What does it take to become a franchisee?

Ever thought about giving up doing it solo and joining a franchise business? As Oporto’s CEO Craig Tozer points out, there is much more to it than simply buying into a brand.

As Mr Tozer outlined to My Business, Oporto – like many franchised companies – generally has quite strict eligibility criteria that would-be franchisees must meet, to ensure they uphold the brand’s ideals and values.

"If you want to cover the suitability of candidates, we break that down to kind of five areas," Mr Tozer explained.

"[In no particular order] one is experience; another is customer focus and community involvement – we pride ourselves on that; the third area is leadership and communication; the fourth being financial and business acumen; and lastly is their financial position, so they need to obviously have an appropriate financial position to acquire the business and be successful."

Yet as well as the ensuring the facts and figures all add up, Mr Tozer said it is important for franchisees to connect with the company’s culture in order for the relationship to be a mutually successful one.

"We hope that we choose great people to join as part of our – we call it – our family, because it did start as a family business," he said.

And aside from culture, prospective franchisees should do their own homework on the business they are considering buying into, to ensure it offers value for money and genuine ongoing support.

"From my perspective, for franchisees it's a fantastic opportunity to join a great brand that has a 30-year track record. I think some of the other restaurant brands that come and go, they promise a lot but they certainly don't have the sophistication, training, systems development and support that we do, which we're very proud of," Mr Tozer said.

As Mr Tozer points out, consider whether the company offers assistance with marketing, staff recruitment and training, assistance with site selection and negotiations over your premises, store fit-out and product development.

Another point is to examine whether there are company-owned as well as franchised stores, where there may be for potential for the company to effectively compete directly against its franchisees.

"Wherever we can, we get franchisees," Mr Tozer said of Oporto.

"Occasionally we run company stores [specifically] for learning, development, training, innovation and that type of thing."

Overall, the message is clear: don't let your experience as a franchisee become a negative one. Do your homework to make sure that a company is right for you, and you for it, before you part with your cash.

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