Success Franchise AdvisorsThe Franchise Discovery Process
The Franchise Discovery Process
While the discovery process will vary somewhat from franchise to franchise and can take anywhere from 30 – 90 days to complete (much depending on your desired pace), whether you are looking for a great low cost franchise or looking to build a multi-unit empire, the process usually goes something like this…
Your Success Franchise Advisor will introduce you to the development manager at the franchise, sharing your goals, likes, dislikes, etc.
Meet Your Development Manager
The development manager will reach out to you commonly with some introductory information about the brand and will schedule the initial introduction call. This is a fairly casual “nice to meet you” conversation and to address any initial high level questions you may have about the business and the industry. This is not a 20 questions call nor is it to answer every question you may have… That will come!
Receive Media Kit and Confidential Questionnaire
After your initial call your development manager will follow up with the company media kit as well as the confidential questionnaire. It is important that you review the materials and complete and return the questionnaire back to the franchise in a timely manner. If you drag your feet too long on returning the questionnaire commonly a franchise will question how serious you are. Remember, at this stage you are just serious about exploring, not investing but it is important to demonstrate that you are.
Questionnaire Review and Approval
Once you return your questionnaire the franchise will review it and make a determination as to your qualifications for this business. Don’t let that alarm you but all great franchises must be selective in whom they award their franchises. Once you are a franchisee you will appreciate that they are selective in protecting their brand and other franchisees. In addition they want their franchisees to succeed so they are looking out for you as well. Remember not all models are for all people.
Franchise Disclosure Document
Upon approval the franchisor will provide you with a copy of the franchise disclosure document (FDD) as well as the franchise agreement and any other supporting legal documentation. Item 23 of the FDD is the receipt page. You will sign, date and return this page to the franchisor indicating that you have received it. This does NOT obligate you to anything. Franchise law states that you may not enter into any legally binding agreement with a franchisor until you have had the FDD in your possession for a minimum of 14 days. This law is designed to protect you.
Continued Scheduled Discussions with the Franchisor
While you are reviewing the FDD you will have continued conversations with the franchisor covering various topics such as marketing, hiring, equipment, etc. In addition of course you will have a through review of the FDD where any arising questions can be answered. Should you decide to include a franchise attorney this is usually the stage where they will get involved. Should you choose to use an attorney it is highly advised that you hire a true franchise attorney and not just a contract lawyer. Far too often we have seen where an attorney not familiar with franchise law does little more than mess things up and sour the relationship.
A critical part of all franchisors FDD is a list of all current and even previous franchisees. This is included so that you may speak with as many franchisees as you wish to get their feedback on being a franchisee with this particular brand. Common questions are about ongoing support, new franchisee selection and of course earnings! Plan on spending a good bit of time speaking with other franchisees but try to keep in mind you are validating the franchisor, not the franchisee.
Some franchisors offer a virtual discovery day, especially since the Covid pandemic although most will invite, sometimes require that you make the trip to meet the team face to face. Some discovery days are just single day meet the team days while other may be several days where you spend some time in the day of the life of a franchisee. Yes, you may actually spend a few days in the restaurant or out in the field. Don’t worry they don’t work you too hard but want you to truly feel what a day in the life of owning this business is like.
Soul Searching and Decision Time
Approximately 50% of new franchisees have their minds made up when they attend discovery day and sign the franchise agreement then while the rest return home for another week or two of final reflection. This is completely up to you but by this point you should have learned all you need to know to make a very informed decision as to whether or not this is the right business for you.
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Raleigh, NC 27614