|Items to consider before franchising your restaurant|
By Chad Finkelstein
April 15, 2013
Franchise lawyers regularly get calls from business owners who are considering taking the step of franchising for the first time, and are asked that very question. While we are specialists within the industry, and have a unique perspective as a result, lawyers must take care to not cross the line into business advisors where it isn’t appropriate to do so.
That being said, there are a few general pointers which you should bear in mind when exploring whether your restaurant is one that is ready to be franchised. First among those is whether your business can be replicated. You may have experienced success in one or a small handful of your restaurants, but do you have a model in place which can be emulated? If you hand someone the keys to your brand, is your prototype capable of being imitated?
If your model is so unique, your products so proprietary or your methods of service so technical that they cannot be performed to your standard by another restaurant owner, franchising may not be for you.
And don’t be guided by flattery – just because someone has noticed all the great work you’re doing and wants to borrow your brand so they can open their own restaurant under the same name doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Be sure you are ready to provide the support that’s needed to be a successful franchisor. When you become a franchisor, you’re no longer in the business of running a restaurant – you’re in the business of selling and supporting franchisees. Be comfortable with that distinction before getting ahead of yourself. It’s usually a good idea to have a handful of corporate restaurants operating beforehand so that you’re more familiar with the cornucopia of issues which a franchisee might be likely to encounter.