Infographic - Food Franchise Pre-Opening Schedule (Click on image to enlarge view)
Infographic - Hotel Franchise Pre-Opening Schedule (Click on image to enlarge view)
Overview of Pre-Opening Process
In business, preparation is everything. A franchisee’s approach to the months that precede opening day will determine the business’s initial success. While the franchisor will guide you through the process, it’s essential that a franchisee understand the timeline that comes before Grand Opening.
The pre-opening process – the time from the day you receive approval to the day you open your franchise – is different from franchise to franchise. The timeframe also is dependent upon factors like construction and training demands. The beauty of franchising is that you’ll be partnering with a corporate entity who’ll have turned opening a franchise into a science. That said, the launch phase is driven by the franchisee and your preparedness is essential.
The general process of launching, though, is consistent across all franchising industries. The first step involves sorting out the financial and legal issues that will get your business off the ground. At this stage, you’ll be communicating regularly with your own lawyers and the franchisor’s legal department. You will sign the legally-binding agreements, including licensing deals, in this period, which tends to take up about a month.
Once these formalities are dealt with, your main focus will shift to opening the franchise itself. The length of this process will be determined by whether your franchise requires a new building. If so, you will be working with a design team and finalizing a building site. New buildings can take months to construct, but you will need to keep an eye on the evolution of the building. The process if you are moving into a pre-built or resold retail space is less-demanding, though equally-important. Once the physical space exists and the signage provided, the interior must be fitted to suit the franchisor’s requirements. Timewise, this is the longest phase in the prelaunch process.
The next phase of your launch – the orientation period – will probably prove the most critical. First, you will travel either to the franchise’s corporate center for intensive franchisee training, or spend a significant amount of time on-site with an experienced franchisee. Following this period, you will have to hire and train your staff. At this stage, the Grand Opening will be weeks away. The week before opening might be the most critical. You’ll have to provide some last minute training and hold a soft opening.
Manage all of the details properly and a successful opening can lead you towards a successful career in franchising.