NFA Franchise Consultants

The Franchise Training Program

Franchise Development: The Franchise Training Program

Stephen S. Raines
President, National Franchise Associates
Atlanta-based Franchise Consultants

Franchise Training Program

Franchise Training Program

In my over three decades of experience as a franchise consultant, working in franchise development, I am often asked, “What makes one company succeed in franchise development while another doesn’t?”

Rarely is there a single reason for success in franchise development.  Here, I will examine one of the many factors that can help Franchisors create a win-win situation in the franchise development process.

As you perform your franchise development, carefully consider your franchise training program.  There is no one-size-fits-all franchise training program.  It is critical to the ultimate success of your franchise development to determine the proper franchise training program for your particular company.

When developing your franchise training program, realize that a number of factors will determine the optimum content, length and participants.

  • When creating your franchise training program, ask yourself “What will I have to teach my new Franchisee (and possibly his/her staff) for the new franchise to operate properly?”  If you have trained managers for your company-owned location, any such education can be incorporated into your franchise training program.  Also, your franchise consultant should be able to provide you a template for a franchise training program.  Any existing Manuals you may have will help you structure the content.
  • In developing your franchise training program, next determine who should be trained.  Certainly train the Franchisee if he/she will be owner/operator or the Franchisee’s General Manager if the Franchisee is not responsible for daily operations.  Your franchise training program may include other managers or key personnel, for example, Kitchen Manager, Technical Manager, Customer Service Manager or Lead Technician.
  • You must then establish the length of time needed to impart the necessary knowledge and skills to each person in the franchise training program.
  • Decide the training format for each topic in your franchise training program.  The majority of training will be hands-on, particularly for operations.  However, some areas, such as marketing or human resources, will need a classroom setting.
  • Select your trainer(s) for your franchise training program.  Initially, most or all of the training will be conducted by members of the Franchisor management team.  However, some of your key employees may be instructors as well.
  • Determine where to conduct the training.  Typically, most of the franchise training program happens at one or more company-owned units.  The franchise training program may also occur at a franchise location.
  • Another issue when creating your franchise training program is the training materials needed.  Most of NFA’s clients use their Operations Manuals.
  • Choose when to conduct the training.  When should the Franchisee be back on site to concentrate on the opening?  Should all Franchisee personnel train at the same time, or should you stagger the training schedules?
  • How much time should the Franchisor spend at the Franchisee’s location performing additional training?  What topics should be covered? When is the best time to conduct this segment of the franchise training program?

Of course, your franchise training program will evolve over time.  It is important during your franchise development process to do your best to create an organized, methodical franchise training program.


Initial Franchise Training Program

As a franchise consultant, people often ask me “What else should I consider when franchising my business?

A key element in successfully franchising your business is creating a strong initial training program. Here are some of the questions I recommend we address together during this step of franchising your business:

  1. Which franchisee representatives attend training and who is the trainer?
  2. When does the training occur?
  3. What subjects are covered?
  4. How many days/weeks will it last?
  5. Where will the training happen?

When franchising your business, you can anticipate that as your franchise program expands, your initial training program will change. Here, I examine the pertinent questions to consider when first franchising your business.

  1. When franchising your business, you must determine which franchisee representatives must be trained. Of course, the answer varies with the industry and specific business model. Typically, it includes all franchisees involved in the operation. It may also cover staff in managerial or supervisory roles. In addition, when franchising your business, decide which, if any, of your employees will be the trainers. Who has the expertise and capability to teach your system to franchisees and their team?
  2. When to schedule the training is a consideration while franchising your business. Perhaps you should structure the training program to permit your franchisee to return to the franchise location to handle certain tasks, such as meeting representatives of local licensing agencies or receiving incoming equipment deliveries.

As part of successfully franchising your business, also determine when to train the franchisee’s team members. Usually, the majority of the franchisee’s employees are trained at the franchise immediately before opening.

However, when franchising your business, it may be wise to train in advance some of the franchisee’s key people so that they are fully functional on opening day. When setting up this training schedule consider the following:

  1. How much pre-opening payroll will the franchisee incur?
  2. Is the key person likely to forget what he/she learned in training while waiting for the location to open?
  3. Will the key personnel find other jobs because of a lengthy break between training and franchise’s opening?

Continued next month