Quality control is a hugely important thing for franchises. At the heart of all franchise businesses is one concept - integrity. The success of a franchise is built around the concept that a consumer can travel anywhere in the country, or indeed the world, and receive the exact same service they would get in their own home town. That could mean french fries that taste the same. That can mean an oil change carried out to the highest standard. In order to exist as a national brand a franchis must doing everything in its power to assure integrity.
Yet I had no idea just how far some franchises were willing to go to assure that kind of product uniformity. According to ABC, many franchises employ private detectives in the role as 'secret' shoppers' to investigate the veracity of burgers, donuts and much more. They speak to the former head of Loss Prevention at Dunkin' Donuts who says he used to be "able to reach in and pull out a donut, and be able to smell and determine whether it was a Dunkin' Donut."
Apparently there are over 300,000 people operating undercover as something like franchise detectives at the moment essentially doing quality control.
We'll tear the whole sandwich apart. How much did the cheese weigh? How much did the meat weigh? It's all about controlling loss and making sure that franchisees are following brand standards. That's why you have Big Macs everywhere with no ketchup. It always has to have the special sauce," Mershimer also said.
It's a fascinating story, isn't it. I knew quality mattered to franchises but I had no idea they would go to such lengths. Next time you're ordering a sub or a burger from your local food franchise, look at the person beside you. They could be doing detective work.