franchise partner for you, as it can make all the difference to your enjoyment and success in your business venture. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours in the franchise marketplace.