How to Get Good Training Before and After You Open Your Franchise

By Consumer Dummies

A good franchisor insists that you learn the business and that you keep learning as the system changes and market conditions evolve. Most franchisors train at their offices, at established operations, or at franchisee locations. Follow‐up support is usually handled through the area field representative, who acts as the liaison between you and the home office.

Getting good initial training

Expect to cover a lot of ground during your initial training. Initial training should be aimed at teaching you and your staff how to produce and deliver the franchisor’s product or service the same way every time. But good training is more than simply learning how to make the product.

Franchisees should learn the following:

  • Standards and operating procedures

  • Food safety and storage (if the franchise is a restaurant or a store selling food products)

  • Technical operations on products and services (nonfood franchise)

  • Leadership and business management

  • Problem solving

  • Tips for understanding the customer experience

  • Brand positioning (how the franchisor wants the public to think and feel when they hear the brand name)

  • Merchandising and pricing methods

  • Marketing and advertising

  • Labor management, including recruitment, supervision, and motivation

  • Techniques for training staff

  • Cleaning and maintenance

  • Safety and security

  • Vendor relations, purchasing, receiving, stocking, and inventory management

  • Financial management and business plan development

  • MIS/POS systems

    A management information system (MIS) is the computer system used to manage business matters (accounting, payroll, and so on); a point‐of‐sale system (POS) is used to manage sales activities (cash registers, pricing, and inventory).

  • Communications, both internal and external

  • Site selection, construction, landscaping, and store design

Good training instills in the franchisee the franchisor’s brand philosophy; teaches franchisees everything they need to know — from opening the business in the morning to closing at night; and gives them the sources for additional or emergency support.

Most franchise systems begin training after you sign the franchise agreement and pay your initial fee. Many provide training in segments such as the following:

  • Initial training to assist you in site selection and development

  • Training for both you and your management personnel

  • Training for your initial staff

  • Continual training that introduces your staff to new products and services

  • Replacement staff training when employees leave the franchise

How much training you can expect depends on the industry, the complexity of the business, and especially on the franchisor.

If the industry historically has high staff turnover — and the franchisor requires you to send your staff to the franchisor’s training program and then charges you to train your replacement staff — you will incur additional training costs. These costs are a good inducement to recruit and retain good employees.

In some systems, you can expect only a few days of training, and often this time is spent working in operating locations. In others, you can spend months in training, both in class and on the job in training locations, and then the franchisor provides continual training for innovations, new products, and your replacement personnel. The Uniform Franchise Offering Circular, or UFOC, details the length and scope of the training you will receive. Make sure you feel confident that the training is sufficient for you to operate your business.

Ensuring that you receive effective ongoing training

In larger franchise systems, field support is usually provided from one of the franchisor’s regional offices. Smaller franchise systems may use the headquarters staff to provide you with your training and ongoing support.

Operating a franchise in today’s economic climate means staying on your toes all the time. You can’t do that by yourself. As a franchisee, you should expect the franchisor to provide you with more than initial training. After your franchise is open, expect the franchisor’s field staff to show up armed with operational, marketing, and organizational support.

You should also expect the company’s help with the rollout of innovations, such as the preparation of new products or the operation of new equipment. The hallmarks of great franchisors are offering new products, updating research, implementing new‐product development, installing state‐of‐the‐art technology, introducing better methods of customer service, and repositioning franchises in the market. These services keep a company more than one step ahead of the competition.