7 Reasons why your Restaurant should run like a Franchise

One of the biggest things that single location Restaurant owners struggle with is time.  There is never enough of it and they always seem to be the ones doing 70 hours a week.  We look at 7 steps you can take to ready your Restaurant to be set up as a franchise and why you should do them, even if you never plan on Franchising your restaurant.

Restaurant Franchise Systematisation

Running your Restaurant like a Franchise takes a lot more planning and work in the early stages, but it will certainly pay off in the future as you start to read the benefits.  Franchise restaurants are characterised by strong systemisation.  This is the heart of the franchise system, a process that enables a new franchisee to set up the Restaurant and deliver great food and a great experience that is the same across the Franchise network.  Restaurant franchise will have systems for front of house, kitchen, HR and marketing generally.

How to set up Restaurant Franchise Systems

The creation of the systems is often time consuming, and requires a lot of thought and is often put off because the Restaurant owner doesn’t think they have the expertise to write procedures.  One approach that can work well for time poor restaurant owners is to look at issues within the restaurant and work towards creating rough guides on how to produce those procedures.  Treat each procedure as a living document and assign a team member to be responsible for it.  Ensure that it is regularly reviewed, even weekly at the start to ensure that all of the variances are captured and the procedure is fine tuned.  Once the initial procedures are right, the team can move onto the next most pressing issues.

1.  Quicker training of new staff:  Many restaurants are plagued with high turnover of staff who have a low commitment to the business.  New staff are less productive and place greater strain on existing staff, often adding to the high turnover situation.  Getting new staff up to speed as quickly as possible is critical.  An onboarding process can dramatically decrease the time to get staff orientated to the Restaurant and it’s processes and increase the chances of a new employee becoming a long term team member.

2.  Better employee productivity:  Clearly defined job roles and KPIs for employees and process for performing job roles means that the same job gets done the same way by each of the team members, and it also means that new team members are helped to reach the required standard quicker.

3.  Lower staff turnover:  Job roles, better onboarding, clear KPIs and good staff orientation and training can dramatically decrease staff turnover.  Lower staff turnover means that you are spending less time training new staff, which means you can focus on managing your existing staff, which means that you will have lower staff turnover.  This is one of those virtuous circles where more time available creates even more time.

Wildfire in Chicago has clearly laid out job descriptions for both front and back of house.

Wildfire in Chicago has clearly laid out job descriptions for both front and back of house.


4.  Better food standards:  Have a recipe, with a picture, along with a plan for prep will allow your back of house team to produce the same meal with the same look and the same portion size each and every time.  This means greater consistency for customers.

5.  Cost controls:  A proper recipe also means that costs are better controlled.  Often the portion control is good for the same chef, but there can be significant variation across chefs which decreases the ability of the restaurant to have strong cost controls across meals.

This is perfect to ensure that customers get the same meal every and it also makes portion control very easy as well - adding accuracy to the meal costings.

This is perfect to ensure that customers get the same meal every and it also makes portion control very easy as well – adding accuracy to the meal costings.


6.  Better marketing:  Franchised Restaurants are strong at marketing, often because it is controlled at head office, but there are many Restaurants that are strong in marketing because they have a marketing plan that they follow.  More often than not, it is not how clever the marketing is, but how regular the marketing is that is the real determinant of success.  A good marketing plan executed with maximum force is better than the perfect marketing plan executed in 6 weeks time.

7.    Better profitability:  Better cost controls in the kitchen (and bar), better marketing and better team productity all work together to increase profitability of your restaurant.

8.  More time out of the Restaurant:*  As you get better at hiring and retaining great people for your team, as they become more productive and you control costs better, you will find that you spend less time chasing your tail and reacting to emergencies.  This extra time and the greater profitability means that you can actually have the choice to take some time out of your Restaurant and maybe even take a holiday.  For all Small Business owners, taking a holiday is a critical part of running the business – it allows time to recharge the business and also to reflect on the business without the day to day pressure of running the restaurant.  This is often when the best ideas are thought of.

One of my favorite Napoleon quotes is “Ask of me anything but more time” .  As in battle this is just as apt for most Restaurant owners.  Hopefully you will have found some ideas here to start freeing up some of your time.

* So we know that there are 8 reasons in our “7 Reasons you should run your Restaurant like a Franchise” article, but it is part of our policy to underpromise and over deliver wherever possible.  We hope you got something out of it – Now start systematising so you can plan that next holiday!

The photos for this article are from Wildfire in Chicago.  This is a great upmarket restaurant that has put a lot of effort into systemization.  The processes keep turnover low and maintain a high standard for the food, which helps turn new customers into repeat customers.  Whilst not a franchise, they are a part of a group and gain the economies of scale of having multiple restaurants.  For owners looking to grow their Restaurant business, the hardest move is from 1 to 2 Restaurants.

Is Poor SEO Killing Your Restaurant?

Too many times we see customers with websites that are costing restaurants thousands of dollars every month through poor design, poor messaging and poor SEO. If your website could be improved to bring in 200 extra visits per month and just 10% of those made a booking, and each booking was for 2.5 seats on average at $50 a seat, you would have an extra $2,500 in revenue a month. A 30% food cost, that is $1,750 in profit extra a month. This ignores those customers coming back as regulars – which is more profit.

Remember, if these customers aren’t finding your Restaurant, they are finding your competitors.

Get one of our obligation free 7 point website SEO audits to see what you can get your web developer to fix to increase your revenue today.