How to boost your franchise network?

8 June 2022

In times of economic recovery, but against a backdrop of uncertainty, franchisors have a responsibility to stand by their franchisees, supporting and boosting them. Several initiatives can be implemented.

With sales up 7.7% in 2021 on 2020 (68.8 million euros) and 1.2% on 2019*, franchise professionals have shown their ability to bounce back despite two years of pandemic. While most of them are doing well, some are still finding it difficult to move forward.

Franchisors and franchisees in the fast-food, traditional restaurant, hotel, events and gym sectors have still not returned to their pre-crisis levels. Lack of visibility, recruitment difficulties and the reluctance of banks are not helping matters.

Whatever the case, and in either scenario, if the crisis is to be resolved and business restored, the franchisor needs to strengthen his relationship with his franchise network and stand by its side. A fundamental objective for boosting the troops. But how do you go about it?

Trust and transparency: the keys to the franchisor-franchisee relationship

For Sylvain Bartolomeu, Managing Partner of Franchise Management, a firm specializing in network creation and development, the key lies in the trust and transparency a franchisor establishes with his network. So you need to know how to communicate, especially in difficult times.

This is what he observes, pointing to two categories of franchisors: “Those who manage to get through the crisis by consolidating a state of mind based on trust and showing solidarity with their franchisees. And those for whom it’s more complicated to get through, because the state of mind has disintegrated during the crisis, in particular due to a lack of outreach to franchisees”.

This makes network management all the more important in times of crisis. “It’s a way of federating a group, creating a sense of belonging and commitment to a brand,” stresses the man who is also a member of the French Franchise Federation’s College of Experts.

Franchise network coordinators: a key source of support

Laurent Delafontaine, founder and managing director of Axe Réseaux, agrees with the need to revitalize a network of sales outlets through the intermediary of an animator. “He plays a vital role in (re)boosting and (re)mobilizing a network, because while he is the link between franchisor and franchisee, he can help the latter in his day-to-day life by supporting him in taking over his business.”

This essential support can take the form of “sending retro-planning in anticipation of the relaunch, lists of best practices to follow, or recruitment assistance”, says the former head of the Del Arte restaurant franchise.

Added to this is the acceleration of digital technology, which simplifies relations and makes them more immediate, and the organization of events and conventions so sought-after by franchisees. These initiatives can prove vital in remobilizing a network.

*Data from the French Franchise Federation


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