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Franchisees Going Rogue: Marketing Edition


Written by Derek Wenzell

Stop me if this sounds familiar. New franchisees come into your system and they can’t believe that everything is so great. They couldn’t be happier or more thankful for your knowledge and helpfulness in setting them up on the right path. But then something changes. They spend a few years benefitting from that system and they feel like they can go off script.

This happens in every facet of every franchise, from food service providers to marketing. Franchisees going rogue. Since we happen to have a little more expertise in the marketing world than food distribution we’re going to focus
on that.

There are two types of rogue: I’m not gonna participate and I’m gonna do my own thing.

Let’s assume you either don’t have ironclad franchise agreements that allow you to bring down the legal hammer or,
if you do, you would rather take the velvet variety of hammer approach first.

Don’t Want to Participate

There are some franchisees that just get to a point where they are content with how successful their location is or seem allergic to the idea of putting in any extra effort. There’s only one way to convince these types of franchisees to get onboard.

Money talks. You know these marketing initiatives are driving revenue (right?) otherwise why would you be doing them? Appeal to their pocketbook with similar location case studies so they can’t say that the average franchise doesn’t apply to them because they have such a unique location.

Show them not just what the investment looks like on their end but on what they can expect as a return on that investment. Show them numbers and show them testimonials from other franchisees about the benefits. Better yet, get another franchisee to give them a call and tell them why they should get onboard.

Whether it’s online ordering, 3rd party delivery apps, or text programs you have something that will generate more money for these franchisees. That’s what they want to know. You’ve vetted it and you are providing a simple path to participate (right?).

Want to Do Their Own Thing

For those that think they know more, they’ve got a buddy or a local guy who can do it faster, better and cheaper. They have decided that this is all about their location and not the franchise. Getting this franchisee onboard is a much harder sell.

Let’s say that they don’t care that you’ve lowered the price for the entire franchise by having a single vendor partner (hypothetically). How does using your “best fit” vendor give them an advantage when they’re struggling to fight off the increasingly aggressive local competition?

As much as you want to remind them that they became a franchisee in the first place because of the great system you put in place, it’s better to stick with their main motivator. Just like with the non-conformists above, you need to appeal to their pocket books.

However, you do need to add another element and that is convincing/proving to the franchisee that they can’t be as successful without you. The combination of powerful data analysis and learnings from other locations is part of that sell, but the real advantage is that new, turnkey solutions will be provided to them so that they can focus more on running their business and you will help drive people there.

If all else fails, you can always go with the non-velvet hammer approach.