Franchisor – franchisee relationships are difficult and sometimes contentious. With so much money riding on the line, you can see why tensions can emerge.
For anyone interested in the topic, there’s an interview we’d highly recommend from Franchise Times with Cheryl Bachelder, the CEO of Popeye’s. Cheryl has had huge success in the upper echelons of some of America’s best franchises. The former president of KFC has taken up the reins of Popeye and has instilled a spirit of openness between her and her franchisees.
“I’ve never believed you could run a restaurant from an office,” she says and it turns out she has already visited more franchises than all of the previous Popeye’s CEO combined.
One thing that will interest both franchisors and franchisees alike is that Bachelder has instilled an ethic of data analysis in all of the Popeye’s franchises.
“I’m a real data-hound and we didn’t have any data,” she says. “We were without (necessary) information; that was the biggest wake-up call.” Her team came up with four goals and four strategies that could be measured with the new information she was mining. For instance, headquarters had no data on profitability or unit volume and traffic counts. “We were opening new units, but not tracking returns,” she says.
It turns out that information is power and Bachelder has seen her franchisees implementing changes to costs that have increased profitability. From reading the Franchise Times story, it’s no surprise that Bachelder has been successful in business. But it’s refreshing to see her sharing her vision with others.
That way, everyone in a franchise system benefits.