The Franchise Centre

Are you prepared to respond to disaster in your franchise network

By Centre Contributor

Management-Forum-2017-Open-Exchange-01-W510px.jpgFranchise Management Forum 2017 delegates explored solutions to everyday franchise problems during an open exchange roundtable session.

Don’t wait for disaster to strike your franchise and be scrambling to respond. Get on the front foot by preparing and refining a comprehensive disaster recovery checklist that will help you and your franchisees to manage damaging incidents that could arise at any time.

‘Disaster Recovery for Franchise Networks’ was a hot topic chosen by attendees at the 2017 Franchise Management Forum for discussion at the Open Exchange session.

The Open Exchange is always one of the most popular sessions at the Forum as it allows attendees to discuss real life franchising issues, and brainstorm solutions, with their peers. Having the topic of Disaster Recovery nominated by Forum attendees for discussion on the day showed this is a pressing issue of concern for franchise management professionals.

Some of the examples of disasters striking franchise businesses that were put forward during the Open Exchange included: the death of a customer in a gym, an armed robbery of a retail outlet, and a customer’s anaphylactic reaction to food in a café.

Franchises that had experienced such incidents were in agreement that a comprehensive checklist is crucial to managing and recovering from these types of events. It is therefore important for franchisors to be pro-actively working on a recovery checklist prior to a disaster happening, and to also constantly review and refine it as their business evolves.

From the above examples, checklist items should include details such as: if a customer dies at a gym ensure their name is taken off the database so they don’t receive future offers; if there is an armed robbery ensure that counselling is in place for employees and customers; if a customer has an anaphylactic reaction to food be able to demonstrate strong systems surrounding clear labelling and staff explanations.

A comprehensive and detailed disaster recovery checklist empowers the franchisee and franchisor to show leadership and step-up and take pressure off staff at the coalface. It is also important to drive accountability from suppliers in areas such as nutritional information, country of origin, and contingency supply access into areas affected by cyclones, floods etc.

Other disaster recovery ideas raised at the Open Exchange included having an internal Crisis Management Team in place to lead and be a constant channel for decisions and communication. This team can also examine case studies on disasters that have happened in other franchise networks to look at what worked and what didn’t in their response.

It was also recommended to engage an external PR company to assist in the disaster recovery process as they can help to separate emotion from the event and to move away from a ‘we are in the right’ mentality by providing objectivity and expert advice. Franchisors and franchisees should also check that they have all the appropriate insurances in place.

Disaster recovery was just one of the hot topics discussed at this year’s Open Exchange. Others included: franchisees embracing new technology and IT systems; benchmarking systems to compare franchisees’ sales, costs and profits; how to recruit, retain, reward and motivate field support personnel; and the role of an external board.

Free summaries of the Open Exchange discussions from the 2017 Franchise Management Forum can be accessed here.

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