Getting A Higher Price When Selling Your Restaurant In 2019

Getting A Higher Price When Selling Your Restaurant In 2019
Chris Viscup a prominent New York Business Broker with Transworld said “One of the other most important parts of selling your restaurant is to make sure your books are in order. It will be your job to prove out how much money trickles down to you through the company and what this can look like to potential buyers.

Getting A Higher Price When Selling Your Restaurant In 2019
by Gary Occhiogrosso Contributor
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

It’s 2019 and after years of hard work you’ve now decided to sell your restaurant, perhaps to open a different business, or retire or relocate. Whatever the reason, selling a restaurant requires a strong strategy, careful planning, and detailed preparation. In this article, we’ll explore some essential tips and steps needed to put you on a path for a quicker sale at the highest possible price along with a smooth transition.

Let’s Start With First Impressions.

The appearance of your restaurant not only matters to your customers, but it also matters to potential buyers. Bad “curb appeal” on the initial visit may be all it takes for a potential buyer to take a pass on a more in-depth look into the investment potential of your restaurant. Make sure everything inside and outside the restaurant is clean. If your establishment is a free-standing building, then the quality of care for the property will be an early indication of the level of care taken in building and growing the business over the years. Items like trimming the grass, keeping the parking lot and surrounding area clean and free of trash are crucial to curb appeal. Maintaining clean windows & glass doors, polishing handles, deep cleaning the grout in tile floors and shampooing carpeting are some simple things that will pay dividends to the buyers first impression. If the restaurant is a storefront location, then you’ll also need to make sure any cleaning and improvements that may be the responsibility of the landlord are taken care of before showing the business.

Nothing says “I don’t care” or “I’ve given up on this place” more than broken or missing equipment. If your kitchen equipment is not in 100% working order, it may set up doubt in your financial presentation regarding production capabilities. Also, nonfunctional equipment is detrimental to employee morale and productively. Ultimately that lack of productivity shows up on the Profit and Loss Statement (P&L) in the form of increased labor cost. Every part of the restaurant should present itself as credible to handle the current volume as well as to grow the business in the future. Make sure all of your equipment works. I can not emphasize enough to take the time in advance to replace or repair any broken equipment.

Remove personal items you do not intend to include as part of the sale. Doing this helps avoid any misunderstandings later between buyer and seller. For example, your personal laptop computer used for the business sitting on your desk may be mistaken as part of the assets for sale. Later in this article, we’ll cover making sure a complete equipment and asset list is written. However, the cleaner and less cluttered the visual aspect of the facility, the less chance for any misunderstanding when it comes time to negotiate.

And lastly regarding the facility, don’t be afraid to spend a little TLC money. Making a small investment, such as freshening up the paint, or replacing ceiling tiles, or reupholstering a ripped seat cover can go a long way to increase the visual appeal of your restaurant. These quick fixes will have a positive impact on your sale price and the time it takes to sell the business.

Put Your Financial House In Order Now

Presenting an honest, straightforward, financial picture of your restaurant is the most critical factor in determining accurate valuation and sale price. Professionally documented results regarding unit economics, profitability, and true owner benefit are what buyers, their accountant, and lawyer will be investigating in the due diligence phase of the process. Whether or not potential buyers purchase your restaurant depends on whether or not they think it will make money and provide a reasonable return on investment (ROI). Therefore, the financial information you provide to the buyer is the most significant factor in determining the success of the sale.

Ideally, you have practiced clear and organized bookkeeping since you started your business. If not, then arrange financial records going back at least one year before the time you list your restaurant for sale. That way potential buyers will have a trailing 12-month picture of the restaurant’s performance and trending. It is likely that buyers will ask to see a profit and loss statements and a balance sheet. If you are unable to create them yourself, have your accountant prepare them in advance so you do not feel rushed later in the sale process.

Make A To-Do List For Yourself

Financial statements aren’t the only aspect of getting organized. This step also includes creating a written list of all hard assets such as furniture, fixtures, small wares, and equipment. Also, a copy of your lease should be available for review in the due diligence phase of the transaction. Additionally, be prepared to document that all of the restaurant’s bills are up to date. Be ready to prove in writing that your sales and payroll taxes are current and paid in full. Employee payroll information needs to be in a presentable format and up to date. A to-do list will help you make sure everything gets done so that the sale goes as smoothly as possible.

The Hunt For Buyers

There are two ways to find potential buyers: find them yourself or hire a business broker. The process of valuation, listing, advertising, and vetting potential buyers is time-consuming and in my opinion, requires professional experience and know how. Although many sellers take this step on their own, a professional business broker can support the process by offering recommendations and presentations that save time and attract more potential buyers.

When you interview brokers, be sure to ask them how long they have been in the business of selling businesses, what their specialty is, how many listings they have now, and how many restaurants they have sold in the past year. Also, ask if they have prepared contracts for this type of transaction and how they plan to determine the value of your restaurant. Discuss their answers with your financial and legal advisors to determine if the broker has the right qualifications, experience, and track record.

One prominent New York Business Broker I spoke with said “One of the other most important parts of selling your restaurant is to make sure your books are in order. It will be your job to prove out how much money trickles down to you through the company and what this can look like to potential buyers. Without this component, you will either fall prey to lower offers than you would otherwise be getting, no offers, or end up with buyers wasting your time and never getting to the finish line. Not having good books leads ultimately to the two biggest deal killers – lack of trust and too much time for the transaction to close. With a good broker and good books, most of the heavy lifting is completed in the beginning, before putting the business on the market. Once you sign with a broker, there should be significant time dedicated to proving out the numbers – what they are, and what they could be. Every minute you spend in the beginning will save 5-7 minutes later.”

On the other hand, if you decide to go it alone and forgo hiring a business broker, then you’ll need to get some additional advice from your attorney and account. They can assist you with the proper valuation and selling price. Setting an unrealistic or emotional price on the business will slow the sales process or cause it to fail altogether. Actions to take also includes advertising and listing the restaurant on websites that post restaurants for sale. Keep in mind professional business brokers also use these websites, so competition exists. However, if you study these websites carefully, you should be able to get a good idea on how to word your ad for better results.

Always Be Ready

Whether you list your restaurant on your own or with a broker be prepared to show your restaurant to potential buyers at all times. Since you may have a buyer visit you unannounced, it means keeping the restaurant clean, fully staffed and well-managed no matter the day and time. You never know when a buyer might drop by to take a look. I also remind my clients that any customer in the restaurant may actually be a buyer doing some research before they contact you.

Once The Buyer Is found

At this point, if you’ve found a buyer and negotiations have been successful, then the final step is the paperwork necessary to complete the transaction. The paperwork usually starts with an “Asset Purchase Agreement.” Your attorney should prepare this document for you. The Asset Purchase Agreement details all the components of the sale. Items such as the sale price, the terms (if you are holding a note), a full and complete equipment list, the amount and value of the inventory you will have at the time of closing, the length of time (if any) that you are willing to train the new owner as well as any contingencies regarding the lease assignment from your landlord and of course a deadline date to close the transaction. Regardless of whether you’re working with a business broker or selling on your own, in all cases, I recommend you have your attorney involved to ensure the Asset Purchase Agreement covers all the various aspects of the transaction.

In addition, once you have a buyer engaged but before the final closing date, you should continue to operate your restaurant as if you are not selling it. Acquisitions sometimes fall through at the last minute, and you don’t want to create extra work for yourself in getting everything back up to par again if that happens.

Plan And Proceed

Smart and detailed planning will minimize glitches and deal-killing problems, throughout the transaction. Business Brokers warn: “The biggest disasters all come with one thing in common – wasted time. Without proper planning, not only may you decide to accept an offer lower than what you desire, but you will lose a good portion of your time getting there. As the saying goes – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Make sure you front-load your business and get all the materials you need in order before you sell it.”

I recommend you spend the time upfront, planning the sale, organizing paperwork, investigating brokers and deciding the best time to execute your plan. Selling a restaurant can be a smooth, simple transaction if these tips along with the advice of your accountant and attorney are put into practice.

Tips to Protect Your Business From Increased Sexual Harassment And Cyber Security Claims

Tips to Protect Your Business From Increased Sexual Harassment And Cyber Security Claim…

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash.

Employment-related risks can represent the most damaging exposure to a franchiser. Claims involving sexual harassment, wrongful termination or discrimination, from a current or former employee can potentially cause irreparable damage to a franchise brand and reputation resulting in significant financial cost. Franchises Need To Protect Themselves From Increased Sexual Harassment And Cyber Security Claims

Tips to Protect Your Business From Increased Sexual Harassment And Cyber Security Claims

With Permission
By Ed Teixeira
FMM Contributor

Sexual Harassment – Social Issue Concept

After hitting a two-decade low in 2017, sexual harassment complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission increased by more than 12 percent from last year. The federal agency has also been aggressive with litigation this year, filing 41 sexual harassment lawsuits so far, up from 33 in 2017. At the same time, cyber-crimes which involve the theft of personal information has cost some companies millions of dollars in damages to its reputation and from monetary claims.

Employer Liability Claims Increase

Over the course of this year, stories of sexual harassment have dominated the headlines. In what USA Today dubbed the “Weinstein Effect,” various sized companies have witnessed employees take part in the #Me To movement. This increased focus on sexual harassment has created a surge in protests, discrimination lawsuits, and government investigations, with almost no industry being immune, including a recent demonstration against McDonald’s franchise locations. Regardless of whether a sexual harassment allegation has merit, these claims can cause a company significant damage to its brand and sales. Seven in 10 human resource professionals said they believe sexual harassment complaints at their workplaces will likely be “higher” or “much higher” in 2018 compared to previous years.

A poll by the Human Resource Certification Institute found that “63 percent of HR professionals said that acts of sexual harassment “occasionally” or “sometimes” occur in their workplaces and 30 percent said that such acts “frequently” occur. Only seven percent said that such acts “almost never” or “never” occur.” The trend toward more sexual harassment lawsuits appears to continue as the EEOC increases efforts to crack down on sexual harassment. The EEOC has launched online access for employees to file harassment charges from their homes, with the EEOC.

Employment-related risks can represent the most damaging exposure to a franchiser. Claims involving sexual harassment, wrongful termination or discrimination, from a current or former employee can potentially cause irreparable damage to a franchise brand and reputation resulting in significant financial cost.

To gain more insight into employer liability and especially sexual harassment claims I spoke with Peter R. Taffae, MLIS, CFE and Managing Director Executive Perils, Inc. In 2014 they introduced a management liability policy, FranchisorSuite®, designed for the unique needs of Franchisors.

Q. How extensive are employer liability claims?

A. Companies of all sizes and industries have been affected by a surge in employment-related litigation and rising legal damage awards.

Q. What can be done to mitigate those risks?

A. Be sure that franchisers, franchisees and their employees are properly trained to understand the risks of sexual harassment, unlawful terminations, and discrimination claims. Have the proper procedures and protocols in place and have financial protection.

Q.What does the future hold for sexual harassment claims?

A. The threshold has been raised for what is appropriate in the workplace. This means that the expectation for proper employment practices is higher. Some experts believe that it will take 10 to 15 years to reverse the trend as current middle age retirees are replaced by today’s younger generation.

Q. Any other threats that franchises face?

A. One area related to the franchise industry that doesn’t receive a lot of coverage is cybersecurity. Every state has primary notification laws, which that when there is a breach of a customer’s personal data, the company or franchiser must notify every customer. In addition, there is no statute of limitations regarding these crimes. For example, if I purchased a meal at a franchise location 10 years ago and their system was hacked, and my personal information was stolen, that franchise is liable.

Franchise restaurants process so many credit cards and have the extensive point-of-sale equipment, that they are vulnerable to data theft. Websites, Wi-Fi and digital kiosks represent additional threats. Any franchise which does any of the following is at risk for a cyber-attack; Accepts credit cards, handles or views private information of employees or customers electronically, has Wi-Fi or conducts a portion of their business online.

It’s important that each component of the franchise industry be prepared to protect themselves from the threat of employer liability and cybersecurity claims.

Six Ways to Finance a Restaurant Franchise

Six Ways to Finance a Restaurant Food Franchise…

Before seeking financing of any kind, make sure you’ve done your own due diligence. Prior to beginning your search, it’s important to know your own net worth, your credit rating, and to have a comprehensive business plan that includes pro forma documents, operations details and market comparison analysis.

Six Ways to Finance a Restaurant Food Franchise

If you are considering investing in a franchise opportunity, the very first question that may come to mind is whether you qualify financially. Most entrepreneurs, restaurant aficionados, or business executives exploring opportunities for a restaurant food franchise will seek outside sources of financing. The golden rule is to expect to contribute 15% to 30% of your own money to start with, and then go from there.

If 30% seems daunting, there’s good news. Often a franchise business opportunity is looked upon by financial institutions as less of a risk, compared to independent business start-ups. This can be further reinforced by the history and recognition of the brand name, the number of units in operation, and even the support provided to the franchisee by the franchisor.

Before seeking financing of any kind, make sure you’ve done your own due diligence. Prior to beginning your search, it’s important to know your own net worth, your credit rating, and to have a comprehensive business plan that includes pro forma documents, operations details and market comparison analysis.

Franchise financing can be complex, but it doesn’t have to feel impossible. Consider these six ways to finance a restaurant food franchise like Taboonette.

1. Friends and family, as well as experienced business owners,d business owners turn inwardly toward friends and relatives to help finance their franchise or start-up business. With this kind of financing, individuals and families get to create their own terms for repayment and enjoy the collaborative support from those closest to them.

2.SBA loans.
The Small Business Administration is a government agency that helps entrepreneurs plan, launch, manage and grow their businesses.1 They work with financial institutions to provide SBA-secured loans. A lender may be more likely to approve financing for individuals backed by an SBA loan because it is 90% secured. This means if the loan goes into default, the SBA guarantees repayment of 90% of the loan to the lending institution.

3.Bank and private loans.
Since the 2008 recession, it has been more difficult to secure bank loans or loans from venture capitalists or angel investors. A bank loan not secured by the SBA is perhaps the most challenging to obtain, but if you have a good relationship with a financial institution, a stellar credit rating and the required minimum liquid capital, it may be a good option.

4.Veterans loan.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, another government institution, offers qualified veterans financing opportunities for franchise and business loans. The program, called the Patriot Express because of its speedy process, makes loans up to $500,000 to active-duty military preparing to transition to civilian life, as well as to spouses and survivors of veterans. The loans come with the SBA’s lowest rates.2

5.Home equity.
A home equity line of credit or second mortgage is a way of obtaining financing but comes with a personal risk. Financing in this way uses your home as security. This means if you default on a business loan, you lose your home. But with sufficient equity in your home, it can be a relatively easy financing source to tap.

6.401(k), stocks and other personal accounts.
It is not unusual for people to tap into their retirement or savings accounts to help finance business ventures. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bernie Siegel, founder of Siegel Capital LLC, discusses a rollover plan where the franchisee creates a C corporation that will own and operate the new franchise business. That corporation then creates its 401(k)-retirement plan. The C corporation’s 401(k) plan then purchases stock in the C corporation. The cash paid to the corporation is then used as the down payment, and the balance can then be financed through an SBA guaranteed loan.3

At Taboonette, we are excited to work with financially qualified individuals to help them reach their goal of owning a restaurant food franchise. Together we look forward to growing both our Taboonette franchisee and customer bases and bringing our delicious trademark Middleterranean® food and a unique dining experience to more hungry guests.

For franchise information contact [email protected] . “Offer by Prospectus only”

1.https://www.sba.gov/
2. http://guides.wsj.com/small-business/franchising/how-to-finance-a-franchise-purchase/
3.https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB120242422031851929

Branding Drives Restaurant Sales

Create Branding To Drive Restaurant Sales And Growth…

A restaurant must connect with the lifestyle of consumers. The first step to doing this is to have a definite name, image, and brand message.

Create Branding To Drive Restaurant Sales And Growth
By Gary Occhiogrosso
Forbes Contributor
I write about the franchised restaurant and food services industry.

In the past, restaurant advertising consisted mainly of print and broadcast advertisements along with word of mouth. Branding isn’t accomplished solely through conventional advertising. Although advertising uses the branding elements, it refers to so much more. Branding is the practice of making a name, symbol, reasons, and guest experience stand out in the minds of consumers. Branding gives the company and its products a competitive edge above other companies which provide similar products. Thousands of restaurants serve hamburgers, but why when people think about burgers, their minds immediately go to McDonald’s or Burger King? It’s because the power of branding connects the product to a bigger picture. Today’s savvy consumers expect more than merely a place to have a meal. They are not only hungry for lunch but eager to connect with the experience the product or service provides.

Spotlight on branding
In today’s noisy advertising environment restaurants must cut through the clutter with a cohesive advertising and marketing strategy. Franchised and chain restaurant brands spend a great deal of time, effort and dollars on this critical aspect of their business model. Creating and enforcing their brand image is a crucial task for their marketing teams. Smart restaurants marketers understand the need for a consistent brand voice with a clearly defined marketing plan. This consistency is vital because locations in the chain must present consumers with the same image and message to avoid confusion and brand dilution.

Additionally, many consumers want to know what a company stands for, it’s mission, how it goes about its business and why you should eat at a particular restaurant. The need for guest engagement has led restaurant marketers to pivot from purely traditional advertising to creating a total restaurant experience. These experiences include social causes the guests share, their experience with friends and family via social media and their connection to a community. The evolution of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Yelp, as well as search engine optimization, and online ads have become the new messaging channels used by marketers to increase “occasion to use” and brand loyalty. Today’s chain restaurants employ tactics including traditional advertising, social media messaging and participating in local events that support the community. Creating value and loyalty through brand image and guest experience lives in the mind of the guest long after the meal.

Creating a connection is key

A restaurant must connect with the lifestyle of consumers. The first step to doing this is to have a definite name, image, and brand message. Usually, the owners of the business and a branding team come together to discuss and decide on what the restaurant will mean to their future customers. This step should be accomplished at the beginning of the business planning.

Jennifer Williams, the founding partner, of “the watsons,” a New York City based branding firm, describes the importance of restaurant branding like this: ” The National Restaurant Association reports that Americans spend $799 billion a year on restaurants. Beyond clothing, restaurants are the most searched type of business online. Competition is fierce, and branding is more important than ever before. Whether yours is a franchise or independent restaurant, it takes more than great food and service to lure customers and build loyalty and repeat business. It takes a well-defined brand that resonates emotionally with your customers. A brand is essentially the personality of your business. Moreover, its value is derived from the connection people make with it. In today’s crowded restaurant sector, where many chain restaurants offer similar menus, your ability to differentiate yourself – can make or break your success.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE https://www.forbes.com/sites/garyocchiogrosso/2018/11/14/create-branding-to-drive-restaurant-sales-and-growth/#537d8cd3487a

Tips for Branding Design Success – Riko’s in Stamford CT

Riko’s: Designed For Success…

Restaurant design plays a huge role in branding. Your guest’s total experience is the difference between success and failure. Especially in the franchise business. Small Business needs to watch how the Big Guys transform their restaurants into memorable experience their customers can take home…

Riko’s: Designed For Success
By Laurie Hilliard – FMM Contributor.

In our very visual world, consumers have developed a keen awareness of design. What we see and how it makes us feel impacts our response to our environment in virtually every facet of our lives. The importance and impact of design in the restaurant industry is an ongoing and growing trend for restaurants as they scramble for recognition. “The U.S. restaurant industry is huge: $800 billion in annual sales with some 625,000 restaurants each trying to set itself apart from the others. One effective way of differentiating a restaurant brand is to design around a theme or concept that conveys a story to customers as they dine.” Reports international architectural design firm, AD&V.

Vincent Celano, founder, and principal of New York-based Celano Design Studio says, “The guest experience starts when he or she walks in the door. ”READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE CLICK HERE”

SELLING & AWARDING FRANCHISES

“In sales, it’s not what you say; it’s how they perceive what you say.”
– Jeffrey Gitome
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Franchising, Be Your Own Boss, Venture, Shark Tank, Mark Cuban, Entrepreneur, Gig Society, Side gig, Franchise your Business

SELLING & AWARDING FRANCHISES
By Gary Occhiogrosso – FMM Contributor

Selling on every level is the principal work in any franchise organization in order to grow your franchise business. Whether it’s selling new franchises or creating systems to support your franchisees to grow their sales or selling your goals to investors, there’so business on the planet that exists without sales.

Have you given thought to the logistics? How do you intend to quickly respond to all the incoming calls, make follow-up calls and address all the prospects questions? How will you ever conduct discovery days, tour prospects to operating units or spend the needed hours to address their fears, concerns and objections? How will you manage your CRM, keep past inquirers in the loop or create buzz that may initiate new buyers and motivate past inquirers to take action now.

A consistent, timely sales effort rules the day. That’s our specialty… We sell! We make the initial contact, we qualify the prospect, guide the candidate through the application process, do the store visits, conduct the meetings & the numerous follow-up calls, the discovery day and work with the prospect each step of the way. You, the Franchisor can stay focused on building the operational side of your business.

One of the most important aspects regarding the franchise sales process is to practice timely response time and create value in the system. That comes from totally dedicated time & focus to the sales process, carefully planning a sales funnel that uses decades of experience, successful track record, industry credibility and franchise industry specific “know how”.

The various steps and numerous hours it takes to close a franchise sale are not something any startup or emerging franchisor should even be thinking about doing on their own.

There is no organization like Franchise Growth Solutions that offers not only a franchise consulting program but also earns its keep by selling franchises for you. It’s our “success-based” upside to offset the low fees for all the other services FGS provides.
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About the Author:
Gary Occhiogrosso is the Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a co-operative based franchise development and sales firm. Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, advertising, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital. Gary started his career in franchising as a franchisee of Dunkin Donuts before launching the Ranch *1 Franchise program with its founders. He is the former President of TRUFOODS, LLC a multi-brand franchisor and former COO of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille. He advises several emerging and growth brands in the franchise industry. Gary was selected as “Top 25 Fast Casual Restaurant Executive in the USA” by Fast Casual Magazine and named “Top 50 CXO’s” by SmartCEO Magazine. In addition, Gary is an adjunct instructor at New York University on the topics of Restaurant Concept & Business Development as well Entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles on the topics of Franchising, Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Marketing. He was also the host of the “Small Business & Franchise Show” broadcast over AM970 in New York City.
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ABOUT FRANCHISE GROWTH SOLUTIONS, LLC
Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC is a strategic planning, franchise development and sales organization offering franchise sales, brand concept and development, strategic planning, real estate and architectural development, vendor management, lead generation, advertising, marketing and PR including social media. Franchise Growth Solutions’ proven “Coach, Mentor & Grow®” system puts both franchisors and potential franchisees on the fast track to growth. Membership in Franchise Growth Solutions’ client portfolio is by recommendation only. www.frangrow.com
Contact: [email protected]

10 Simple Steps To Evaluate a Franchise Opportunity

Whether you’re a multi-unit franchisee, an individual franchise candidate or a representative of a private equity group these 10 steps will allow you to perform a preliminary franchise review. Although a first step in the franchise evaluation process, it can provide an overview of a franchise investment opportunity at minimal cost and expense.

10 Simple Steps To Evaluate a Franchise Opportunity

By Ed Teixeira – Chief Operating Officer of Franchise Grade

A good deal of information has been written and published about how to evaluate a franchise opportunity. Whether one is an individual or represents a private equity firm, it’s important to be able to evaluate and vet a franchise before conducting a full-scale analysis. The following is a way to do an initial franchise review, before investing a lot of time and money.

To perform this 10- step review, you’ll need a copy of the Franchise Disclosure Document for each franchise you’re evaluating. An FDD can be obtained from the franchisor and they’re available from certain Franchise Registration States or can be purchased from franchise vendor sites. If the decision is to pursue a specific franchise opportunity, a complete and detailed evaluation should follow this 10-step preliminary review, which should include utilizing legal and financial professionals with franchising experience.

Contributing to the 10 steps was Mario Herman, a Washington D.C. based franchise attorney.

Following are 10 preliminary steps for evaluating a franchise opportunity:

1. Franchisor Management-review the management background and experience of key franchisor executives and support staff. It’s important that they have experience in the business sector and franchise industry. Franchisor leadership should have a cross section of business skills and experience.

2. Franchisee Territory-The territory should be defined in a consistent manner and allow for franchisee growth. Verify if the franchisee territory is Exclusive, Protected or Open. Franchisors that grant small open territories can result in conflicts among neighboring franchisees as some franchisees will be more aggressive than others. There is also the potential for a dispute with the franchisor over the territory.

3. Franchisee Fees-identify if the franchisor charges other fees for services above and beyond any royalty and ad fund fees. Additional continuing fees for software usage and licensing fees, when added to royalty and ad fees will increase expenses. Be sure that the initial franchise fee and the continuing fees are comparable to similar franchises.

4. Item 20– review the growth of new franchisees and compare to franchisee terminations. This number will reveal net franchisee growth and prevent one from seeing misleading data. Also, the number of Franchises Sold But Not Opened can indicate if the franchisor is devoted more resources to selling franchise versus the growth and development of existing franchises. The tables in Item 20 contains information which can indicate positive or negative performance results.

5. Financial Statements– Unless the franchisor is a start-up there should be three (3) years of audited financials available. Look for a continuing and growing stream of revenues from franchisee royalties. Initial franchise fees should not represent the preponderance of revenues unless it’s a start-up.

6 .Required Suppliers and Rebates– Does the franchisor requires purchases from specific vendors? Compare that information to the data in Item 8, which shows the percent of purchases from the franchisor and other vendors and suppliers. In addition, does the franchisor receive rebates from vendors and suppliers and if yes, how much? Many rebates from required franchisee vendors could compromise the trust between a franchisor and its franchisees.

7.Intellectual Property-Does the franchisor have any confidential,proprietary information or trade secrets that distinguish the franchise from the competitors? Check Items 13-14 of the FDD to determine how unique the system is, and whether the franchisor has a comparative advantage over its competition. Also, does the franchisor have the marks trademarked? Make sure that the franchisor properly and legally controls the brand name, and there is no potential dispute over ownership of the marks.

8. Item 19-it’s important that the franchisor makes a Financial Performance Representation under Item 19. Any established franchisor should make an Item 19 disclosure. The more detailed the financial information the easier to evaluate franchisee performance and make financial projections. If the franchise is a startup there should be financial data for company locations.

9. Franchisor Litigation– franchisor-franchisee litigation is a barometer of the state of franchisee-franchisor relations, is it positive or negative? Has the franchisor acted to protect its system and brand or is it a case of franchisees having disputes with the franchisor, because they are not receiving support or meeting their financial expectations? Some medium to large franchisors reports no litigation while some smaller franchisors may have had many legal disputes. The amount and source of litigation is an area that should be reviewed since it be can be a red flag.

10. Franchisor Training Programs– Franchisee training should be comprehensive and presented by more than one person. Training that includes a portion of onsite training for new franchisees provides real-world franchise experience that the classroom can’t duplicate.

Whether you’re a multi-unit franchisee, an individual franchise candidate or a representative of a private equity group these 10 steps will allow you to perform a preliminary franchise review. Although a first step in the franchise evaluation process, it can provide an overview of a franchise investment opportunity at minimal cost and expense. If you decide to proceed with a specific franchise opportunity, be sure to utilize an accountant and franchise attorney to guide you along the way.
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About the author
Ed Teixeira is Chief Operating Officer of Franchise Grade and was the founder and President of FranchiseKnowHow, L.L.C. a franchise consulting firm. Ed has over 35 years’ experience as a Senior Executive for franchisors in the retail, healthcare, manufacturing and software industries and was also a franchisee. Ed has consulted clients to franchise their existing business and those seeking strategic solutions to operational, marketing and franchise relations issues. He has transacted international licensing in Europe, Asia, and South America. Ed is the author of Franchising from the Inside Out and The Franchise Buyers Manual and has spoken at a number of venues including the International Franchise Expo and the Chinese Franchise Association in Shanghai, China. He has conducted seminars, written numerous articles on the subject of franchising and has been interviewed on TV and radio and has testified as an expert witness on franchising. He is a franchise valuation expert by the Business Brokerage Press. Ed can be contacted at [email protected]

The Importance of Franchisors Building Relationships With Their Franchisees

The Importance of Franchisors Building Relationships With Their Franchisees…

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

“Over my forty-plus years representing franchisors, I have seen too many franchisors fail because they do not realize how important it is for their franchisees to succeed and make money.”

The Importance of Franchisors Building Relationships With Their Franchisees
By Gary Occhiogrosso- Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC.

When Onboarding new franchisees the franchisor should always remember that a common thread to success is the franchisor’s culture of support, co-operation, communication, education, and profitability with their franchisees. Building an ongoing relationship with its franchise community can mean the difference between growing a restaurant brand to hundreds of units or failing before ever making a mark in the industry.

Without these critical components in place, a restaurant franchisee can quickly go “off the rails” and compromise brand standards. It’s not long before many of these franchisees negatively redefine the brand. Poor service, improperly prepared menu items, lesser quality ingredients and overall appearance and cleanliness of the restaurant are just a few reasons why a healthy relationship with your franchise owner is essential.

It Starts At the Beginning.

Creating the proper franchisor /franchisee relationship builds success for both. This relationship building must begin right from the start. Successful restaurant franchisors know that ramp-up time and getting a new restaurant profitable takes smart planning and hard work by both the franchisor and the franchisee. The training, support, communication and ongoing assistance the franchisee receives early on in the relationship can set the tone for the entire term of the franchise agreement.

One of the most crucial steps a franchisor can take begins when selecting a franchisee. Franchisors should conduct an in-depth interview as part of a thorough vetting process. Along with the obvious discussions such as past management and business experience, time commitment to the operation and funding, franchisors must also explore the core business values of the franchise candidate. Spending this time upfront to examine the candidate’s vision, expectations and the overall business plan goes a long way into understanding if the potential franchisee shares common goals with the franchisor. It is also the first step in building brand value and a robust, lasting business relationship.

Increase Your Communication And Reduce Your Failure

New businesses can fail for a variety of reasons. Although the vast number of restaurant failures are due to undercapitalization, it could also be the result of substandard operations, inefficient marketing, poor location and changing consumer trends. In addition, a failure in a franchised restaurant may be the result of the franchisee working outside the franchisor’s branded system. Franchisees can destroy their business by implementing procedures and introducing products that are counterintuitive to the brand image. Franchise owners often lack the time, experience and money to do proper research on a new product or a new procedure, never realizing that it may disrupt the entire system. Conversely, franchisors must always be aware and teach the idea that “everything touches everything else.” Building a healthy relationship and a clear channel of communication with the franchise owner can often prevent franchise owners from circumventing the system in the first place.

Harold Kestenbaum noted franchise attorney who has specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977 explains: “Over my forty-plus years representing franchisors, I have seen too many franchisors fail because they do not realize how important it is for their franchisees to succeed and make money. Franchising is a two-way street, and to be a successful franchisor, you, as the franchisor, must understand this and make it happen. Franchisors cannot be successful if they think that it’s only them who should make money. Ray Kroc knew that franchising could only work if the franchisees made money along with the franchisor. Supporting your franchisees from the outset, and not when they are choking is imperative and franchisors need to realize this. One such way to make this collaborative effort work is by creating a franchisee advisory board. Franchisors with more than ten franchisees need to implement this without the franchisees asking for this. A franchisee advisory board will show the franchisees that you are trying to make them be a part of the system and that you want their input. Franchising is not an autocratic method of doing business; it is a collaborative method of doing business.”

Looking in the Mirror Helps

It’s easier to blame the franchisee for failure than franchisors like to admit. Franchisee behavior is often a reflection of the franchisor. Some franchisors are quick to dismiss why proper onboarding, relationship building, creating brand value, and adequate franchise support are vital to the success of the new business. When a franchisee loses confidence in the franchisor, it is complicated to turn back. Franchisees stray or “go rogue” because franchisors fail to supply the “rails” that the franchisee must run on.

An open, working relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee is the most important aspect of brand success. Franchisors must take a very active role in the franchise operation, perhaps more than they want. Supplying great tools, conducting superior training, regular visits to the restaurant to evaluate the goals and progress of the business is a crucial commitment a franchisor must make. Communication, transparency, ongoing coaching and counseling are the essential elements of relationship building. The ROI for these efforts will be opening hundreds or even thousands of franchised restaurants locations.

With A Focus On Healthy, High Quality Menus, Fast Casual Franchised Restaurants Sprint In A New Direction

As enticing as these food offerings may be to our palate Consumers may find themselves paying almost double what they would at a traditional fast food location. Locally sourced, organic and sustainable food suppliers still see this segment as small compared to conventionally processed ingredients, so access and availability remain a challenge.


Photo by Jade Wulfraat on Unsplash

Quick With A Focus On Healthy, High Quality Menus, Fast Casual Franchised Restaurants Sprint In A New Direction
By Gary Occhiogrosso

As recently as 15 years ago the idea that you could grab a nutritious, healthy and still tasty meal from a drive-thru or fast food restaurant was unheard of. It wasn’t until the post-Y2K era that fast food customers started to become aware with what they ate. As the Millennial generation started spending money on food outside the home the industry has been “forced” to move toward healthier, high-quality menu alternatives. Once begun this movement toward fresher, greener menus have continued to accelerate at an ever increased pace.

Does Better for You equal Better for Business

Consumer attitudes regarding the link between diet and health have shifted. Data shows that Millennials and aging baby boomers are taking a more proactive approach to healthy eating. Many have adjusted their dietary choices to promote better health. The demographic with higher levels of education and more disposable income is pushing this trend forward. These health-conscious consumers take the time to research before they dine out. In addition, they seem more willing to pay higher prices to ensure that what goes into their bodies is nutritious.

With this new consumer focus on nutrition, sustainability and ‘clean food’ comes a revolution in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry. According to a recent article in Business Leader, 83% of Americans believe that fast food from traditional Quick Service franchises is not healthy. This has created the rise of the ‘better for you’ brands that now compete with fast food quick-service McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC. For example, healthy quick service brands such as Dig Inn, By Chloe, and Sweetgreen are creating their own niche by specializing in organic, locally sourced meal options that contain more vegetables and fewer calories than traditional burgers and fries.

Quality comes with a Cost
As enticing as these food offerings may be to our palate Consumers may find themselves paying almost double what they would at a traditional fast food location. Locally sourced, organic and sustainable food suppliers still see this segment as small compared to conventionally processed ingredients, so access and availability remain a challenge. As a result, many healthier focused chains are developing altogether new selling propositions by positioning “value with reasons” as a way to compete with the traditional fast food chains of the industry. These “better for you” concepts post nutritional information, health benefits as well as the sourcing and methods used in their products. The emphasis is on local, clean, humanely raised and organic.

One such concept is Salad and Go. Branded as a healthy drive-thru option, Salad and Go offers large salads, smoothies, soup and breakfast with an “Always Organic” list of ingredients. In addition, the brand highlights their competitive prices. Salad and Go currently has in 10 locations in the U.S. with plans to nearly double that number by the end of 2018.

Another U.S. chain, LocoL, offers food made only from local ingredients. Founders & Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson claim “We at LocoL want to live in a world where eating healthy doesn’t take a lot of money or time.”

New quick service food concepts like these are branding their menu items as healthy, high quality alternatives to the sugar, fat, and salt-heavy meals provided by traditional fast food franchises. Recently developed QSR concepts give consumers a choice. Whether it’s organic, farm to table, all natural, gluten free, vegan or humanely raised, the race to innovate and meet this rising consumer trend has never been more of a priority in the Quick Service Restaurant segment than it is today.

Forcing Innovation in Traditional Brands
As new brands continue to make their mark in the minds of U.S. consumers, established brands are attempting to keep up with changing demands. Fast food chains such as Taco Bell have promised to use cage-free eggs and reduce artificial ingredients, and McDonald’s has started selling antibiotic free chicken, and now cooks many of its items to order and offers more salads. It is yet to be seen if that alone will be enough to keep the long-standing leaders in the QSR industry on top.

Serving up Quality, Quickly and Consistently
These QSR pioneers are faced with the challenge of living up to the expectations of an informed, proactive consumer. These newer concepts must not only live up to the marketing message but also ensure that their operations can provide consistent, quality products in every location. Their business models must be replicable and easily managed. This may also prove to be a challenge when food is being prepared to order using fresh locally sourced ingredients instead of processed or precooked menu items. If they can accomplish these tasks, the potential for growth is unlimited.

Regardless of the challenges facing these new “better for you brands”, the move away from traditional fast food to healthier quick service food options is unstoppable. As a means to address consumer concerns, in late 2017, the FDA announced new regulations requiring large restaurant chains to add calorie counts to their menus by 2018. This, combined with health-conscious consumers, will continue to push these new QSR chains to sharpen their competitive edge by offering a wider variety of great tasting, healthier options. As I see it, the success of the “better for you” fast casual concepts will depend on their adaptability to trends, consistency in product, as well as the price point and expense management.
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About the Author:
Gary Occhiogrosso is the Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a co-operative based franchise development and sales firm. Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, advertising, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital. Gary started his career in franchising as a franchisee of Dunkin Donuts before launching the Ranch *1 Franchise program with its founders. He is the former President of TRUFOODS, LLC a multi-brand franchisor and former COO of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille. He advises several emerging and growing brands in the franchise industry. Gary was selected as “Top 25 Fast Casual Restaurant Executive in the USA” by Fast Casual Magazine and named “Top 50 CXO’s” by SmartCEO Magazine. In addition, Gary is an adjunct instructor at New York University on the topics of Restaurant Concept & Business Development as well Entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles on the topics of Franchising, Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Marketing. He was also the host of the “Small Business & Franchise Show” broadcast over AM970 in New York City and the founder of FranchiseMoneyMaker.com

Building a Trusting, Engaged, and Accountable Workplace Culture

“What is the culture of this company” to a front-line staff member, the receptionist, the janitor, or anyone in between and you will receive a different answer.

Company Culture – What does this Mean?
By Jennifer Cook, Chief Operations Officer
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When working with our clients we often have the leadership team explain to us what the culture of the organization is. Sometimes it is comprehensive, other times the description is brief, and still other times the culture sounds oddly like a list of core values. Unfortunately, for most organizations, if you ask the same question “What is the culture of this company” to a front-line staff member, the receptionist, the janitor, or anyone in between and you will receive a different answer. It is a discouraging fact, however, it should also be a wake-up call for leadership to consider their efforts to reinforce the desired culture and message the cultural goals so it permeates across the enterprise.

Remember, culture is simple terms can be defined as the actions and behavioral norms of the organization. Therefore, regardless of what you think the culture is, or what you desire it to be, if you do not influence and impact the behaviors of the workforce to model and demonstrate the desired culture it will not exist.
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It is important that all employees within your business work together and share accountability. Employees who work together towards the same overall goal to help their workplace to become more accountable, in turn, make the business more productive and successful.

The Impact of Failed Accountability
By Laura Goad, HCM Consultant

Great leaders know that positive accountability creates a culture of trust, engagement, and excellent performance. The impact of failed accountability can be detrimental to your business. When employees do not have a system of accountability in place, things can quickly fall apart. Lack of accountability causes a culture problem within your business. When no one trusts each other at work to do what they are assigned to do, employee morale suffers. Employees feel like they can’t trust their supervisor. They feel undervalued, and when employees aren’t feeling valued, they are less likely to be engaged with their work.

Lack of accountability in the workplace often stems from ineffective leadership practices. To achieve the goals of your business, it is important that all employees within your business work together and share accountability. Employees who work together towards the same overall goal to help their workplace to become more accountable, in turn, make the business more productive and successful.

Change your workplace culture so that accountability is included. Lead by example. Make sure employees know that they’ll be accountable for their work by creating guidelines about how you’ll monitor their productivity. Set weekly goals and deliverables, which will in return motivate employees to complete takes on a regular basis. Finally, praise them when you find them doing things right.
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About SymbianceHR
The seasoned professionals that make up the SymbianceHR Team bring to the table over 40 years of hands on experience in all areas of Human Capital Management.

Small and medium sized business seem to be placed in an area where they find themselves either too small to have an in-house Human Resources department (HR) or not large enough to have the resources necessary to keep the in-house HR staff up to date on recent modifications, additions and new policies.

In essence, a large portion of the small to medium sized business are operating out of compliance, or in an ineffective, and costly manner. Much in part to the fact that they have either not exercised discipline in the area of Human Resources or have mistakenly seen it as an expenditure entry as opposed to a cost reduction source.

With an abundance of resources, our Team stands ready when our clients, or potential clients, need us most. Whether that is for covering questions or concerns pertaining to: hiring, firing, benefits, employee retention, compliance, or lack thereof, regulatory updates, and recordkeeping or a quick study of current policies and procedures for conformity.

One of a business’s greatest assets is their employee base (Human Capital), however with that great asset comes, at times, great challenges. We work with our clients to guide them through the challenging times as well as the not-so-challenging, assisting them toward accomplishing their goals, while often saving them time, money and stress in the process.
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SymbianceHR – Your Challenges. Our Solutions. A Successful Relationship.